50 Precious Words Writing Contest

Vivian Kirkfield holds a yearly writing contest in which you have to write a story with a beginning, middle, and end, using only 50 words. Here’s mine:

Painting a Rainbow

It was Cloudy’s first rainbow. She picked colors and started to paint. But orange disappeared! It wasn’t on her poofy table. Not behind her floofy Mama. Oh no, the sun started to shine! She peeked under her fluff. There it was. She splashed a dash and the rainbow was glorious.

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Spring Spirit Conference 2019!

I’m in the SCBWI California North/Central Region, and the yearly Spring Spirit Conference is on May 4th. There are 4 sessions and it’s hard to pick which of the workshops to attend!

This year I will be taking these workshops:
Tim McCanna: Rhyming in Picture Books,
Julie Gassman: All about Early Chapter Books,
Julie Gassman: Make Writing-for-Hire “Write” for You,
Natalie Lakosil: Writing and Revising Your Picture Book

What are some favorite workshops you’ve taken?

Valentiny Writing Contest

Valentine Cookie Surprise

“It’s time to make our Valentine Cookie Surprise!” Mama said.

Carla wiggled her feet into her boots. “Let’s jump in the car!” she said, as she gave a little hop.

At the store, Mama said, “This year, find something tasty that starts with ‘c.’”

Carla skipped down the aisles looking for a delicious something to hide in the cookie dough. “Chocolate starts with ‘c!’ I hope I get the cookie with the surprise!”

At home, Mama made the dough. Carla brought out the chocolate. Mama said, “You can watch the cookies bake through the window.”

The timer went “ding!” The cookies were hot, hot, hot.

Carla hid as she waited for the cookies to cool down.

“They’re ready!”

Mama took the first bite and there was no chocolate. “It’s your turn!”

Carla took a cookie and sniffled as she ate.

“Carla, it’s ok if you didn’t get a cookie with chocolate inside. You can have another one after dinner.”

“Mama, there isn’t any chocolate,” Carla said.

“I’ll cut some open and we’ll see.” The more cookies Mama cut, the more tears ran down Carla’s cheeks.

“I already ate the chocolate.” Carla sobbed.

“Oh, Carla!” Mama said. She started laughing. “That is a cookie surprise!”

Mama kissed Carla, and they ate another cookie after dinner.

Reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition

I started reading this book because of the recommendation from the last class I took. I’ve only read chapter 1 so far, but I’m already enjoying it. The chapter was about showing instead of telling. It was interesting to me because I actually enjoyed reading the passages of narrative summaries. However, the stories really did come alive when it was rewritten to include action happening. A quick example from me: Narrative summary–Janie was upset when she came home from school. Nothing seemed to go right. She wanted to talk to her mom about it but no one was home. Showing, not telling–Janie stomped into the house and slammed the door shut. She threw her backpack who-knows-where. “Mom!” she said. Nothing. “Where are you when I need you…” The examples in the book are more complex, and there are exercises at the end of the chapter where you try to fix scenes yourself. The chapter notes that sometimes narrative summary is best for certain situations. The other thing that stood out to me was that you don’t need to express yourself twice, once in dialog, and then for more effect in your description afterwards. For example, if your dialogue makes it clear that the person speaking is upset, you don’t need to then write that the character was upset, after the dialogue. By the way, the writers of this book using The Great Gatsby for examples was a great way of showing, not telling.

KBR Writing Class

I feel fortunate that I have had the opportunity to take a couple of classes through Kid’s Book Revisions. The most recent class I took was about line editing. The subject matter was interesting to me and the examples they used for homework were excellent. Seeing the process of editing and getting a hands-on experience was invaluable. The class was conducted through Zoom, and it provided an opportunity to interact with the instructors through the chat box. The instructors would address questions and comments in the video, live. I really felt like I was in a class. You were accountable for doing your homework–no one was going to check on you, and if you weren’t available to watch the instruction live, then the recording was available to view the next day, as well as a transcript of the chat. The instructors are knowledgeable, kind and responsive. They are Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson. I highly recommend taking a class through them!