STORYSTORM 2018 Update

 

In case you forgot, STORYSTORM, founded by Tara Lazar is taking place this month. In the past, I’ve posted my ideas here. I’m trying something different this year and simply keeping a spreadsheet of my ideas and posting updates at the blog.

Today makes 12 days that we are into this annual event. Believe it or not, I’ve managed to come up with 12 ideas already. I’m struggling, because tired brains don’t think well. Some of the ideas I will probably end up tossing when I get around to reviewing them. The nice thing is that each day a different guest blogger is featured at Tara’s blog to give us a healthy dose of inspiration.

Are you participating in STORYSTORM? Any other events you plan to participate in this year?

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STORYSTORM 2018 Update

 

In case you forgot, STORYSTORM, founded by Tara Lazar is taking place this month. In the past, I’ve posted my ideas here. I’m trying something different this year and simply keeping a spreadsheet of my ideas and posting updates at the blog.

We are six days into STORYSTORM and I have six ideas on the spreadsheet–all mysteries of one kind or another. I’m excited about this annual event because it has given me countless ideas and led to a published book. one under contract, and one I am going to be querying agents with. I also have several picture books finished or in the editing stage. Here’s hoping I can keep up this pace and stay on track.

Are you participating this year? If so, how’s it going so far?

STORYSTORM 2018 is Coming!

Tara Lazar’s STORYSTORM 2018 will start tomorrow! Thanks to this annual event (formerly known as Picture Book Idea Month), I have come up with numerous story ideas over the last few years, including one that became my third published book, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and also Amos Faces His Bully, which will be released by Guardian Angel Publishing in 2018. The children’s story I recently wrote at writing group also came about thanks to this challenge.
Any writer interested in brainstorming new story ideas in January is invited to join. Any genre, any style; student, amateur, hobbyist, aspiring author or professional.

How does STORYSTORM work? It’s simple…

  • Register at Tara’s blog by signing your name ONCE in the comments on the registration post. Registering makes you eligible for prizes.
  • Visit her blog daily (taralazar.com) in January for inspirational essays by guest bloggers—professional authors, illustrators and experts in creativity.
  • Instead of visiting the blog directly, you can receive the daily posts via email by clicking the “Follow Tara’s Blog” button in the left column—look under her photo for it.
  • After you have read the daily inspiration, jot down a daily story idea in a journal (the annual CafePress journal will be linked when ready), computer, anywhere you like to write. Some days you might have no ideas, but some days you might have five or more.
  • At the end of January, if you have at least 30 ideas, sign the STORYSTORM pledge she posts and qualify for prizes.
  • Prizes include professional consults, signed books, original art, writerly gadgets and gizmos.

In previous years, I’ve posted my ideas here on my blog. This year I’ll track them on my computer and give a weekly update on my progress.

Good luck to all participants!

Challenges Can Be Good by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Here’s a little article I wrote as a Picture Book Idea Month (now STORYSTORM) success story.

Challenges Can Be Good

I don’t like NaNoWriMo. There. I said it. National Novel Writing Month is not for me. It did, however, lead me to the perfect challenges.

Discouraged after failing NaNoWriMo—miserably—twice, I came to the realization that the stress of cranking out 50,000 words during one of the busiest months of the year sours me on writing. It’s as torturous as dragging sandpaper across your sunburned belly.

In October 2010, many of my writing friends were brainstorming over their upcoming NaNoWriMo projects. Feeling left out, I decided to explore other options. That’s how I stumbled upon Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Creating 30 picture book ideas over the 30 days of November seemed daunting, but I gave it a shot and I made it. Now, what was I going to do with those 30 ideas?

Thankfully, there is National Picture Book Writing Week (NaPiBoWriWee), an annual event the first week of May where you endeavor to write 7 picture books in 7 days. When I participated in May 2011, I developed an idea from PiBoIdMo that would become my third published book, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving (Guardian Angel Publishing, Nov 2016).

Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving shows ten-year-old Macy using quick thinking and ingenuity to save dinner when the dog swipes the turkey off the table. Without PiBoIdMo, this book may never have existed. It’s not the warm, message-driven story that I usually write. There is a set of fighting twins, a frazzled mom, and a turkey-stealing dog. Not so sweet. Pushing my boundaries to win this challenge allowed me to explore a fun and zany side I don’t often indulge.

