Discipline, Drive, and Determination: a Halloweensie Contest Entry and more...


Discipline, Drive, and Determination: a Halloweensie Contest Entry

This post is party of Patty Wysong's
A to Z meme. This week's letter is "D"
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

This tiny story/entry has been a lot of work in coming. You see, I have known about this contest for months (at least I remembered folks mentioning it quite a while ago.) I have know the specifics for over three weeks. But I was truly wondering if it was actually going to come together.

Over that time, I started probably half a dozen different stories that fit the parameters (about Halloween, for children, 100 words or less, using the words pumpkin, broomstick, and creak) - and they all either petered out or seemed ENTIRELY too difficult to pare down to that miniscule amount required for the contest.

But, finally, with much discipline, drive, and determination (and with the help of my lovely daughter with the editing/trimming down to size), I present to you (my fellow A to Zers, blog readers, AND other contest entrants), my humble entry in Susanna Leonard Hill's 4th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!

Dumb Jack-'O-Lanterns
By Joanne Sher

“Jack-o'-lanterns are dumb,” Sarah said, elbow-deep in pumpkin guts. “And gross.”

“Nah. They're cool!” Her brother B.J. bounced, making the chair creak. “Can this one be a witch?”

Sarah shrugged.

“Don't you LIKE Halloween?”

“Not really.”

“You don't like candy? Decorations? Trick-or-treating?”

“Trick-or-treating's for little kids.” Sarah frowned.

“Some older kids go.”
Photo source

“My friends aren't.”

“Go with me.”

“With you? Seriously?”

B.J. beamed. “Say Mom made you.”

“Maybe.”

“C'mon.”

“Okay!” Sarah rose, pumpkin guts flying.

B.J. gasped, then giggled. “I'll be a pumpkin this year. Got my costume.”

Sarah grabbed a broomstick. “And I'll be a witch.”

** 
Not the best thing I've ever written - but not bad, I'd say. Check out a bunch of other short Halloween stories (which I'm sure are MUCH more clever than mine!) at Susanna's blog - and enter your own if you want - the deadline isn't until just before midnight on Halloween!

OOOR - if the letter "D" is more up your alley, join the blog hop below! :)
 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
 
     


Perfect Picture Book Friday: 1 plus 1 equals 5 and Other Unlikely Additions

(Seriously, is there a SINGLE ONE of you who could see this title and NOT pick it up??)

I'm joining with the delightful Susanna Leonard Hill today, sharing a fun picture book I encountered for Perfect Picture Book Friday. Thanks, Susanna, for giving us a place to share our favorite picture books! (Check out her ever-expanding list of perfect picture books here - and check out what she, and several others, are adding to the list here at her blog)

Title: 1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions
Author: David LaRochelle
Illustrator: Brenda Sexton
Publisher: Sterling, 2010
Age Range: 5 and up
Theme/Topics: Numbers, Counting, Humor

Beginning: "(first page) 1+1=3?" "(page turn) 1 unicorn + 1 goat = 3 horns!"

Synopsis: How much is 1+1? Think the answer is 2? Not always, as this playful approach to addition proves! David LaRochelle takes children on a joyful mathematical journey that will engage their minds and teach them to think about numbers in a creative, outside-the-box way. Brenda Sexton's wild and wacky illustrations add layers of witty fun to LaRochelle's clever game.

Resources: Check out the teaching guide at David LaRochelle's website (in both black and white AND color), and a few other activities he recommends. Most counting activities (especially those with sets of things) would also be great.

Why I LOVE it: It's extremely clever, for one. The illustrations are super-colorful, and make each page turn a mystery/investigation for kids (even my 10-year-old daughter enjoyed trying to figure out how the equation could work out - I did too, but I don't count, right? LOL). And it's funny, makes kids think, and encourages imagination. How can you beat that?

Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog.


My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Open This Little Book

I'm joining with the delightful Susanna Leonard Hill today, sharing a fun picture book I encountered this week for Perfect Picture Book Friday. Thanks, Susanna, for giving us a place to share our favorite picture books! (Check out her ever-expanding list of perfect picture books here - and check out what she, and several others, are adding to the list here at her blog)

Title: Open This Little Book
Author: Jesse Klausmeier
Illustrator: Suzy Lee
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2013 fiction
Age Range: 3-8
Theme/Topics: Colors, Book Making, Friendship

Beginning: "Open this Little Red Book, and read abut a Ladybug, who opens a..."

