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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Story School #7

First off, I want to thank you for last week's submissions.  The topic of What the Baby Ate brought us to a whole new level of weird.  There were babies eating normal things (like peaches and bananas), babies eating unusual things (like, um, I dunno...TIRES) and then there was also THE BABY THAT ATE THE WORLD!  Naturally, a young writer took it a bit further and had me cracking up with his story, WHAT THE BABY BURPED.  So there you have it.

This week's Story School is inspired by real events.  Well, kind of real.  But first, just in case this is your first week here, let me give you a brief recap of what Story School is all about:

Every Wednesday this summer, I'll post a story starter of sorts.  It might be an idea or a prompt.  It might be just a single word.  Who knows!  Story School started as a way for me to continue to connect with the students from my school (about writing) over the summer. But really, Story School is for everyone, young or old.  Writing exercises often get my writing juices flowing so I thought it would be good to share some of the stuff that works for me! 

So, on to this week's inspiration:  SUPER HEROES!!


I went to Comic Con last week and all I can think about this week are superheroes!!  I mean, just imagine all of the possibilities!  So many options in terms of superpowers.  Super vision. Super speed.  Flying power.  Invisibility.  And those are just the normal ones.  What about those obscure ones--like super pie eating power?  (And maybe the super pie eating hero could barf out whipped cream at his enemies in a phenomenal cream ray!)  Sorry, that's a little gross.  But you get the idea.  You can do anything with your superhero.


And superheroes don't have to be grown-ups now do they?


So, you  go ahead and get started on your writing about a superhero and I'll go and bake these cookies for us, okay?

And remember, if you want to send me your writing, you can:  storyqueen@gmail.com.

Have fun!

hrh



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Story School #6

Hi again!  Welcome back to Story School. Last week's stories/poems were mostly funny--actually MY chicken pie story is funny, too.  I guess there's just something about chicken pie that makes people think of silly things.

And if you need to know what Story School is, here is the description:

Every Wednesday this summer, I'll post a story starter of sorts.  It might be an idea or a prompt.  It might be just a single word.  Who knows!  Story School started as a way for me to continue to connect with the students from my school (about writing) over the summer. But really, Story School is for everyone, young or old.  Writing exercises often get my writing juices flowing so I thought it would be good to share some of the stuff that works for me! 

So, I am teaching a writing workshop for children this week.  We have only been meeting for 2 days so far, but we have already written so much. Such amazing young authors!  I thought it might be fun to base this week's topic for writing on something from the workshop.  We were talking and sharing and then someone said something funny, based on misunderstanding what someone else said, and the next thing we knew, we had some up with a title for what we decided would be a great book.

But first, a little about titles. I love coming up with good titles.  I make lists and lists of possible titles for things.  Sometimes I get an idea for a title for a book and I have NO idea what the book will actually end up being about.  Part of the fun is the mystery--what COULD happen within this story?  


The title we came up with was:  What the Baby Ate.

So, there you go.  Write something with the title of What the Baby Ate.  I have no idea what you might do with this, but have fun, okay?

And of course I'll read your stories and poems.  Send them to storyqueen@gmail.com and I'll write back!

hrh

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Story School #5

Wow!  You guys killed it last week.  So many castles.  There were a few castle poems, a castle song, and lots of castles that appeared in stories.  The space castle, submitted by J,  really stays in my mind--floating through the galaxy with an asteroid moat and a galactic dungeon. Oh, the dungeon! Anyway, I am really enjoying reading your writing.  Keep'em coming!

As for me, I wrote a description of the island castle I am planning on sticking in a story--but I am not at the point in the story where the castle comes into play.  Yet. But it is nice to know that when I need it, it will be there, waiting for me.

If you are new here,  let me explain Story School:

Every Wednesday this summer, I'll post a story starter of sorts.  It might be an idea or a prompt.  It might be just a single word.  Who knows!  Story School started as a way for me to continue to connect with the students from my school (about writing) over the summer. But really, Story School is for everyone, young or old.  Writing exercises often get my writing juices flowing so I thought it would be good to share some of the stuff that works for me! 

Okay, the truth is, sometimes random stuff just gets me going.  So, I am going to give you a random word (actually two words):

Chicken Pie

Don't ask me why I have this word in my brain, or what it has to do with a new project I am working on, because I can't tell you.  What I can tell you is that I spent most of yesterday writing about chicken pie.  Weird, huh?  So, now it is your turn.  Does chicken pie remind you of big meals at your grandma's house?  Does it make you think of a chicken eating a pie?  Does it just make you remember how much YOU LOVE PIE?  ALL KINDS OF PIE? 

