"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." - Stéphane Mallarmé
It's Time for Susanna Leonard Hill's 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest
2017 Prompt: Write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children 12 and under using the words candy corn, monster, and shadow.
Candy's Tiny Surprise
Candy Corn loved black cats and witchy cackles.
She loved monsters, mummies, ghosts, and ghouls.
Most of all, she loved spooky surprises.
Her parents promised her a big one this Halloween!
With a bag full of treats, Candy was ready for a trick.
Her eyes widened when she saw her dimly-lit house and heard…wailing?
Could it be a Halloween surprise party?
She slid through the shadows to the front door. CREAK!
Candy crept down the hall toward hushed voices.
She popped through the door and said, “Happy Halloween!”
“Shhhh!” her mom said.
“The baby’s sleeping. Surprise, you’re a big sister!”
I love participating in Susanna's writing contests, but wasn't sure I would have the opportunity this year. Like Candy, my daughter will become a big sister any day, and we are all wondering if baby will be a Halloween surprise!
UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who commented, and I apologize for not visiting your blogs to read your amazing stories. Though it wasn't a Halloween surprise, we were excited to welcome a new baby to our family on the very day I shared this story. Our surprise was the gender -- it's a boy! Thanks again for the wonderful support - the Kidlit writing community is incredible!
I’m in a slump…
I’m no longer writing daily.
I missed some monthly writing goals in August.
I got 2 rejections this month – I’m very selective in my agent submissions so these and the other 6 I’ve gotten this year feel very personal!
And I’m having a baby next month – I feel as though the walls are closing in on my writing time (and maybe my sanity)!
So I did the unthinkable.
I heard a knock…and let her in. And now my inner critic refuses to leave.
She’s watching cheesy Hallmark movies, flaunting celebrity children’s books, and hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock.
It’s time to kick the critic to the curb. Here’s my plan of attack:
And I’m keeping in mind Josh Funk’s tweet that Kate DiCamillo’s BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE was rejected 494 times!!! And his LADY PANCAKE picture book received 35 rejections from agents before he subbed directly to publishers through the slush pile.
What tricks do you employ to get out of a writing rut?
We’ve discovered the “Terrible Twos” in my household. I recently read a list of picture books for Little Kids with Big Emotions. Some of the books were a little too abstract for my 2-year old so I’ve created my own list with a focus on the grumps to help us deal with the roller coaster of tears we’re experiencing.
Grumpy Pants (2016) by Claire Messer
Wash the attitude away with simple text and illustrations that pack a punch!
Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus (2016) by Edward Hemingway
I love this fresh approach to big emotion and the way the illustrations reveal the cat’s parallel story so a child can see consequences for his/her actions. It should be sold with a dinosaur costume!
Maya Was Grumpy (2013) by Courtney Pippin-Mathur
Absolutely love how Maya’s hair shows an escalation of her mood, while grandma’s imaginative redirection leads to a clever culmination!
BE QUIET! (2017) by Ryan T. Higgins
While this book does have a grumpy character, it actually makes the list for another reason…the onomatopoeia line that brings my daughter to hysterics no matter her mood!
Augustus and His Smile (2006) by Catherine Rayner
Beautiful illustrations reveal a sad tiger’s journey to reclaim his smile, which could lead to a fun scavenger hunt to banish the toddler blues!
A couple other books that my daughter enjoys and are particularly fitting with her stage of development include:
Jabari Jumps (2017) by Gaia Cornwell
A great book about overcoming fear and a repeated read-aloud requested by my daughter!
Music Class Today! (2015) by David Weinstone, art by Vin Vogel
Rhyming text and song guide a child through the uncertainty of new experiences, resulting in trying new things.
I read this great parenting post on avoiding the Terrible Twos label and using the term “Boundary Stage” instead because, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” (Peggy O’Mara) I’ve seen this with my daughter as she reflects my words back to me daily. I try to label her emotions and identify her frustrations, no matter how trivial they seem to me. This sets the foundation for how she will handle frustration in the future, just as picture books do! As a writer, I’m looking at this developmental stage for inspiration – a new picture book idea has sprouted already! For anyone in the trenches with me, here’s another parenting post on this period of self-discovery…for both toddler and parent.
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