Synopsis: What will you find when you open this little book? A fun story? Sweet characters? Enticing pictures? Yes! But much more. Open this book and you will find...another book...and another...and another. Debut author Jesse Klausmeier and master book creator Suzy Lee have combined their creative visions to craft a seemingly simple book about colors for the very youngest readers, an imaginative exploration of the art of book making for more sophisticated aficionados, and a charming story of friendship and the power of books for all.

Resources: Check out the teacher's guide for this book from Chronicle's website. Other ideas could include having the kids create their own book (out of construction paper) - and of course, talking about the different colors. Lots of room for imagination here.

Why I LOVE it: The design blew me away - ESPECIALLY when I learned it was written by a debut author (who I THOUGHT they didn't like to take risks on :D). I think kids will find that aspect fascinating as well (there are seven "books," each a bit smaller than the other, inside the main book proper.). Plus the story is super sweet with a touch of humor.

Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog.
 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     


Brainstorming Fun

This post is party of Patty Wysong's
A to Z meme. This week's letter is "B"
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
 You know, I think most writers would agree that brainstorming for ideas and such is a lot of fun, no matter what you are writing.

But I've got a secret for you. Some brainstorming is more fun than others.

Sure, figuring out where to set your romance can lead you on interesting trails all over the earth (maybe even the universe, if you write that kind of thing). Figuring out what kind of disaster can befall your MC or villain can really get those synapses going.

But brainstorming for children's books? You can go all out crazy-looney-bonkers: and USE the ideas!
I'm polishing a picture book right now about an elephant who is trying to join a band - and tries to play a harmonica. I'd like to see you "adult" writers try to fit that little tidbit into your storyline. There is a new book out (by a debut picture book author!) called One Big Pair of Underwear. Ideas literally CAN come from anywhere - including the laundry basket.
Check out the site - join the fun!

And my favorite time to brainstorm? When I've got friends joining me. In just a couple weeks, I will be participating in my second year of the wonderful Tara Lazar's November challenge PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) - which encourages/ challenges folks to come up with 30 different picture book ideas during the 30 days of November (I managed 47 last year). There are guest posts, prizes, a Facebook group, and more more MORE! And this year, as an added bonus, my daughter will be joining me - so I'll have a live brainstorming partner, along with hundreds of virtual ones.

This is my brain
This is my brain on PiBoIdMo

Totally looking forward to gearing up for my month-long brainstorming session. Anyone wanna join me? PrePiBo starts Saturday the 25th.

Got any fun brainstorming stories?

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
Check out more  "B" posts here - and add your own if you wish! 

 
     

Anthropomorphic Animals


 This post is party of Patty Wysong's
A to Z meme. This week's letter is "A"
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.Winnie-The-Pooh
Arthur the Aardvark 

What do these characters have in common? At least two things:
  1. They are characters in children's stories
  2. They are anthropomorphic animals
In case you are unfamiliar with the word, anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to an animal or object. Many classic children's stories have animals that speak, and in other ways act like people.  It was actually pretty common for quite a few years.

But the thing is, some folks in the publishing industry are shying away from them. I've heard from more than a handful of folks that they can be a hard sell, depending on who you are talking to. I've seen writers' guidelines for at least a few magazines that specifically say "no talking animals." And I get it - it's unrealistic.

But there is certainly still a place for these kinds of stories - and they ARE being published. There are some sensitive subjects you can write about with animals as protagonists where it is much more difficult to do so with children as the characters(especially in the picture book market). And, of course, they're just plain fun.

I have been reading a picture book almost daily for the past six month - most of them published within the last half a dozen years, and I've come across quite a few super picture books with anthropomorphic animals. Here are just a few:

Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken, by Kate DiCamillo

Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill

Duck and Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hills

I Want my Hat Back by Jon Klassen

And of course, there are plenty of children's stories where the animals don't talk (or don't exist, for that matter). But I have to say that I personally have a soft spot for those sweet people-like creatures. Probably half of the picture books I've worked on this year have anthropomorphic animals, and both of the ones I wrote for the FaithWriters Writing Challenge (many MANY moons ago!) did (if you wanna see them, you can click here and here).

So, all you ever wanted to know about anthropomorphic animals in children's books and were afraid to ask! (or something like that) Check out the links below for more "a" themed posts (NOT all about children's books - that I can promise you!) - and feel free to join in!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ANTHROPOMORPHIC STORY/CHARACTER?
 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

     


More Recent Articles


Click here to safely unsubscribe from "An Open Book." Click here to view mailing archives, here to change your preferences, or here to subscribePrivacy