Remember the rules: you can write a story, a poem, a song, a letter, a whatever-you-want, just try and use the words chicken and pie in there somewhere. (And if you write about something else, that's okay, too.  There are no Chicken Pie Police that are going to throw you into Chicken Pie Jail if you don't use the words!)

Also, I will be doing a story time the Barnes and Noble and Oceanside this Saturday, July 19th at 5:00 pm. Bring your books and I'll sign them. There will also be books available to purchase. (I MIGHT give you a sneak peak of some new stuff....maybe...) The Carlsbad Educational Foundation is hosting an showcase of their summer programs.  There are only two weeks left!

Have fun writing!

xo--

hrh

P.S. If you want to share your writing with me, my email is storyqueen@gmail.com. No pressure, though.  Only if you want to.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Story School #4

Happy Wednesday!  And welcome to the fourth installment of Story School. Last week's NARWHAL prompt inspired lots of great writing. I received several awesome poems, in lots of different styles--haiku, diamonte, cinquain, and free verse.  We even had a story about an epic narwhal battle.  As for my narwhal story, I polished it up and sent it to my agent, so we will see what she says.

  In case you are new here and are wondering what Story School is, let me tell you:

 Every Wednesday this summer, I'll post a story starter of sorts.  It might be an idea or a prompt.  It might be just a single word.  Who knows!  Story School started as a way for me to continue to connect with the students from my school (about writing) over the summer. But really, Story School is for everyone, young or old.  Writing exercises often get my writing juices flowing so I thought it would be good to share some of the stuff that works for me! 

So, we've talked about writing characters for the last two weeks, today lets talk about setting.  I am going to be honest, if I am reading a book and I can't picture myself in the setting, it is really hard for me to pay attention and stick with the story. Setting isn't just the WHERE and the WHEN of a story, it's the sounds of a place, the smells of a place--the tiny details that  come together and allow me to experience any story I am reading in the best possible way. When I am writing a story myself, I am always thinking about where a scene takes place, why it takes place there, and what I need to tell my audience about that place so that they can see it in their minds like I do.

One of my favorite story settings is Hogwarts. (I didn't write that setting, just so you know!) I love all of the personality that castle has.  So, I thought that today's prompt would be CASTLE.  

Here are a few to get your creative thoughts flowing:
This is quite a fancy castle.  It looks rather happy.  Of course, every place has its secrets, doesn't it?

This one looks like  the hidden castle of the sea-elves.  It only rises from the water at sunset...

A castle on a lake!!  This looks like one where King Arthur would live, very Camelot-like.

RUINS!  I love ruins!!  Of course, it's kind of an awful word, being RUINED and, but you can just imagine what once was here--and what happened to ruin it.

Such a chubby little castle!  This is a fairy tale castle for sure.

Saw this castle in person not too long ago.  Amazingly, we discovered a terrible smell as we went through the towers.  It was awful and there was no escape.  Just goes to show, things are not always as pretty and pink as they seem.

HAUNTED CASLTE.  Well, this looks adequately creepy, don't you think?  (I think what makes it look so scary is the fact that the photo is black and white.  Wise choice for a haunted castle.)  So, do ghosts reside here?  A were-wolf perhaps?  or perhaps a creature so terrifying it has yet to be described...

Come inside my sand castle!  This is where stories are born and dreams come true!
Choose any castle to write about--or you can find one of your own!  Google is amazing for that.  I chose the word CASTLE this week because I am writing a scene that happens in a place very much like this:
It is called Mont St. Michel and it is awesome.

So, your task is to use the word CASTLE in your writing.  You might set a story in one of the castles I have shown you, or create a castle of your very own..  You might write a poem about a castle, or perhaps a song.  You might choose to take a story you are working on and set a scene in a castle.  Whatever you do, remember to have fun!

You can email me at storyqueen@gmail.com if you want to share your work!

See you next time!

xo 

hrh

P.S. If you want to come and write with me in person, there are still a few seats open in my summer writing workshop offered through the Carlsbad Education Foundation. CEF offers so many cool summer opportunities for kids.  My workshop runs from July 21-July 25,  from 9 am to 12 pm at Jefferson Elementary School.  You can click here for more information.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Story School #3

Hi everyone!

Welcome to week #3 of Story School!

I really enjoyed reading the adventures of the Dog Brothers and Paper Cat last week.  There was even a poem using the word "Cat-tastic" which I found rather marvelous.  Keep them coming!

This week's inspiration for story school is a picture, but a different picture from last week. Sometimes a picture will inspire me because of the subject of the picture, or sometimes it is the feeling the picture portrays, sometimes I can't describe the feeling at all--it is just a little bit of magic that somehow comes through the drawing/photo/whatever and makes my fingers itch to write.

Recently I saw a drawing that I really liked.  It was done by and artist named Jenni Desmond.  She is illustrating my book THIS BOOK IS NOT ABOUT DRAGONS which comes out in the Fall of 2015.  Anyway, this particular drawing just spoke to me and I knew I had to write about it.


