Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Silly Children's Stories (#IWSG January 2017)


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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.

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Here's something that makes me insecure: sharing something absolutely ridiculous that I made.

Yesterday in my 2016 Year-End Review, I mentioned that I wrote a new kids book for my children and my nieces for Christmas. This is actually my second kids book, the first being a cautionary tale I wrote for my son a couple of years ago describing the dangers of consuming dirty water from the bathtub:

Spoiler alert: It turns you into a green-skinned alien.

My nieces (and many of my other relatives) seemed to enjoy it as well, so I whipped up another one this year. I took a different turn this time - because the ages of my kids and nieces range from 1 up to 10, there was no way I could write something that would appeal to all of them. Don't Drink the Bath Water is a picture book, but the older kids are getting into chapter books now, so I decided to go that way with the new one. I figured that the oldest kids would get it now and the younger ones would grow into it.

And now I'm sharing it with you, to embarrass and shame myself:


The story features all of my kids and nieces, as well as magic and goblins and unicorns and off-brand Pokemon. It's only about 3000 words long so I had to use big fonts to make it relatively book-sized (about 60 pages), and it is illustrated with my trademark crappy artwork. The tale is told from my daughter's point-of-view and is loosely based on our family trip this past summer, where we actually had all 9 kids together at one time. Of course, in real life no one got turned into turnips or rode dolphins, so I freely admit to taking some creative license with it.

The kids loved that they were each featured in the story, each with their own special power, and each got at least one illustration of themselves. For example:

Her next cousin was Taylor, an opthlalmage. Her magic revolved around fish. Talking to fish, summoning fish, riding fish, that sort of thing. At the moment she was being followed around by her favourite fish, a dolphin named Flipperius, whom she was teaching to breathe air and walk on his fins. Yes, it’s true that dolphins are not actually fish, but that made it all the easier to teach him to breathe. 
Let me tell you, it's really hard to write a 3000-word story with nine main characters and give them all distinct super powers, as well as something to do with the plot. By the time I got to my youngest niece all I could come up with for her was that she could explode.

Maisie shrugged and closed her eyes. 
She concentrated very hard.
Suddenly there was a loud pop, and then a much louder explosion and a rush of hot air. The entire castle was destroyed instantly, leaving the Cousins and the turnips standing in a big crater in the ground. Well, the cousins were standing, the turnips were just laying there.
“AWESOME!” They all said.
“I can definitely see the use for that,” said Lydia. “But not in this situation.”
The most fun to come out of the story (for me) is arguing with one of my nieces about Pokemon. In the story she's a Pokemon trainer, but I go to purposeful, exaggerated lengths to not actually call them Pokemon or use officially-licenced Pokemon terms. I even Googled "knock-off Pokemon" to find an off-brand one to use as her pet. Unfortunately, I accidentally used a picture of a real Pokemon as a base (there's like 700 of them, I don't have time to cross reference all of them), but just made it like 100-times bigger than it's supposed to be. 

So now she keeps getting mad at me for drawing Dedenne too big and calling it by the wrong name, while I insist that it's not Dedenne or even a Pokemon at all. It's very hard to explain parody and intellectual property to a 9-year old.

So anyway, that's my dirty little, insecure secret I'm sharing today: I write terrible children's books. I may share some more in the future - I've been instructed I now have to write more of them, and have at least 9 kids to answer to if I don't. Wish me luck.

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December IWSG Question: 
What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

Anything having to do with f*cking commas. I've heard a million contradictory rules and I still never use them properly. I just keep getting more and more confused. Now I'm stuck between either using Find and Replace to randomly insert them throughout the manuscript, or somehow find a way to write an entire book without using any.

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The secret catalogue of books by CD Gallant-King that you can't get on Amazon.
You can get these, though.

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