"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." - Stéphane Mallarmé
It's time for Susanna Leonard Hill's 4th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest! The challenge: write a 214-word Valentine story appropriate for children in which someone is guilty. Check out my entry below, then visit Susanna's blog to read more!
by Amanda Sincavage
The kids in room 18 worked hard on their valentine mailboxes. They were especially excited for the valentines that would be slipped inside the thin slot on top.
Ricardo wrapped his box in ribbon.
Fei’s had fabric.
Jessica drew jewels on hers.
Spencer added sparkles.
Greta … gobbled them all up. Every last sparkle, ribbon, and jewel. Not a single heart remained.
The students were devastated, but also determined. They distributed their valentines to empty desks.
As Greta’s pile of cards grew, so did her guilt.
When the students finished, they ran outside for recess.
Ricardo raced Fei.
Jessica jumped rope.
Spencer did swings and the slide.
Greta could not be found.
When the students lined up at the door for their Valentine’s Day party, Spencer asked, “Where’s Greta?”
When the students rushed inside, they found Greta.
Just Greta. Not a single valentine could be seen.
The students were shocked.
“We don’t eat our classmates’ valentines,” the teacher said, “which is why Greta used your valentines to make a surprise collage for the class!”
Greta stepped aside to reveal her valentine surprise.
“Meh-eh-be you can forgive me,” Greta bleated.
The kids in room 18 loved their valentine collage … and Greta!
“Of course we forgive you, Greta Goat! Will you be our valentine?”
After a year of poor sleep with a nursing infant, my body is trying to make up for lost time! Waking at 5 a.m. to hopefully get one hour to write feels unrealistic and insufficient. Plus, the kids sense mommy is stirring and wake even earlier! Though my kids’ wake time is earlier than I would like, their bedtime is now early enough to provide me with 2.5 hours of writing time at night. The only problem is … I am not a night owl. My eyes are fluttering by 8 pm after a full day with the kids. Throw in some tantrums, intense emotions, and major clinginess, and I am wiped of all motivation.
Some quick research revealed that (1) early bird vs night owl productivity is genetic, (2) there is more information available on increasing morning productivity rather than evening/night productivity, and (3) there is no “best” time of day to write. This article compares the advantages of morning vs. night writing:
Sounds like writers need both! A little research led me to the following strategies to maximize my writing time whether night or day.
I have found that writing brings writing. When I feel a sense of accomplishment or get in the flow, it is easier to make the most of my time the next day. Last night was one of those nights that I found it difficult to focus on even the simplest tasks. I put on a movie and afterward, was able to get some work done and prioritize my 3-task post-it list for the next day. I woke up after about 7 hours of sleep and set my timer for 10 minutes to write morning pages, another 10 minutes to meditate, and another 10 for a writing prompt. I felt amazing all morning and looked forward to the writing time I would get later in the day.
If you have any tips on increasing productivity for writers, please share!
It's Time for Susanna Leonard Hill's 8th Annual Halloweensie Contest!
This contest has special significance for me. After posting last year's entry about a new sibling surprise, I went into labor and delivered my son! I look forward to actually reading other entries this year. Thank you Susanna for a wonderful tradition!
2018 Prompt: Write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children 12 and under using the words shiver, cauldron, and howl.
When we moved on Halloween, nobody warned us about the house on the hill with blue shutters and a white picket fence.
Purple lights blinked and pumpkin grins glowed. The doorbell howled like a wolf. A witch with a cauldron opened the door.
“Trick or treat!”
We reached into the cauldron for a treat, but got a trick instead. We shrieked and shivered at the horror in our hands as we sprinted home.
“Did you get any candy?” Mom asked.
We shook our heads and opened our hands. Instead of sweets, the house on the hill gave out…carrots.
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