Shorts and Sweets…Week 8…

Summer Short And Sweets – Week 8 The Final Week!

I can’t believe it.  Didn’t we just start Summer Short & Sweets?  And here we are, August 24th, purple loosestrife blooming, lots of kids already back in school – although not mine – and this is our last official day of SS&S!

Your challenge for today is to take a good look at the picture below.
Image copyright Heather Newman 2012
Woweekazowee!  That is some picture isn’t it?
Now, in the comments, you may write your choice of the following:
1.  A pitch for a children’s story, any level (please specify PB (picture book), ER (early reader), CB (chapter book), MG (middle grade), or YA (young adult)) based on the picture, in the manner of Short & Sweet Week 6
2.  The first 50-100 words (or more or less – whatever gets the creative juices flowing) of a children’s story, any level, (please specify PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) based on the picture.
3.  The last 50-100 words (again, more or less is fine – whatever works for you :)) of a children’s story, any level (please specify PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) based on the picture.
4.  Choose a character (there are at least 10 possibilities!) from the picture and introduce us to him or her – who he/she is, where he/she came from, how he/she got into this situation – a character sketch of sorts.
5.  Choose a character and give us a one paragraph synopsis of the story told by the picture from his/her point of view.
6.  The title of the story told by this picture – give us a good one! 🙂 (and again please specify level)
Now then, back to the matter at hand – today’s Short & Sweet.  Pick whichever of the 7 options above inspires you most.  I’m hoping with 7 options and that amazing picture you will find something inspiring 🙂

Thank You Heather for giving us such a beautiful painting and sparking our imaginations…
With that being said, here is a little tidbit of a story…a pitch (PB)…

‘A Day in the Life of Gertrude’… ‘a Wizard’…
As Gertrude simmered her pot over the fire, she warned Freddy, (her friend the raven),( because wizards do not have enemies), that this concoction may not sit well in his tummy…’It might change you’…Please, she said, do not be tempted by the beautiful smell and taste this…You will be sorry..

badge created by Loni Edwards

Shorts and Sweets…Week 7…

For today’s Short & Sweet, we’re taking a field trip!  It can be anywhere you want – and anything that fits into what you’re already doing – no special outings necessary.  Going out with your kids to the beach, the zoo, a museum, the playground, the library?    Going shopping at the grocery store?  Washing the car?  You don’t even need to leave the house – the kitchen or the back porch will be just fine!

Your challenge today is to describe a setting – any setting that tickles your fancy.  In 50-100 words (more or less if you like, that’s just a ball park) make us feel like we’re there.  Take a careful look at your surroundings – whatever they are.  What does it look like? sound like? smell like? feel like? taste like?
BUT – here’s the trick 🙂 – you can’t use the actual word of the place!  So if you’re describing the kitchen, you can’t use the word kitchen.  We have to be able to guess!
For an extra challenge, describe it from a kid’s perspective – try to look at it through the eyes of the average 5 year old – the typical picture book age target.  Places can look a lot different to a five year old than they do to an adult.  Different features stand out, and kids’ react to things differently.


Okay then…Here goes…My thoughts as I think them…A Great Exercise of the mind…

Well Suzie thought…We are here!!! Looking up she crooked her neck backwards and almost lost her balance…Wowee…those trees are touching the clouds…She turned in circles round and round…Trees trees and more trees…Green Green and blue sky…She heard that buzzing noise that you only hear on a hot summer day…She could hear many many birds singing…They must be high up in those tall tree tops because she could not see them but they sounded so pretty…Looking at all the pathways, she decided just to choose one and explore…Her Dad followed obediently…

Shorts and Sweets…Week 4…

Well S came to mind…Here goes…I think…I write…I suppose…

Stella was supposed to be sleeping…She simply shuns those supposed to, should, shouldn’t words…They absolutely suck…Staring at the silent darkness she prays for sleep…Count sheep she could hear Mother saying…She sees stars…Sparkling stars…so spectacular…She starts to sink slowly to sleep…Ahhh sweet…so sweet…


Shorts and Sweets…Week 5…

Summer Short And Sweets – Week 5

Woo-hoo!  Time for Summer Short & Sweets! 🙂

badge created by Loni Edwards

So let’s have some fun, shall we?  Let’s see what we can think up today…

First, choose an emotion.

Got one?

