A new website is in work, so stayed tuned…
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my previous posts.
The Rule of Threes can be found everywhere in storytelling: The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, The Three Musketeers and many, many more and it’s very effective in the famous proverb popularized by William Edward Hickson (January 7, 1803 – March 22, 1870), commonly known as W. E. Hickson, a British educational writer.
“‘Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.”
Why does this matter? Because the rule of threes speaks to the heart and art of writing. Whether it be three attempts to overcome an obstacle or three adjectives, verbs or nouns, consecutively joined together to create rhythm, there is power in threes.
As a PB writer I’ve studied this incessantly and found that unless you are writing a concept book, adding the rule of threes is highly effective. When your main character is struggling, a series of three often builds the tension creating suspense, doubt, and struggle, which often leads to that poignant moment where he/she finally undergoes a change and achieves resolution. However, the try/fail, try/fail, try/fail rule of threes is not the only way to apply threes.
“It made her brave.
It made her bold.
It made her bloom!”
Then when Lucy attempts to skate…
And since Lucy has three friends, every time she asks them to skate with her, the rule of threes keeps the rhythm flowing.
It’s a great read and an even better mentor text if you’re trying to use the rule of threes. (and why wouldn’t you?)
According to Marcello, whose cheese puns are hilarious, just like winter, this book is “so goud-a.”
to appeal to the engineer in me, I had to include other fascinating facts about the remarkable number 3!
According to Pythagoras and the Pythagorean school, the number 3, which they called triad, is the noblest of all digits, as it is the only number to equal the sum of all the terms below it, and the only number whose sum with those below equals the product of them and itself.
A natural number is divisible by three if the sum of its digits in base 10 is divisible by 3. For example, the number 21 is divisible by three and the sum of its digits is 2 + 1 = 3.
Three is approximately π (actually closer to 3.14159) when doing rapid engineering guesses or estimates. The same is true if one wants a rough-and-ready estimate of e, which is actually approximately 2.71828.
And now as a mom of three perfect kids, I have to agree, three is perfect!
The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words candy corn, monster, and shadow. (Candy corn will be counted as 1 word.) Your story can be scary, funny, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)
In the spirit of Halloween, here’s…
CLOMP, STOMP, CHOMP!
by Dawn Young (100 words)
There’s a noise and I’m no longer sleeping
and Yikes! there’s a shadow that’s crawling and creeping.
It’s hairy and scary and has a huge horn.
A monster that’ s growling, “Me want candy corn!”
It grunts and it groans and it’s down on all fours.
I toss my whole bag to the creature, “It’s yours!”
I’m under the covers and scared half to death.
I quietly peek out while holding my breath.
It enters. STOMP STOMP
Comes closer. CHOMP CHOMP
That big beast with the horrible horn?
Is my sister, still dressed as a pink unicorn!
Four years ago I wrote a post about rejection that I often visit because it helps me cope when rejection rears its ugly (or maybe not so ugly) head.
I have to constantly remind myself that rejection is part of the business. It’s part of life. I thank others who share stories of their rejections, like Kate DiCamillo and her 473 rejections and Drew Daywalt and his tweet: “Dunno if you know this but The Day The Crayons Quit was rejected by every publisher for 6 years before it sold to @PhilomelBooks #keepwriting”
It reminds me that I’m not alone: that other writers (even the most successful) experience rejection. And as much as we hate it, curse it, dread it, rejection can be healthy. It can keep you grounded, make you strive to get better, and force you to look deep inside to find out what’s important to you. It begs the question “Am I tough enough?”
So, when you get those rejections, think about what they can do for you. Maybe you’ll read more, study more, seek out critiques and learn to welcome them with open arms, and write more stories and less posts 😉
and if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll influence a life along the way, without even knowing it, as I was fortunate enough to have done years ago and continue to do…
(below from Feb 11, 2013)
Is so hard to take. The first few rejection letters made me cry. The next few made me angry. Soon after, I simply became numb. Then finally, the numbness subsided and I grew determined. Determined to defy the odds and be one of those writers that emerges from the slush pile and gets discovered.
It was not until recently, when I took some time to look back on my journey towards publication that I realized I had experienced these phases of growth. In retrospect, I appreciate the rejection, I am indebted to it. It’s changed me.
Rejection has made my writing stronger, made me tougher and made me much more determined to succeed. After all, anything that’s difficult to achieve is that much more rewarding, right?
But that’s not really what this post is about. Rejection did something so much bigger than that. It affected me in a way I would have never expected. It affected me as a mom. Something happened while I was grappling with my rejection letters, something remarkable…something unexpected, something invaluable. I discovered it during my parent/teacher conference.
My girls (twins) are in the fourth grade, so a parent/teacher conference is nothing new to me. I went in hoping for a glowing report from the teacher and a chance to peek at my daughters’ work. I met with the teacher, received the glowing report I had hoped for, but then, to my surprise, I received something much more.
