Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Boy Who Didn't Believe in Himself #StoryAdventCalendar

illustration by Robert Fyfe
The Boy Who Didn't Believe in Himself
by Rebecca Fyfe

When Connor's mommy thanked him for helping her take out the garbage and told him he was such a good boy, Connor shook his head.

"I'm not a good boy," he said.

When Connor's teacher praised the poem Connor wrote and told him he was a wonderful writer, Connor shook his head.

"I'm not good at writing," he said.

When Connor's Daddy praised him and called him "smart" because he could read books really fast, Connor shook his head.

"I'm not smart," he said.

Connor lacked confidence.

It was getting closer to Christmas, and Connor received a video message from Santa Claus. Santa Claus, in the video, told Connor that he needed to work on his confidence. Santa also told Connor that he was on the "nice" list.

"I'm not nice," Connor said, "I don't belong on the nice list."

That night, Connor had a dream. In his dream, Santa came to see him and talked to him about his confidence. Santa told Connor that he needed to stop himself whenever he found himself saying something negative about himself. If he heard the words about to come out of his mouth, he needed to stop them and change them into something positive. Instead of saying, "I'm not nice," Connor needed to change the words to say, "I am nice."

Santa promised him that, if he did this regularly, eventually, the positive words would help him change his thinking to be more positive too. It would help him learn to believe in himself. Connor didn't think anything would help, but he promised Santa Claus that he would try.

That morning, and every day leading up to Christmas, Connor would stop the negative words from coming out of his mouth, and instead, he'd only say positive things. He'd say things like, "I'm smart," "I'm nice, " I'm a good boy," and "I'm good at writing."

Eventually, Connor started to feel a change inside himself. He started to feel as though the words he was saying might actually be true. He started to feel good about himself, and most importantly, he started to believe in himself.

By the time Christmas came around, Connor realized that the dream-Santa's plan to help him gain confidence in himself had worked, and Connor looked forward to a very merry Christmas with his family, who he knew loved him - even on the days when he wasn't feeling very confident.

This story is part of the 2014 Story Advent Calendar, with stories written by a variety of authors.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas Eve 1978 by Sharon Giltrow #StoryAdventCalendar

Christmas Eve
by Sharon Giltrow

Peeking through the key hole of the old painted wooden door, Joy wondered what the door under all that paint looked like; was it a light wood or a dark wood? It seemed that her Dad painted the door a different colour every year. The door had so many layers it had become difficult to close. But it was only ever closed when one of her older siblings returned to the farm on holiday and she had to sleep on the fold out couch or like now to keep prying eyes out.

Tonight it was closed up tighter than a port hole on a submarine, leaving the perfectly formed key hole the only way to see into the lounge room. Where had the key gone? The thought flashed through Joy’s head as she stood on tip toes to see in. She could see a large present wrapped in red Christmas paper leaning up against the couch. “Could that be it?” she whispered to herself excitedly, “my new bike.”

Joy had been pestering her parents for a new bike all year, a new anything would be great. Being the youngest of eight children, the chances of ever getting anything new were slim. Luckily she loved old things, including her parents. But a new bike was what she wanted more than anything else in the whole world and it looked like Santa had brought it for her. 

Joy squealed with delight, which she quickly quashed; it was the middle of the night she didn't want to wake anyone up. She felt torn; a part of her wanted to turn the handle, creep into the room, and pull back one corner of the wrapping paper and peek inside. But she knew that would take away her parents delight at seeing her look of surprise on Christmas morning. 

With one last look, a big sigh and with her hand covering her mouth to hold back the escaping excitement Joy tip-toed carefully up the hall. She avoided the creaky floor boards. She crept silently past her brothers’ room. Past the antique hall furniture, including the rattly china cabinet, past the newly installed phone on the wall, past her parent’s room with her snoring father and trusting mother, until she finally reached her bedroom. 