Satisfied with my first dabble into PiBoIdMo, I participated again in 2012. Guardian Angel Publishing has Amos Faces His Bully under contract. This story was my first idea for PiBoIdMo in 2012. I can’t wait to see it published.

Just like you need to find a good writing spot and develop a writing routine, finding the right challenge for you can lead to greater success. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself. The rewards can be great.

 

 

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, and Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com

Final Day of STORYSTORM

storystorm

STORYSTORM comes to an end today. Wow! Hard to believe how quickly 30 days goes by. I’ve enjoyed it and will really enjoy further contemplating some of these story ideas and fleshing them out. Here are the final three I have to offer:

Idea 28: I would like to write a short biography about Belle Reynolds who was a nurse during the Civil War. She was born in Shelburne Falls, MA and moved to Iowa with her family before she married a man from Illinois in 1860. She became a daughter of the Seventeenth Illinois Infantry and was honored for her actions at the Battle of Shiloh.

Idea 29: I would also like to write a short biography of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who left home to escape an arranged marriage and became Franklin Thompson, eventually enlisting in the Union army. After the war, she married and settled in Texas. In 1897, she was mustered in Houston to the George B. McClellan Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, which was a “Civil War veterans’ organization committed to preserving the memory of Union solider sacrifice.” She was the only woman ever to be thus honored.

Idea 30: I would like to re-imagine the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Make her a more modern girl–maybe with a red hoodie–and have her outwit the wolf on her own.

That’s it for this year’s STORYSTORM. I hope you’ll be kind enough to share your feedback on some of these ideas.

STORYSTORM IDEAS 16 – 27

storystorm

Who knew January would be so hectic? This time of year real estate is relatively slow, but I haven’t had much down time to participate in STORYSTORM this month. The health issues plaguing my father-in-law certainly haven’t helped. We almost lost him last week, but he finally seems on the mend. So where does that leave us? With 12 story ideas to come up with as of today. Here it goes….

Idea 16: How about a story of a young girl who cherishes the memory of her grandfather by planting a memorial garden in her back yard?

Idea 17: There is a story idea I’m tossing around about a wife who attempts to murder her husband and then takes off to Mexico with her new boyfriend. The husband recovers with a sketchy memory of what unfolded, but when he figures it out he goes down to Mexico to confront her.

Idea 18: The first full-length novel I wrote was women’s fiction and it centered around three sisters. I would like to write a prequel to that story that unfolds during their childhood: maybe when they are tweens or teens.

Idea 19: Have you ever read anything by Michaela MacColl? She writes historical fiction that centers around the childhoods of famous people like Queen Victoria, Louisa May Alcott, and Emily Dickinson. I’m up to writing something similar. Maybe Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Susan B. Anthony.

Idea 20: What if there was a little boy who saw Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery (Genesis 37)? What if his family didn’t believe him when he told what he saw, but as an adult he met Joseph again?

Idea 21: How about a child who witnesses Pentecost and how it transforms his life and that of his family? (Acts 2)

Idea 22: The story of Jonah and the whale has been told often, but I don’t know that it’s been told from the whale’s point of view.

Idea 23: I wonder what a child would have thought when Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 like we are told in the Gospel of Matthew.

Idea 24: Mercy Street is a Civil War era drama on PBS. Inspired by real people and events, it digs into the lives of those who work and visit the Mansion House Hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia. To fictionalize the lives of the Green daughters of Mansion House would be so interesting if you started with a year or two before the war and then continued into wartime.

Idea 25: Though this idea has been done before, it remains important: a tween in a small town is the victim of extreme bullying online and in person. She eventually commits suicide and the town residents–especially young folks–are left with the challenge of whether to stay the same or change how they treat each other.

Idea 26: I’m ready for another Christmas story too. Not sure what yet. Maybe an animal story that takes place in the forest where all the animals talk and something special happens.

Idea 27: Last one for today: how about a young string orchestra that is due to play a special event but obstacles get in their way: traffic, a flat tire, etc.?