Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bald spots in our writing--and life

My, oh, my--this picture tells it all. My beloved 4 year-old grandson Josh took a pair of kid scissors to his hair this week, and now has an outstanding bald spot. Even the best efforts of Mommy's favorite hairdresser couldn't do much about this!
Sometimes it's like that with our writing too. That well-intentioned chapter just doesn't turn out the way we planned. And sometimes no matter how we try to smooth it all out, to trim around the edges, to make that bald spot blend in, it just doesn't work for the story.
Sometimes we just have to wait. There are times when we need to ponder and dream and mull it all around, while we wait for the story to "grow out" the way it's supposed to.
Just like Josh is waiting for his hair to grow out.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Building a Monster Bug, and Other Writerly Research

I sometimes find myself doing research for my stories in the strangest of places. Like this week when I found myself on a local Seattle pest control website.

I love to use animals and bug creatures of all kinds in my stories for kids, and have found it zooms the interest level up when I do – a story bonus both for the kid readers, and for the busy editor who wants something a little startling or unusual.

So I was delighted when I found the kid page on the Eastside Exterminator website. The very first Fun Fact (about an ant lifting 50 times its weight) gave me a great idea for a story for Clubhouse Magazine, one of my current publication targets.

I admit I got sucked into the website for longer than I’d planned, when I discovered the Build a Monster Bug Game included on the site. But hey! I built a very credible lady bug while I was there, and now I’m mulling around a way to get ladybugs, of which I’m particularly fond, into another of my stories.

I encourage all you kids, and writers for kids to take a look. Even those of you who like to write scary stories may be inspired. (Did you know a cockroach can live up to 9 days after losing its head? Now that’s creepy!)

Have fun with your research. You just might find yourself coming up with a brand new story that excites and delights you.

And your readers too.

PS. If you happen to run into any real bug problems (like I did when wasps invaded our house the week of our big family reunion) Eastside Exterminators can help out there too!