Carefully climbing back into bed, she glanced at her older sister and pulled the covers over her head.  Hugged herself tightly and with the biggest smile ever creeping over her face she fell into a deep sleep, filled with dreams of riding her bike on Christmas day.


This story is part of the 2014 Story Advent Calendar, with stories written by a variety of authors.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Dasher Does a Dash by Kristen Schroeder #StoryAdventCalndar

Dasher Does a Dash 

by Kristen Schroeder
Rudolph had a problem.
"Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!" Santa cried.
Unfortunately, one reindeer had taken Santa's words too much to heart. Dasher had done a dash and left an empty harness behind.
They had nearly finished delivering presents to all the Australian boys and girls and were headed to Indonesia next.  Dasher could have "dashed" anywhere between Perth, where Santa last did reindeer roll call, and Darwin.
Rudolph remembered that Dasher had been a bit down in the dumps lately, talking about retirement and leaving the North Pole for someplace warmer.  Had Dasher seized his chance on Christmas Eve?
As captain of the reindeer team, Rudolph was in a pickle. Sure, they could fly without Dasher and still make it around the world if everydeer put in a big effort, but there was the Reindeer Code to consider.  
"Santa! We're going to have to turn this sleigh around," Rudolph called.
Santa obliged with a knowing nod and a wink. There was nothing Santa didn't know.
The team did a 180-degree turn at breakneck speed and swooped toward the coast.  A lovely full moon lit the balmy, summery night.  The reindeer, and Santa, were panting and sweating from the heat.
Rudolph turned his nose up to full power, and using it as a searchlight, the team began checking each and every beach along the coast of Western Australia for their wayward friend. 
"Over there!" shouted Prancer, and they all saw Dasher at once. They flew towards him swiftly and saw his body twisted on the beach in an awkward position.
"Dasher!" Rudolph shouted, his voice full of concern. 
"What happened?" he asked.
Dasher turned his head to look up at his friends.
"It's bloody hot," he said.  His fur glistened with sweat.
"This lying on the beach ain't all it's cracked up to be," he added.
Rudolph just shook his head, relieved.
"Up you get, Dash, we've got a big night ahead of us," he said.
"Why'd you come back for me?" Dasher asked.
"No deer left behind," Rudolph said, quoting the Reindeer Code.


This story is part of the 2014 Story Advent Calendar, with stories written by a variety of authors.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Boomer's First White Christmas by Sharon Giltrow #StoryAdventCalendar

Boomer’s First White Christmas
By Sharon Giltrow

G’day!  My name’s Boomer and I am a grey kangaroo – one of only six living in the New York City zoo. We are part of the Australian Animal exhibition and we flew thousands of kilometres to get here on the flying kangaroo. No, not a real flying kangaroo – that’s what we Aussies call Qantas our Australian airline. We kangaroos can’t fly but boy can we bound.  You see this tail, and these back legs? They are strong and perfect for bounding, and that’s just what we do.

We bound from one tree to another, stopping for a nose wiggle and a nibble on some grass.  And can you believe it? – The people here love it. Some of them watch us for hours, and we don’t really do anything exciting. I feel bad for them; we really aren’t that interesting. I would be watching the penguins – those guys sure know how to entertain.

Anyway, I like it here in New York City. It’s exciting, always something happening, and they have these lovely trees. When we first arrived, the leaves were a deep green, and then they turned all shades of golden. Much more interesting than plain old gum trees like we have back home.

It is a little bit cold here, and it has been getting colder. The mob, that’s what we call ourselves, have been spending more time amongst the rocks and we’re all a bit sleepier; not our usual bounding, booming selves. 
And now all the leaves have fallen off. There’s piles of them everywhere. At first, it was fun. We would lay down and make leaf angels and jump right into the middle of the pile, but now it’s getting a bit eerie. None of the other animals seem to mind though, but come to think of it, I haven’t see old Reginald the Rhino out and about in a while, and, Barry the Bear, I haven’t seen him in days. And the ducks are gone – they just up and flew away a couple of days ago. On no! What’s happening? I’m starting to panic. It’s too quiet. 