In my daughter’s Hero paper I read this…
Right then and there I knew what rejection was to me – an opportunity to do something invaluable – to teach my children to NEVER give up! I could have told them this but showing is so much more effective. I had no idea that my daughter was watching. No idea I was her hero because I didn’t give up. And I still haven’t.
Pirate’s Perfect Pet
by Beth Ferry
After Captain Crave discovers that to be a perfect pirate captain he must have a pet, he sets out on his quest to find one. He visits the shore, the farm, the zoo and finally the Pet Emporium.
There is so much to love about this book. It’s filled with things kids adore – pirates, animals and pets. The many fun lines and the clever use of poetic technique make this book a blast to read.
Here are just a few examples and some of my favorite lines in the book.
The title, Pirate’s Perfect Pet. Right away you know you’re in for a treat.
“Captain crave spied a small blue bottle bobbing among the waves …and the sharks.”
“Captain Crave was courageous.”
“Thar be piles of pets!”
The rule of three
“His crew cheered and waved and chanted, ‘Go, Crave!’”
The repetition (and internal rhyme and alliteration):
After the pirates anchored on a sandy beach, come to a farm and come to a zoo …
“They caused quite a commotion as good pirates should.”
The internal rhyme:
“The pirates chased the birdie.” “They raced the birdie.” “Should we taste the birdie?”
And brilliantly fun lines…
“Crab?” Too cranky.”
“Well, shuck me an oyster and set sail for land…”
And my favorite…
“Shiver me Shih Tzus”
“I’ve been poop-decked,” he yelled.
This book is a fun read and great inspiration while writing and/or revising.
Thank you Beth!
This one’s for Lily…
We rescued you when you were two
and loved you all these years.
You bring us joy, but cancer brings
our never-ending tears.
I wake up and fear you won’t,
each and every day.
If I could, I promise you
I’d make it go away.
I can’t do that, but I can
make every day your best,
every day until the day,
you have eternal rest.
That’s my son in the middle, walking into high school. My son, now a young man. My no longer a little guy, my no longer a boy! My son, the freshman.
How did this happen? I could swear it was just yesterday that I walked him into school for his first day of kindergarten.
because time flies by…
As I sit wiping this trickle of tears,
looking back over the past fifteen years,
wondering where did the time with you go
I’m desperately wishing the next four are slow.
How did we get here? You’re now a young man.
I’m trying as hard as I possibly can,
to value each second, not worry and think
how fast it will go if I let myself blink!
It’s almost here…Kidlit Summer School starts soon. Isn’t this banner just adorable?
Sometimes I’ll read a picture book that really stands out to me. Above the normal expectations of having a fabulous story (with plot, and character devolvement, etc.), some picture books also have exceptional elements – maybe the humor (I love a funny picture book), a clever twist, overwhelming emotion that tugs on my heartstrings, language so lovely it sings, or an ending that brilliantly loops back to the beginning.
Which brings me to, Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner. This book is so full of poetic techniques and wonderful lines that I find myself reading it over and over and over again. It’s like a play date at a poetic playground! For me, this book is the mentor text to use for language.
Whether it be the alliteration,
“He saluted the silver-haired man…”
“He waved to the couple with the baby on the balcony.”
“My young ‘uns!” he called to the kids crowding the corner.”
“Unloading the garbage, not a single praline wrapper ever stayed on the streets. And those spotless streets, oh, how they sparkled.”
“He clapped the covers like cymbals and twirled the tins like tops.”
“People and pets, parks and playgrounds, washed away.
Schools and shops, streets and streetcars, washed away.”
“The barbers, bead twirlers and beignet bakers.”
Or the most genius of lines:
“A gumbo of mush and mud.”
And two of my favorites…
He dried his eyes.
For his spirit and will were
“They streamed into the Crescent City.
A flood of humanity.”
I could go on and on, but then I’d have the whole book retyped here and I’d ruin the magic that awaits you in Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner.
Susanna Leonard Hill’s first ever Valentiny Contest is here! The contest: write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is grumpy!
GRUMPY BEAR’S VALENTINE (198 words)
by Dawn Young
Mr. Bear did not sleep well; his pillow way too lumpy.
He had nightmares.
He woke up scared.
So Mr. Bear was grumpy!
And when he reached for honey, and then realized he was out,
his tummy growled,
he sneered and scowled,
he moaned and marched about.
He huffed and puffed, with cheeks bright red, he crawled back into bed,
to take a nap
then heard TAP, TAP
A sound that hurt his head.
He shouted “STOP!” and so it did, soon he began to snore,
but then a ring
a ding, ding, ding.
Who dared approach his door?
He stomped his feet and roared, “Who’s there?” The ground and gravel shook.
No voice was heard,
yet something stirred.
Intrigued, he took a look.
Laying there, outside his lair, with honey and a teddy bear…
a heart-shaped note,
that read, I quote,
“For you, because I care.”
His heart swelled up, he couldn’t speak, his chin fell to his chest,
He’d gotten mad,
and now felt bad,
he’d scorned his thoughtful guest.
Then tracking prints, he trailed them to a cave beside the pine,
he tip-toed in
and with a grin
he asked, “Will you be mine?”