Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloweensie Entry: Creakety, Crackety Croo!


Susanna Leonard Hill's Halloweensie contest is up and running. All entries are limited to 100 words or less and must include the words creak, pumpkin and broomstick. Mine weighed in at exactly 100, whew. And here is my entry:

Creakety, Crackety, Croo
by Johnell DeWitt

Wenda watched her aunts fly away. 

No Halloween Ball again! Just because she couldn’t remember her spells?


Wenda opened the ancient spell book primer…creeeeaaaak…but another book fell out.

A story book

Before Wenda finished the Happily Ever After, she knew what to do.

She fetched her wand, a pumpkin and an old dress…

“Creakety, crackety, croo!” 

The pumpkin shivered then SNAPPED into a broomstick, then Wenda’s dress quivered and POOFED into glittery gown—the perfect creepy costume for the Halloween Ball. 

As the clock screeched midnight, Wenda hopped on her orange broom and zoomed into the night. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekend Link: Halloweensie Contest!

Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting her annual Halloweensie contest. Woot! I confess, this is the first year I've heard about it and the first year I'm trying it, but I'm excited.

The rules are as follows: In 100 words or less (title not included and no illo notes allowed) write a Halloween story appropriate for children. You have to use the words pumpkin, broomstick and creak at least once in the text. And you can use different variations like creaky, pumpkiny, broomsticks, etc.

Then post your story on your blog between 12 a.m. EDT Monday Oct. 27 and Friday Oct. 31 by 11:59 p.m. EDT. Then visit Susanna's site and add your post-specific link to her list on her Oct. 27 post.

I've been working away on mine and I have to say 100 words or less is tricky! Stop by after Midnight on October 27 for a sneak peak of my entry.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Two Valuable Courses: How to Make Money as a Writer and CBA's Illustration Course

I'm thrilled I get to tell you about two fantastic courses coming up. First, Julie Hedlund has opened her How to Make Money as a Writer course. I'm fortunate to be in the beta course. I'm learning how to use social media to market yourself, how to market yourself off-line, and how to create the mindset of an authorpreneur. And now her course is open to everyone! Click here for the details:

I've also graduated from Mira Reisberg's Children's Book Academy--see my nifty graduation button? I took her course on writing picture books and so enjoyed my experience with Mira that I'm tempted to take her illustration course even though I'm not an illustrator. But for those of you who are illustrators or who would like to be, I unabashedly recommend her illustration course.

Check out her great introductory video with co-teacher Kristine Brogno, design and art director for Chronicle Books.

It's starting soon and if you register before Wednesday, you get a discounted price. I'm sorry for not posting this sooner, but I'm waist deep in work from our move and a few other unexpected things. I can't wait to share more with you about what I've learned from these two talented women. Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rebuilding the Arc

I read an interesting post today about atypical story arcs, by Joyce Audy Zarins. Instead of the usual rise and fall (pictured above), some story arcs take on less traditional patterns, like the "X" shape arc in Bridge to Terabithia where Jesse and Leslie switch roles by the end
I tend to follow the heroes journey arc the most, but I'm intrigued with the idea of using an arc as an integral part of the story rather than a plot mapping tool.

Joyce also mentioned the cyclical arc of Holes, by Louis Sachar, and how fitting that is to the title and development of the main character.

I started looking around for other ideas about arcs and ran across a lecture by Brandon Sanderson. He briefly talks about non-traditional arcs but then answers a student's question about collaboration, also an interesting topic and pertinent to a discussion on arcs. 

I'll leave this here for now. More on arcs later as I churn up additional research, but I'm currently enrolled in two writing courses that are keeping me busy, Mira Resiberg's The Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books and Julie Hedlund's soon-to-be-released course on marketing for the authorpreneur. More on both of those later. 

I'm also churning away at my middle grade novel and revising a handful of picture book ideas I think have the most potential.  Between all that, I'm organizing a children's lit group in my new home as I did in my previous home. There is no SCBWI chapter here, but I'm trying to lay the ground work for establishing one. It's been a busy but fruitful transition. Hopefully I'll have more good news to share in the near future.

Happy writing.