Calm down, Boomer old mate. You’re a kangaroo of the world; it’s just different here. Wait! What’s that floating down? It looks like a butterfly. It’s so pretty and so white. Oh, it’s landing on me. Oh, its cold – it’s sticking to my fur. Oh, here comes some more. It’s so beautiful. What is it? I’ll ask Ma.  

“Ma, Ma come look at this. It’s some kind of white dust.”

“Oh darling, don’t you know what that is? It’s snow! It’s Christmas, and, in New York City, it snows at Christmas.”

“Really? Snow at Christmastime? Ma, I’m scared. What if we freeze?”

“Boomer, it will be okay. The people will look after us. Come on, Boomer, let’s go find somewhere warm.”


This story is part of the 2014 Story Advent Calendar, with stories written by a variety of authors.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

2014 Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop

If you join the blog hop and add a story to the advent calendar, please feel free to use this picture on your post, if you need a picture.

So, here in the UK, it's a tradition to get your children an advent calender so that each day, from the first of December through Christmas, they can open the prize for that day. Most of the advent calendars are chocolate ones, with a differently-shaped chocolate for each day, but some advent calendars are more adventurous.

Last year, Melusine Muse Press published an anthology of short holiday stories a little bit before Christmas, called Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World." There will be no holiday anthology this year. However, instead of chocolate advent calendars, which only help our children's teeth to rot, we are going to provide kids with a story advent calendar this year.

A bunch of authors are getting together to write stories, a short story for each day of the advent calendar. This means that for your children's advent calendar surprise, they can have something truly wonderful - a completely new story, read to them by you.

Authors can write more than one story. We need 25 stories. When we reach 25 stories, we will be done.

If you are writing a story for the Story Advent Calendar, you will need to post the story to your blog and then link the blog post (the specific post - NOT just the blog itself) to the link-up. You should also copy and paste the "linky" script into your blog at the end of your post so that people can follow on and find the other stories in the calendar.

If you do not have a blog, you may e-mail the story to me, along with your name and the title of the story and I will post it into either this blog or one of my other blogs and link it up for you. (I can be e-mailed at Rebecca (at) Fyfe (dot) net.)

Limit your story's word count to between 300 and 1,000 words.

We will be writing fairy tales. If you want to write holiday-themed fairy tales or non-holiday-themed fairy tales, the choice is yours.

Add the link to your post.

Aim your stories at kids aged 6 to 13.

Have fun with it!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

"Little Dead Riding Hood" by Amie and Bethanie Borst

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for having us here. *Waves!* We're still on cloud nine after all the excitement of our release of LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD yesterday.

You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites! Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day. Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?

Add Little Dead Riding Hood to your Goodreads to-read list here Purchase LDRH at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite Indie bookstore!


Today we'd like to tell you a bit about our plotting process. It's really not unlike the process most authors use. At least I don't think so. The only exception is that there are two of us tackling the project, not just one.
Plotting for us entails the use of:
  • Markers
  • Posterboard
  • Scissors
  • Post-it notes in multiple colors
Then we complete the following steps:
  1. The first thing we do is we create an arc on our posterboard, kind of like an upside "U", to symbolically represent the story arc. We then label the top of the posterboard with the working title of the book.
  2. Next, we create a key with our post-it notes across the bottom of the posterboard. The categories are typically, MC (main character), World Building, Plot, Theme, and Inciting Incident, to name a few.
  3. We cut our post it notes in half, and while maintaining our color scheme to match our key, begin to fill out the strips of post-it notes. So, for example, if I'm using pink notes to represent the MC, I will write all my notes about the MC on pink strips of post-it notes. We will include anything and everything about our MC, from her favorite color, to her favorite food, to her worst moment, her fears, and her motivations. This helps us as we plot even more of the story because we can refer back to those notes.
  4. After we've filled out as much information as we can, we put our notes on our posterboard/storyboard.
  5. We continue to do this for every category until our posterboard somewhat resembles the vomit of a my little pony. Hey, no one ever said plotting was pretty!
Once plotting is complete, the real work begins. Writing!
About us:
Amie Borst is a PAL member of SCBWI. She believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate. 
Bethanie Borst is a spunky 14 year old who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life. She was only 9 when she came up with the idea for Cinderskella!
Little Dead Riding Hood is their second book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series. Their first book, Cinderskella, released in October 2013.
You can find them on facebook. Amie can be found on twitter, pinterest, and her blog 

