This is my second year participating in StoryStorm. When I joined the group in January of 2020, I couldn’t believe how many stories exploded from my pen, I was so excited! Some became full manuscripts and most were titles and characters. Some of those titles and charters got merged into one story, not completed yet. Then March happened, covid-19. My fear almost consumed me. But I soon realized that I have control over me. I need to be responsible for my actions. I really can’t change anything that’s happening. I tried to write more ideas, stories and revise. I was frozen creatively.
I needed to get re-inspired. I revised two old manuscripts and sent them to be critiqued. I needed more, I spent time outside watching wildlife. I was very attentive when I drove to familiar places and I saw a herd of deer walking down a sidewalk. Looking out my kitchen window I saw a flock of mourning doves land on my deck, just hanging out. A squirrel with white hair sticking out behind its ears ran across my fence. I called him/her Einstein. I spent time researching my family and came up with a few ideas for a non-fiction story. I read new picture book stories and articles on how to create a good beginning sentence, from CBI January issue, and things started to click. I began to write story ideas again. I joined StoryStorm again and I’m loving it.
My advice, pay attention to things around you. Read everything about writing. Listen to stories about family. Everyone is different and has different interests, dive into your interests. You never know where that next story will come from. Maybe from a cat invading your garden or a white groundhog slowly disappearing under a shed.
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This year has been the most troublesome that I can remember. This pandemic is awful. All I can think of are the bad things, the worst that can happen. It was at that point in time that I started praying hard, asking God to please help me deal with this crazy world. It was then that happy things started to occur in my life. My son recovered quickly from a very bad accident. My Nieces had babies, My Nephew adopted a baby. The bad and the craziness goes on, but the good and the happy breaks through. Prayer helps. Pray for your family to stay safe, pray for this crazy world that it may return to normal, pray for yourself that you may be strong and able to get through the rough times with help from the Lord. Stay safe and strong and always hope. Through prayer anything is possible. Amen
Well, I participated in two very fun events last month, The Halloweensie Contest and #PBPitch. I love to see and read all the creative stories and pitches. I also got inspired to write a brand new Picture book! Hooray! I was very inspired by author Josh Funk’s and illustrators Edwardian Taylor and Brendan Kearney’s books. If you haven’t read The Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series you are missing out on an adventure in the fridge. Also the book, It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, is funny and silly. I love them all.
I continue to revise my other stories and practice my pitch writing. Have fun writing
It is Halloween time! I love this time of year, with all of the decorations, candy, costumes and stories. The stories are fantastic. My favorites are the ones that have a beat like, “Rattle Bone Rock” by Sylvia Andrews and Jennifer Plecas. The ones that you can sing like, “Big Pumpkin” by Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler and “Inside A House That Is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Tedd Arnold.” Gus Was a Friendly Ghost, by Jane Thayer and Sid Fleishman is an older book but a good one. “Room on a Broom” by Alex Scheffler is a lot of fun as is “The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams and Megan Lloyd.” Some newer books for Halloween this year are: “The Super Tiny Ghost” by by Marilee Joy Mayfield., “Little Mouse Visits Trick or Treat Street” by Sadie Reed, “The Night The Monsters Came” by Junia Wonders and Lisa Ciccone, “The Little Kitten” by Nicola Killen, just to mention a few.
Halloween is also the time that Susana Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest. It is FUN and challenging.
THE 10TH ANNUAL HALLOWEENSIE
~ FOR CHILDREN’S WRITERS ~
(Holy Caped Crusaders, Batman! I just have to interject here! Can you believe this is the 10th year of Halloweensie? The TENTH???!!! ZOWEE!)
The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words skeleton, creep, and mask. Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge! We got over 325 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!) Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. skeletons, creepy/crept, masked/unmasked, whathaveyou NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined )
Post: your story on your blog between 12:00 AM Eastern Time Thursday October 29th and Saturday October 31st by 11:59 PM Eastern Time and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my special October 29th post. There will be no Tuesday Debut, Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy. If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of my October 29th post once it’s up (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like MamaWritesByNightlight so I can identify you.) If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you. Please place your entry in the body of the emailincluding your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS! And please do not submit entries before the start of the contest!
The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 12 top choices (give or take… you know how hard it is to choose!) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Wednesday November 4th or Thursday November 5th (if the judging takes longer than we expect if could be later…but we will do our best!) The winner will be announced on Monday November 9th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise )
Judging criteria will be as follows:
1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
2. Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc. If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
The Prizes: SO AMAZING! What a generous community we have to donate so much awesomeness!!! (and I’m still working on this part of the post so it’s incomplete and will be updated with links and photos and more prizes!)
Wow it is Fall!! My favorite time of year because it is sweater weather. Time to eat comfort foods and drink warm drinks. I love warm apple cider. How about apple pie, homemade of course, so you can smell the delicious apples bubbling in the flaky pie crust. I need to go make one as soon as I’m finished here.
This Covid – 19 has really messed up any writing I start to do. Yes, I’m blaming it on covid-19, doesn’t everyone? The last few weeks have been emotional because of family problems. Some are very serious and demanded my full attention, others have been more worrisome than serious and have needed my advice and listening skills. There has been no time for writing and character creating. I have not participated in 12×12 for a while.
Now it is time, the past week I have sent a manuscript to be critiqued. I have revised two manuscripts, and I broke through with a beginning of a story that I just couldn’t get right. It still needs some work by I’m ready for the challenge. I also am revising a story that I hope will be a chapter book. That’s quite a lot of writing that I accomplished in a short time. How did I accomplish it? I just went with the flow my life was taking me. I had to concentrate on the important things in my life, my family. The time away from writing made me stop and breathe. Now things are a little better and I can take some time to enjoy writing. Family still comes first and my concerns about family are still there. But right now, things are ok.
It has been very difficult to write lately. The covid-19, and now serious family situation. I start to write then I start to cry. I am pushing myself to be strong. My husband and family and friends are the best. We are giving each other support. I know we will make it through this emergency but things are going to be different. I am constantly praying and sometimes I think God is saying “Is it you again?” Anyway I am pushing myself to read, write and follow writing workshops, not easy. I did manage a few rewrites and had some new story ideas. So at this time I really can’t ask for more. I found some books to read about writing that might be helpful to other beginning writers.
“Take Joy” by Jane Yolen, and “Still Writing The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life” by Dani Shapiro.