John says . . .

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2009, 12:00am

Among all the pieces of advice young writers may receive, probably the most important is, 'Don't bore your readers'.

There's not much point in writing a meaningful story if your readers have lost interest or fallen asleep before they've understood the message you're trying to get across.

'Boots and Bombs' may not be perfect, but the way Kimberly has combined shoe-shopping with terrorism to make this an entertaining and surprising story.

Mixing something light-hearted with something deadly serious can work well as long as you get the balance right. A story that jokes about the effects of real violence isn't likely to succeed.

So, are there any parts of the story that could be worked on?

I think Kimberly could have developed some of her ideas more. One way a writer can start to do this is by asking themselves questions about what they've written. In 'Boots and Bombs', I wondered why the old lady asked Mary to take her bag. Was it to blow up The Golden Fishes? Or because the police were closing in and she didn't want to get caught with it?

Also, Kimberly could have pushed some parts of her story further. Maybe she could have portrayed Mary as someone who, at first, only seems interested in things like shoe-shopping.

And let's see if Mary's shoe-shopping and the defeat of the dangerous criminal can be tied together at the end of the story.