write what you know, Writing Picture Books

A BEDTIME STORY

On October 15, 2012, I put my middle child, Natalie, to bed in my usual nighttime routine: snuggles, kisses, and blanket tucks. I then gave her hopes for a great sleep, prayers, and more kisses. It was getting late so I didn’t read her a book, but she asked me to talk about my childhood. Being tired, I couldn’t really think of a single story to tell her, at least not a new one.

o-whisper-in-ear-facebook

So I leaned in close and whispered her a story that came pouring out of my mouth—a character was developing, adventure was happening, conflict was occurring. As the story progressed, my eyes started to well up. I was amazed at what was transpiring. The story ended and Natalie looked at me with wide eyes.

“Is that a true story?”

“No, I just made it up,” I replied.

“Well, that was the best story I’ve ever heard,” she said sweetly.

It wasn’t until the next morning when I thought this story might have potential. It was a subject I knew something about.  I’ve heard time and time again to write what you know. So I fleshed it out over two years. Since then, I’ve been editing, writing more stories, editing some more, researching, receiving feedback and critiques, attending writing conferences, and working toward publishing my first picture book. This whale might give you a little hint on what one of my stories is abowhaleut. Spending time in Hawaii where these beautiful humpback whales live, inspired me to write an adventurous tale.

There have been many, many drafts of this story. Names, titles, rising action, climax have been altered- all because of great feedback I’ve received. I’m working hard and continuing to learn until something sticks. And I’m writing many more stories too!

 

 

Writing Picture Books

Susanna Hill’s 2019 Valentiny Contest

Susanna Leonard Hill, Children’s Author is hosting Oh, Guilty Heart! – The 4th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!

The rules are: write a 214-word Valentine story appropriate for children in which someone feels guilty. Here is my 212-word entry:

MIMI’S MIXED-UP VALENTINE

“Leave the cards alone, Charles!” Mimi roared at her brother.

Charles mixed up Mimi’s Valentine’s Day cards on the kitchen table and hid some in his pocket.

“Mine!” laughed Charles.

“Charles, you are T-R-O-U-B-L-E!” huffed Mimi ripping a card out of his hand.

“Mimi is my favorite.”

She kept signing cards not looking up and Charles crumpled more cards.

 

Her brother poked at everything on the table.

“Mom! Charles won’t stop!”

“Honey, you know Charles just wants to be with you. Be kind.”

Mimi whispered to her mom, “He’s just out-of-control all the time. Annoying, really.”

Mimi gathered all the cards and slammed the door when she left for school.

“What a start to Valentine’s day! Ugh!”

 

Later that day, Mimi put a card in her classmates’ decorated boxes.

“One for you. And one for you.”

When she looked through all the cards she received, she saw a crooked mixed-up Valentine.

“What’s this?”

 

The card was crumpled and scribbled in black marker.

“I love Mimi. Love, Charles.”

Mimi’s heart sank low.

“I didn’t make a card for Charles!”

After school, Mimi ran into the house and wrapped her arms around Charles.

“I love you everything about you, little bro. Thanks for the card!”

“Mimi is my favorite Valentine!”

“And you’re mine!”