Help! Does this introduction work?

by | Aug 29, 2020 | Aunt Truly's Tales, Fiction, Short story, Storytelling, The Kiminee Dream | 7 comments

The ten stories for Aunt Truly’s Tales are coming together well, and I’m now preparing an introduction for the collection. It’s one of the last things to do before sending the manuscript to a few beta readers. I’m going to paste in the intro’s draft and would very much appreciate your feedback.


In a place called Windy Wood, snow falls from November through April, modern conveniences are nonexistent and raccoons deliver food to those in need. Travelers who become snowbound there during winter have no way to contact the outside world, but they’re not the least bit upset. That’s because they’re entertained by Aunt Truly, who regails them with stories gathered during a life so long nobody knows how old she really is.

This is my great grandmother Catherine O’Grady McHale. Imagine her with a smile and a twinkle in her eyes. I think she’d make a great prototype for Aunt Truly. Do you?

Aunt Truly isn’t always at Windy Wood, though. She sometimes takes off on foot, traveling through time and distance to places only she can hear calling to her. Like Santa Claus, she brings presents, but her deliveries come at unexpected times in the form of stories to be savored and passed on.

This little book contains a sampling of stories Aunt Truly told to Carly Mae Foley, a central character in my first novel, The Kiminee Dream. Carly Mae happened upon Windy Wood while lost, lonesome and far from home after a traumatic experience. Carly Mae’s home is a fictional river town where the peculiar and the ordinary meld as a matter of course, and the love flowing between neighbors is an unspoken constant.

One of the stories in this collection is shared in the novel; the rest augment the experience for those who have read the book, but it’s not necessary to have read it to dive into this collection. I hope you enjoy these stories and have a chance to tell your own versions time and again.

Laura McHale Holland

Questions for you:

Does this introduction capture your attention? Why or why not?

Would you want to dig into these stories after reading this?

How can this introduction be improved?

Please share your thoughts in a comment or two. I will be ever so grateful.

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Influenced by folklore and magical realism, The Kiminee Dream is a lyrical story with characters equally charmed and challenged while living where the ordinary and miraculous coexist seamlessly. If you like depth as well as whimsy, arresting twists, and details that rouse your senses, you’ll love what is both an eloquent exploration of acceptance and a tender tribute to the people of Illinois.


  1. Barbara Toboni

    The photo of your grandmother would be a good prototype for Aunt Truly. As far as the introduction, it works well although I think it could be shorter. I think you could eliminate most of the last paragraph and leave in the last sentence…I hope you enjoy… Readers don’t need to know how many stories are in the novel. See what others think. Good luck.

  2. Laura

    Thank you, Barbara! Your thoughts on this are very helpful. I was wondering if I’d said too much about the novel, and your comments point to that as a weak area. xoxox

  3. Sara Etgen-Baker

    Yes, Laura, the introduction definitely grabbed my attention, and I wanted to read more of the stories. Aunt Tilly sounds fascinating. I did not that nonexistent is misspelled (nonexistant). Don’t know why I caught that. Anyway, your introduction compels the reader to continue through the pages of your book hoping to learn more about Aunt Tilly and her relationship with Carly Mae. Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

  4. Laura

    Thank you, Sara! I’m glad the intro grabbed your attention and that Aunt Truly sounds fascinating. Good catch, too, with nonexistent. I’ll fix that lickety split.

  5. Sarah

    Your intro here is intriguing. I want to know more about Aunt Truly (I love that no one knows how old she is) and I’m also fascinated by Windy Wood. Where does Aunt Truly live when she’s in town? Can you say more about how each story she shares is a gift? You’ve definitely piqued my interest with this intro!

  6. Laura

    Thank you, Sarah. Those are really good questions. I do have notes on each of the stories at the end of the book, but those are about my own associations with each story, so they don’t address your question about how each story Aunt Truly tells is a gift. I’m beginning to think Aunt Truly deserves her own novella full of adventures.

  7. Laura

    Update: I just revised the introduction to include the scene from the novel when Aunt Truly and Carly Mae meet. I’ve just sent the manuscript to an expert storyteller who agreed to beta read the text for me. I can’t wait to see what kind of notes she provides.

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