We're having two great giveaways as part of our blog tour! The first is for a copy of LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD! So be sure to enter the giveaway by following the steps on the rafflecopter form below. 
THEN - as soon as you finish that, be sure to stop by my blog for a second contest! I'm having a SCAVENGER HUNT that you won't want to miss with lots of extra great prizes! All you have to do is make sure you enter the contest below first, then hop over to my blog and fill out the rafflecopter form there! Super easy!
See you soon! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Note: It's been great having Amie share a bit about her and Bethany's writing process for "Little Dead Riding Hood."  I will be reviewing the book as soon as I find a bit of that ever-elusive spare time, and, once I've posted my review over on Amazon and Goodreads, I will tack it on to this post as well, so check back in a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Final Day and some prize winner announcements! #ChaBooChaLite

Today is the last day of ChaBooCha Lite! How have you done? Did you get your story written? Did you end up writing something completely different than you started out writing, or did you have an outline and stick to it?

Even if all you did was write 500 words more this month than you would have without the challenge, or even if you wrote nothing but learned a lot and gained ideas for when you do start writing, that counts as a personal win. The main point of these challenges is to get you to do more and learn more and gain more momentum towards your goal of writing that story.

I hope you have enjoyed this Lite challenge and have learned a thing or two to take you into the next story you start to write.

Now, we have some prize winners to announce!


The person who won his or her choice of an inspirational magnet from this section of my shop (the magnet pictured above is just one example) is:

Mary T. Kincaid

Congratulations, Mary! E-mail me with the address where you would like it sent. Be sure to look at all of the inspirational magnets and choose which one you like (they all have a number or you can save the link).


The winner of the handmade fairy charm bookmark is:

Nancy Kotkin

Congratulations, Nancy! E-mail me with the address where you would like it sent.


The winner of the cat-themed charm bookmark is:


Congratulations, McMarshall! E-mail me with the address where you would like it sent.


One person has won a custom fairy creation using their own photo The winner is:


Congratulations, Ashley! Instructions on how to take the photo for me to use will be sent to you. The fairy photo manipulation can be of you, your child, you and your child or even of more than one child, if they are in the photo together

Congratulations to all of the prize winners and to everyone who reached a personal goal this month!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Crafting appealing cover art - guest post by Julia Stilchen #ChaBooChaLite

Cover Design for "SuperHERo Tales" created by Julia Stilchen
Crafting Appealing Cover Art for your Chapter Book

The book cover designing process can be exciting and an easy process if you understand what to look for and plan out the concept.

Before you get started, it is best that you have done your research and have defined your target audience and age range. There are generally two types of chapter books: early readers (6-8 years) and older chapter books (7-9 years).

Chapter book covers are often depicted with a main character especially if it is a character driven series. 

Things you should consider for a concept:

  • Think about what message you want to portray with the main character. The message needs to stay consistent with the main theme of the story.
  • Does the typography of the title match with the theme? Is it legible? Script fonts are to be avoided in most situations because they can get lost or they just don’t have much readability as a clean and bold type would.
  • Are you using elements that are also consistent with the theme?
  • Choice of color palette - colorful, dark and mysterious, etc.
  • The layout and composition. Do not depict characters standing idle in a stick position. Have them in the middle of an action. This is far more engaging and appears more natural. Keep in mind things like spacing and contrast, so that both the title and the cover art stand-out but do not conflict with the other.
  • Genre/tone. If your book has a lot of humor, then showing the main character in a humorous moment is ideal and consistent to the tone of the book. Same goes with other genres.
  • Visual metaphors that evoke an emotion or intrigue in the viewer.
  • Think about the type of art style you want to use. If your book has comic book elements, the cover art style should have that also.