I love the colors, I love the mood, but most of all, I love that it features that often misunderstood sea creature, the NARWHAL.

So, your prompt for today is Narwhal.  Maybe you will write lovely poetry about sea animals or the way the waves flow upon the shore.  Maybe you will write a story about a large family of narwhals going on a summer vacation.  Maybe you will write a letter to the world, urging folks to take care of our oceans so the narwhals will have a home. You can research narwhals and write about how amazing they are. Anything that you want to write is fine, just use the picture for inspiration. (Sometimes writing takes us in a completely different direction that we plan and that is okay, too.)

As for me, when I saw this picture, I immediately knew I had to write a story about the littlest one, the one at the bottom.  Isn't he cute?  I just finished it up the other day. Maybe I'll share it one day soon.

I am so excited to see how the narwhals inspire you.

(And the horn on the narwhal is really a TOOTH!  Seriously.)

If you are interested, you can see Jenni Desmond's books and such at Jennidesmond.com

(And if you want to check Jenni's Etsy shop, it is here. )

Guys, wait until you see how Jenni draws dragons!!!

And if you want to share your writing with me, my email address is storyqueen@gmail.com.  I will write back to you!

hrh

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer To Do List 2014: Simple Pleasures Edition




Part donut, part croissant.  Where have you been all my life?

1.  Eat a cronut. Yeah, I know, it's a simple thing to have at the top of a summer list, but I will feel pretty good about this summer if I can accomplish this.

2.  Hike around in Joshua Tree National Park. (Actually, I am hoping to do this tomorrow.) It's so close and I've never been.




Those trees in the background look like DUDES!
3.  See the covers of my new books, NO, NO KITTEN!   and  SECRETS OF SELKIE BAY.  One of them is almost finished, one of them I have no idea what to expect.  But I am excited beyond all reason to have a glimpse of both.
4.  Watch the sunset in the desert.

5.  Watch the sunset over the ocean. (Okay, I am noticing a theme here--where are the sunrises?)
6.  Sleep in sometimes. (Oh, that's where the sunrises are--being missed altogether!  Well done, me! Sleep is good.)
7.  Visit Catalina Island. Again, so close but I have never been!



8.  Eat Mexican food in New Mexico.  Well, why not?

9.  Visit the Santa Fe Opera.
Look at it, all snuggled up against the Sangre de Cristos.  

10.  Oh, and write.  A BUNCH.  Write a bunch of words! Good words, of course.

So, what's on your summer to-do list?

hrh








Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Story School #2

Hello and welcome! Welcome to the second Story School of 2014!

What is Story School, you ask--let me tell you.  Every Wednesday this summer, I'll post a story starter of sorts.  It might be an idea or a prompt.  It might be just a single word.  Who knows!  Story School started as a way for me to continue to connect with the students from my school (about writing) over the summer. But really, Story School is for everyone, young or old.  Writing exercises often get my writing juices flowing so I thought it would be good to share some of the stuff that works for me! 

The response to our first Story School was awesome.  Several kids sent amazing stories and poems.  It was a pleasure to read them and I am looking forward to reading more!

Okay, so on to today's prompt:

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  A thousand words!  That's a lot of words.  I am hoping that one of these two pictures inspires you to create some words of your own, but don't worry if it's not 1,000.  Any words are good words.

Today we are going to focus on character.  Describing your character well in your story really helps your readers create pictures in their own minds, and understand your story even better.   Describing a character doesn't have to mean showing what the character looks like. If you tell how the character acts, or what they are thinking, you are describing important parts of the character as well!

Who are our characters today?  Well let's meet them:

These are the Dog Brothers. (These two guys live at my house).

And this is Paper Cat. (This was made by my friend Mimi).

So, your characters for today's Story School are the Dog Brothers and/or Paper Cat.  Maybe they are super heroes!  Maybe the Dog Brothers live on a farm and the little one is always getting into trouble and the big one always has to get him out.  Maybe Paper Cat goes into outer space and saves the Earth from an alien invasion.  You can have them do anything you want, because you are the AUTHOR.  You don't have to use them both in your story.  You can make up a story with Paper Cat OR the Dog Brothers if you choose.  Or a poem.  Maybe the Dog Brothers or Paper Cat reminds you of your own pet and you want to write about them instead.  That is okay, too.

Just make sure you describe them!  (And you don't have to write a WHOLE story, either. Maybe you just want to write the beginning today, and more tomorrow.  Anyway you want to write it is fine, just as long as you are writing!!)

Remember, if you want to send me your writing, you can email me at storyqueen@gmail.com.  I will write back to you!

Happy writing!

hrh