Writing Successes of 2014

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2014.

January

  • Participated in the first annual ReviMo
  • Honorable Mention in the Institute of Children’s Literature “Speedy Santa Holiday Writing Contest”
  • Participated in the “Start the Year Off Write” challenge
  • Joined 12X12 challenge for the first time
  • Joined a writer’s gratitude group
  • Became part of a critique group for the first time
  • Wrote at least one picture book draft
  • Revised at least one picture book draft

February

March

April

  • Got a two from “Rate Your Story”
  • Wrote at least one picture book draft
  • Revised at least one picture book draft

May

  • Course: Nonfiction Archaelogy
  • Course: The Pleasures and Craft of Poetic Technique
  • Wrote at least one picture book draft
  • Revised at least one picture book draft

June

  • Wrote a nonfiction manuscript for WOW Nonficpic
  • Wrote at least one picture book draft
  • Revised at least one picture book draft

July

  • Participated in the first annual KidLitSummerSchool
  • Wrote at least one picture book draft
  • Revised at least one picture book draft

August

  • Wrote at least one picture book draft
  • Revised at least one picture book draft

September

October

November

  • Winner of the PiBoIdMo challenge with 65 ideas; second time participating
  • Course: Heart of it
  • Wrote at least one picture book draft
  • Revised at least one picture book draft

December

  • Participated in the holiday contest
  • Winner of 12X12 challenge with at least 12 picture book ideas written
  • Wrote at least one picture book draft
  • Revised at least one picture book draft

Ongoing throughout the year

  • Became more disciplined with my writing
  • Improvements to my blog, including now being able to subscribe to it
  • Submitted my work to several publishers
  • Participated in several webinars
  • Made a lot of great new friends
  • Submitted to other contests

Book Review: “The Most Magnificent Thing”

Wanting to learn more about the Canadian picture book market, I came across the recommendation of “The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires. I promptly took it out of the library.
My daughter loved it right away. She loves to invent, and she pored over the pages of inventions, wondering which ones were the best ones.
I didn’t realize then that I would eventually meet the author.
Yes, Ashley Spires was at the PYI conference I attended in October! So I bought the book and had her sign it.
At her seminar, Ashley talked about making graphic novels. She is most famous for her “Binky the Space Cat” series of graphic novels.
But she also talked about creating “The Most Magnificent Thing”. Where did she get her idea? Ashley told the story about how she was one of those kids who got frustrated, because what she held in her head did not translate into what came out through her hand onto a paper. In other words, the character is based on herself.
There are a lot of kids like that. Maybe you have one yourself.
“The Most Magnificent Thing” has been nominated for a 2015 blue spruce award. Check out the book yourself.

2014 Holiday Contest Story: “Holiday Hurricane”

I thought that writing the holiday contest story would be a breeze compared to the Halloweensie contest story. But I was wrong. My first draft was 470 words. Yikes. A wee bit long…So I rewrote the beginning and came up with…almost exactly the same word count. A wee bit more editing and I finally got it down to 348 words.

So here is my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s 2014 Holiday Contest. For the rules, click here.

And if you want to know more about hurricanes, I came across this cool simulation during my research.

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Hurricane in the North Pole

“Holiday Hurricane”

Radar Elf stared at the “weird horrible alarming terrible nasty odd weather” radar–or “What Now” radar for short.
He flew out of the office. “Santa, Santa, the ‘What Now’ radar is showing winds scoring a 1 on the hurricane scale…What now?”
Santa dashed through the snow. “Get the reindeer and the sleigh in the barn. Everybody inside.”
“Wooooooooooooo,” wailed the wind.
The wind huffed on. It slowed. Santa opened a window and the words “down, down, down” echoed through the air. Then silence.
Detective Elf blasted out of the workshop.
“Hmmmm,” said Detective Elf. “Why is there so much straw scattered everywhere?”
“Must be from the reindeer beds,” said Radar Elf.
“Maybe…”
Santa scurried past. “Come on, we are already late. These toys must be delivered.”
The elves flung into action.
“SAN–TA!” cried Radar Elf. “The ‘What Now’ radar shows we’re in for winds that are a 2 on the hurricane scale.”
“A 2! Better batten down the hatches, elves.”
The team whooshed back inside.
“Wooooooooooooo,” wailed the wind.
The wind puffed on. It slowed. Santa opened the window. There was that echo again, “Down, down, down.”
“Why are there so many sticks lying around?” asked Detective Elf.
“Oh, it’s only our firewood,” said Radar Elf.
“Hmmmm….maybe…”
“Santa, Santa,” cried Radar Elf. “The ‘What now’ radar shows that the storms are coming from Fairytaleland.”
“Fairytaleland, eh? Hmmmm…Santa, I know! Let’s fly there before the next storm,” said Detective Elf.
Just in the Saint Nick of time, Santa and Detective Elf landed in front of the Big Bad Wolf.
Big Bad Wolf stood in front of the house made of bricks. “Now, I’ll huff and I’ll puff…Santa?”
“Now Big Bad Wolf,” Santa wagged his finger at him. “No more huffing. No more puffing. No more blowing the houses down.”
“If you are nice instead of naughty,” continued Santa, “then I will give you a Christmas feast.”
The Big Bad Wolf licked his lips. “Deal,” he said.
“Phew,” said Detective Elf. “The next one would have been at least 3 on the hurricane scale.”

PiBoIdMo 2014 Winner

vinvogel_piboldmo_winner

So how did you do? Did you get 30 ideas for 30 picture books in 30 days?
I am proud to say that I am a winner! I got 65 ideas this time. I have already turned three of these ideas into picture book manuscripts and one into a magazine article.
But really, if you didn’t get 30 ideas, your were a winner just for participating.