Second, choose an animal that emotion makes you think of – either similar or opposite – but you can also go random and see what you come up with 🙂  Again, a list for anyone who’s feeling uninspired 🙂

Okay.  Here’s what we’re going to do:

1. Pick an adjective that compares/relates/associates your animal to your emotion (e.g. if you chose angry and cat, you might choose hissing, spitting, or twitchy for your adjective)
2. Write an action filled phrase describing how the animal moves (e.g. if you chose cat you might say slinking, slitted eyes shifting suspiciously)
3. Write a phrase telling where the animal lives (e.g. if you chose monkey you might say in the crown of the rainforest)
4. Write a phrase that either tells readers why the animals acts the way it does, or possibly how others react to it (e.g. if you’re writing about an angry monkey you might say screeching for the baboon’s banana)

Put it all together like this:

is [a/an/the] adjective from #1  animal
action filled phrase from #2
phrase telling where animal lives from #3
phrase telling why animal acts that way or how others react to it from #4

and you have a) a short poem and b) great practice in simile/metaphor!

  • My brain hurts…not used to doing these little exercises…I’m not complaining…haha…I’m glad I did it…

    Is a growling dog…
    Teeth barred, muscles tensed…
    Waiting waiting…
    in a cold damp basement…
    Hungry and lonely…

Summer Shorts and Sweets…Week 3…

Summer Short And Sweets – Week 3

Hurray!  Hurray!  It’s a Summer Short & Sweet day! 🙂

badge created by Loni Edwards

First off, help yourself to some of these delicious cookies

and a glass of refreshing iced tea

because we can be more creative after a little snack 🙂

Now then, are you ready for today’s Short & Sweet?

I totally wrestled with this one and I hope it’s going to be fun and also work right… I guess we’ll see 🙂

So we have to go on the honor system again – no peeking! 🙂 – and I need you to get a piece of paper and a writing implement of your choice.  Then write down the following things in a list bearing in mind that everything below is supposed to be related so it can hang together:

1.  A noun (you know, a good old person place or thing)
2.  A color that describes that noun or some part of that noun you’d like to highlight (e.g. red, or, lavender, or, cerulean)
3.  A comparison to that color (in the manner of simile or metaphor e.g. summer sunset, or, shadowed snow on a January evening)
4.  Something that belongs to your noun written as adjectiveadjectivenoun (e.g. wide, feathered tail, or, slim, brown limbs, or brass ratcheted gears)
5.  A verb ending in -ing that is something your noun could do (e.g. soaring, or, stretching, or, grappling)
6. Another verb ending in -ing that is something else your noun could do (e.g. sailing, or, reaching, or, frowning)
7. A place written as: preposition [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun(e.g. over [a] broad green valley, or, across [the] shimmering shining stream)
8. A description of something your noun could do in relation to something else, written as:  verb ending in -ing preposition adjective noun (e.g. scouting for silver salmon, or, basking on sun-baked sand, or, digging up acorn jewels) – (yes, I realize “for” is a conjunction, not a preposition, but you can use it if you want.  The reason I didn’t put conjunction is because the others – and, or, nor, but, yet – won’t work.  But use “for” if you want :))
9. Repeat #8 with another description (e.g. plunging toward immovable earth)
10. Repeat #8 with a final description (e.g. hoping for sweet success, or, diving for delicious dinner)
11. A simile for the action in #10 (e.g. like a rocket ship, or, like a bow drawn across singing strings)
12.  Your original noun from #1.

Okay!  Got your list?  What we are accomplishing here is part Madlib, part poetry, and will hopefully result in lots of descriptive poems (haha – like how I tricked you into writing a poem? :)) that will also serve as story sparkers by giving all the devoted readers specific, detailed, poetic descriptions of characters, settings, or objects that they could use in a story!  For those of you who write picture books, there are a lot of similarities between picture books and poetry, so this is good practice 🙂

Wasn’t that totally awesome how I snuck that up on you?

So now, all you have to do is type your poem into the comments using this template and your list:

I am [a/an/the] noun from #1
Color from #2 as [a/an/the] comparison from #3
With [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun from #4
Verb from #5verb from #6
Prepostition [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun from #7
Description from #8
Description from #9
Description from #10
Like [a/an/the] simile from #11
I am [a/an/the] noun from #1

Happy weekend 🙂

WOW this was new for me and not easy…Here it is off the top of my head…not too deep…haha…
  • I am the sun…
    red smoldering anger…
    with shining firing hot glowing arms…
    heating the earth…
    burning the sand…
    tingling the feet…
    like a tinging flame on the skin…
    I am the sun…

Short and Sweets…Week 2…

Summer Short & Sweet

Now then, are you ready?  Let the fun begin!!!!!!!!

Today’s Short & Sweet will work best if you don’t peek 🙂  I’m not sure quite how to accomplish that on a blog post, so let’s go on the honor system – no scrolling down yet!

First, pick a number from 1-10.  Got it?  Write it down.

Now pick a number from 1-10 again and write that down.

Now do it again.

And now one last time.