A book cover should be attention grabbing. Its goal is to generate interest. It is a marketing tool. You want kids to stop and beg their parents to buy your book, and the cover is the first thing the viewer will see. First impressions are important to gain interest and help increase sales.

With the amount of books published today, you want to put forth the best design possible. So a cut and paste design really doesn't stand up against its competitors especially if they are professionally designed.

Research and study other chapter book covers. What appeals to you most likely has appeal to kids too. Observe products that are sold in stores, packaged for children. Having a graphic design background, it helped me to understand the emotion behind a design. Does it evoke intrigue? Excitement? Humor? Adventure?

Design several concepts as rough drafts. Compare and choose one that contains the best potential while keeping the above elements in mind. But keep things simple. Do not overload the cover with unnecessary clutter, or else the typography and visual message you are portraying will get lost. The saying “Less is More” holds a lot of truth. Kids these days have shorter attention spans, so narrow the art down to focus the theme/message of the story without it being overwhelming to view it.

Have fun with it, and the more you practice, the more familiar the entire process becomes in designing appealing book covers!


Julia Stilchen loves writing stories for all ages. She works from her bat cave, mischievously plotting mishaps for her characters as they embark on fantastical adventures in otherworldly places to confront dangerous and daunting villains! Muhahahah! When she is not plotting or daydreaming, she spends time with her husband and two children where they create adventures of their own. She created the book cover for "SupeHero Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories" and also puts together wonderful book trailers. To learn more and see current developments, visit online at http://www.juliastilchen.com.


Alas, there are no more prizes to offer this month, but I hope you will leave a comment anyway. 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

On Procrastination - guest post by Cecilia Clark (plus a giveaway!) #ChaBooChaLite

I was going to write about procrastination but I put it off until

Over the years I have worked in a number of different fields. I have worked in hospitality, disability care, foster care, teaching and education support, farming and many volunteer positions.

 In each job, whether it was paid or voluntary, there was always a set starting time and finish time. In some of my jobs there had been clear break times such as lunch and morning tea. The expectation is that I would start a few minutes before the official log on time and be willing to stay late if the job required it. I attended meetings regularly and professional development training on a regular basis to improve and upgrade my skills.

I would have set tasks to complete in set times and have performance reviews.

 As a chef I would start an hour before the opening time to prepare foods before the customers started arriving. Peeling, chopping and storing. Making garnishes, inspecting deliveries, filling out paperwork and a hundred other tasks that would make the evening run smoothly. Every job has its process.

When I decided that my writing was to become my new career I had to shift my thinking from hobby to work. I have always written but I have never looked at it like it was a job. A poem here, a letter there, a story outline or two or forty, I even studied writing and editing part time over six or eight years and always wished I could become a full time writer. It stayed a vague dream with no solid substance behind it.

So early in 2013 I made that solid decision. I looked for opportunities to send my writing into the world but I had a whole tool box of procrastination practices to overcome. The extra cuppa, elevenses, second breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea, high tea, a phone call, reading that magazine, helping the neighbour, answering the door, going for a coffee at the café with a friend, in fact anything that could distract me did distract me.

 I was still working in a set time job and writing in the evenings but as I drove home one day I realized I was still treating my writing as a hobby and a pie in the sky dream. Something had to change if I had any hope of making my writing a career. I joined writing and art organisations and challenges and began to meet writers and artists but there was another big step I had to take.
Daily practice.

I began to write 500 words a day and then in April I wrote 57000 words in the month which is 1900 words a day and by November of the same year in which I wrote 104000 words, I was writing 3467 words a day.

