Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Story Seed / Writing Tip #2 - Jump into the Action

In celebration of 50 published titles, every week my blog will be featuring 1) the tiny, real-life seed from which one of my stories unfolded and 2) a writing tip that helped the seed grow into a finished book.

The Seed: I stood in the middle of our corner grocery store and stared at the clerk's dangling earrings. Those earrings reminded me of my wonderful, amazing Aunt Mag who, with a mysterious smile, would look at us sideways and announce "I have magical powers, you know. If you don't behave, I'll turn you into a frog." 

The Book: Sarah and the Magic Science Project (Annick 1984, 2005)

The Writing Tip: The first line of the story seems so simple: "On a bright morning in May, the lady at the corner grocery store turned Derek Henshaw into a frog." Originally, however, that part of the story was a full two pages of "scene setting" before I distilled it down to exactly what it needed to be. Rewriting isn't fun. But it is necessary. Take out the boring parts. Add interesting parts. Bring your story alive with short bits of dialogue, quick touches of humor. (Remember when last week's blog post talked about energy? Dialogue and humor both bring energy!) Tell the story - or at least think about it - from a different character's point of view.  Do research to come up with wider ideas. And, especially if you are writing for young people or if you are someone who has trouble simply getting your story started in the first place, jump right into the action. 
      Originally issued as Anastasia Morning star and the Crystal Butterfly, and updated in 2005, the book has been published in Canada, Great Britain, Germany and America -- each time with different illustrations. I love the places a book can end up!

        I hope that right now you are reaching for your pen or opening a word document on your computer to begin to write...or jumping in with energy.  You never know where your own story might appear!

  c All Rights Reserved. All blog text(except comments by others) copyright Hazel Hutchins.

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