(BTW, it’s okay of you pick the same number more than once.  If you want to make it really random you can roll a pair of dice and just discard any 11s or 12s you roll, or take an ace-10 out of a deck of cards and randomly choose cards.)

Hopefully you now have 4 numbers between 1 and 10 written down (for example, I have 3, 7, 1, and 5)

Now, use your first number to select from this list:

  1. A pirate who likes to sing
  2. A little girl who doesn’t want to practice her violin
  3. A zookeeper with a lost animal
  4. A 5 year old girl with a rainbow umbrella
  5. A homeless child
  6. A boy whose father is a Navy SEAL
  7. monster who is afraid of thunderstorms
  8. A disobedient robot
  9. A sailor who is far from home
  10. A six year old boy who can’t ride his two-wheeler

Use your second number to select from this list:

  1. a museum
  2. a national park
  3. a playground
  4. a big city
  5. a birthday party
  6. the porch of an old farmhouse
  7. an enchanted forest
  8. a fancy restaurant
  9. the moon
  10. Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Shop

Use your third number to select from this list:

  1. first day of school
  2. the Fourth of July
  3. during a thunderstorm
  4. in early autumn
  5. sitting down to breakfast
  6. bath time
  7. the first warm day of spring
  8. during church
  9. a winter evening
  10. after a fight

And use your last number to select from this list:

  1. something embarrassing has just happened
  2. someone feels like giving up
  3. someone has to keep a secret
  4. an important decision has to be made
  5. someone has lost something
  6. someone has found something
  7. someone’s pride has been injured
  8. something is where it shouldn’t be
  9. someone has been chosen for something
  10. something has made someone mad

You should now have a randomly selected character, setting, time, and situation/challenge – everything you need to prompt a story!

In the comments below, list the 4 you got and write 50-100 words of whatever story they suggest to you!  Don’t agonize!  Don’t over-think!  We’re all among friends.  Just write!  All we’re doing here is priming the pump.  If all you can squeeze out is 50 rusty words, that’s fine!  You wrote 50 words in the middle of your hectic, busy day!  But maybe, just maybe, 25-50 more will trickle out a little less rusty, and maybe after you’ve written your 50-100 here you’ll find you’ve got a gush of clear water rushing forth and a whole  new story will well up and land on your list of accomplishments for today!

Oh, and if you find it’s too hard to include all 4, it’s okay to just use 1, 2, or 3 of the prompts you picked – the exercise is just to get ideas and words flowing 🙂

Ok off the top of my head!!! Here it goes…
Character: A disobedient robot…#8
Setting: a big city…#4
Time: During church…#8
Situation: An important decision has to be made…#4

Off the top of my head!!! Really!! Scary!!

Looking out the window from his resting place on the cluttered desk, Mikey stretched his metal arms and legs to relieve the tension of standing still for most of the dark night on his re-charging plug…Ahhh he thought, I feel charged up and ready for the day…I love the city in the morning…It’s quiet and peaceful with the anticipation of great things to come…He glanced at his program for the day…Oooo it’s Sunday morning…Must get to church…He could hear bells in the distance…He loved walking in the morning along the cobblestone roads, the smell of coffee brewing, he could almost taste it with his wiring…He quietly made his way to the front of the church…The music played…people streamed in…
Should I tell them what I know?
Are they ready to hear all of it?



Week 6 – Summer Short & Sweet Challenge – Have You Been Bullied?

This week, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Week 6 challenge is to come up with a pitch for a picture book. I offered sweets in my first pitch.

Badge created by Loni at

A writer needs to include three key elements for a successful pitch—character, conflict, and stakes.

Susanna’s definition is a:
“[Character] who [a unique, special, or defining characteristic of said character] wants/needs [goal] more than anything but can’t get it because of [obstacle(s)].

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write an awesome pitch (or 2 or 3) for a picture book. The fun part? It doesn’t have to be for a book you’ve written. Or even intend to write.

It can be a pitch for something you think up right here right now this very second! Or a pitch for a work-in-progress! Or a pitch for a bit of an idea you’ve been ruminating on since breakfast! Or a pitch for someone else’s published book – you take the story and boil it down into a pitch! Or take the idea from someone else’s published book, or a nursery rhyme, or a fairy tale, and change a detail of the plot, setting, character, POV etc. and make it into a new pitch idea! Anything goes!”

Okay then, Here is my new pitch…Interesting exercise…

Stella walked down the bright white hall to the white door…DR. LOVE…’Can I really do this?’…

Another take…S T E L L A …(she heard in the distance)…as she walked down the bright white hall to the white door…’just keep goin’…

Books are scattered all over my bed…Papers and paintings crumpled…’What the hell?’…

Painting Title…’Just keep Goin’…(Growin)…16″x20″…acrylic, mixed media on canvas…