To beat procrastination I had to learn the following things:

  • Writing/Art is the job. Treat it like a job. A fabulous creative wonderful job but a job nonetheless. Set hours, regular work practices, evaluation and training.
  • WRITE every day, MAKE ART every day. 
  • Say NO – practice this in the mirror and then on family, then friends, then everyone. NO
  • WRITE every day, MAKE ART every day. 
  • Find a space away from the kitchen and TV and make it a work place. Emphasis on the word WORK. Go there daily and lock the world out.
  • Tell people you are a writer NOT I am a babysitter and I write too, NOT I am a chef but I write occasionally. People will respond to how you describe yourself. Practice saying I AM A WRITER or I AM AN ARTIST.(or both)
  • WRITE every day, MAKE ART every day. 
  • Stop making excuses*
  • WRITE every day, MAKE ART every day. On the margin of your school book, on a serviette at work, on the pizza box, JUST do it. Five minutes a day if that is all the time you have.Tell people I AM A WRITER but I have to work in a day job until my first contract. I AM AN ARTIST but I have to pay the rent working in real estate until my exhibition. The day job needs to be your secondary income generator. Your creativity is your first love.
  • Stop giving myself a hard time. If I miss a day then I start again the next day.
  • CREATE every day.
  • Stay focussed on the goal, don’t give up, surround yourself with people who encourage not discourage and create every day.

*I made a LOT of excuses. I had a bad childhood(I sure did and it will make a gruelling read when I write it), I had cancer (four lots of surgery with a flat line and then waking up mid cutting and then BP crash and and I recovered and they got it all and it will make an interesting tale when I write it), I had a car crash (three), I had a dying child (several times) I had no money (I am not yet JKR), no one will really want my stories or art (Yes they do), who do I think I am (I am a writer/artist), I am a single mum (and doing an awesome job of it), I have to rush my sick child to hospital (where I sat for five hours twiddling my thumbs while the professionals did their job so why did I not write about the experience and my feelings?) I am fat (getting fitter), I am ugly (shut up- I am becoming my own best friend), I am stupid (oh no I am not), I am disorganised (get a book on how to change this) I have no time (I quit the day job)… and so many more.

Successful people do not make excuses. Successful people look at the difficulties in their life and they PROBLEM SOLVE.

Since February 2013, I now have stories and art in more than 30 anthologies. I have written two complete novels. I have art work in two other writers’ stories and I am being approached by people who have seen my art.

If you really want it, you will make it happen. When the time is right for you, you will embrace your inner creative and turn it into your career.

I am a writer. I am an artist. I am successful.


Cecilia Clark is an Australian writer. Her short stories and flash fiction feature in a number of anthologies and e-zines. She lives on the south west coast of Victoria in the lovely seaside town of Warrnambool. You can find her on her website at http://ceciliaaclark.blogspot.com.au. She contributed an illustration to this anthology.



One person who comments on this post (and is signed up for the challenge) will win a custom fairy creation using their photo (instructions on how to take the photo for my use will be sent to the winner). The fairy photo manipulation can be of you, your child, you and your child or even of more than one child, if they are in the photo together.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Just Keep Writing - guest post by Dani Duck (plus give-away) #ChaBooChaLite



I've been wracking my brain for days now trying to figure out what to write about. It has to be something amazing and wonderful at this point. Some guru advice that you'll take to heart. At this point I'll be happy if one of you remember this post. Instead of big sage advice I'm going to tell you here what I tell everyone: Just keep writing!

When you do an event like ChaBooCha it's easy to become overwhelmed. There is so much to write and so little time to write! It's not just that you want a certain number of words on the page, but you want to have a complete first draft. It doesn't have to be perfect but you probably want to have a beginning, a middle, and (here's the shocker) an end to your story! And somehow through it all it has to make sense. I'll say yes, you do want a beginning, middle and end. As for the sense, we'll leave that for later.

Your only goal this month is to put your story down on paper. You need to open your story, have a climax and then get the heck out of dodge as fast as your legs can carry you. This is not the time to edit your story!

Here's some non-editing questions no one asked me, but I'm going to answer anyway:

“But what about spelling errors?” No! Let them be. If you called Frieda, Fred by mistake write it down on the notepad beside you (chances are you will make the mistake again) and keep writing. Also, shame on you for forgetting her name!

“What about plot holes?” If you can fix them later in the story or if you can write more to fix them then do so. Otherwise leave them for the cleanup crew (ie: you, when you edit the work).

“But ____ isn't perfect.” It's called a first draft for a reason, people! You have a month to finish this draft, so you don't have time to make it perfect.

“None of this makes sense!” The mind has an amazing way of sorting things out. If you think that things aren't making sense, first go to the doctor and see if something's wrong there. Otherwise, just let your story be a bit nonsensical. Your unconscious mind probably knows what it's doing, so worry about that in editing (or not. I love nonsense!)

“I've written enough words to finish the story. I'm all done for the month!” Get your tush back in front of the screen, fluffy, and keep writing. When you edit your story it will be far too short. Keep writing until your fingers crack and bleed or the end of the month comes (you know whatever comes first). If it's the bleeding thing, then bandage your fingers and get back to writing!

And that's all I can say about that.


Dani Duck has been writing for more years than humanly possible. Her current feat is living through her 3.5 year old's reign of terror. She lives somewhere southish of Vancouver. Dani has also been married longer than she has been born, so tough luck to you! Website: http://www.daniduck.com/ Blog: www.daniduckart.com



I have made another charm bookmark (cat-themed) and one person who's is signed up for the challenge and comments on this post will be chosen by a random number generator to win it! The winner will be announced on September 30th, 2014.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Writing Snippets - Guest post by Melissa Gijsbers (plus a giveaway)! #ChaBooChaLite

My 10 year old son is a budding composer. He loves how different notes sound on the piano and putting them together to make a piece of music. He has an amazing ability to tell a story using music.

A couple of months ago, I sat and watched him with his piano teacher as they told the story of a train leaving the platform and a man who missed that train because he was caught in the toilet!

Most recently, he’s been playing around with Garage Band, an app on my iPad that helps with composing music. Right now, he’s working on a piece about feeling sick and recording snippets of music he plays on the piano ready to mix later. Often, he’ll hear them back and think they’re rubbish, but his piano teacher told him to never delete them. You never know when they’ll be perfect to put into a composition.

What does this have to do with writing chapter books? I hear you ask. Hang in there, it will become clear.

I find that there are some days I sit down to write and will write a snippet of a story. It may be a scene, or a paragraph or a single line. Sometimes I look at this snippet and think it’s rubbish and should be thrown away, but I keep it.

I’ve found that every now and again, I’ll stumble on that snippet and find it’s the basis for a story or will fit perfectly into something I’m already writing. That character name I jotted down on the back of a receipt while I was driving might be the perfect name for my next villain, or the paragraph I wrote as part of an exercise at writers group might be the perfect opening to a new story. That silly line I wrote while waiting to pick up kids from after school activities might even fit to help me get over a major bout of writer’s block.

Believe it or not, a snippet written while waiting for school pick-up formed the basis of Swallow Me, NOW! the manuscript I wrote during the March 2013 Chapter Book Challenge and is now due for release next month.

Hold on to those snippets of writing, just as my son holds on to his snippets of composition. You never know when they may be just the line of text you are looking for.

Melissa Gijsbers is an Australian author and blogger. She has had flash fiction stories feature in a number of anthologies and her first children’s book, Swallow Me, NOW! is due for release in October 2014. When she’s not writing or coming up with ideas for stories, she’s running around after two active boys and working in the family business. You can find her online at MelissaGijsbers.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/melissagijsbers.

LINK: Swallow Me, NOW!   


One person who comments on this post (and is signed-up for the challenge) will win a handmade charm bookmark made by me (Becky). Winner will be selected by a random number generator and announced on September 30th, 2014.