Thursday, June 17, 2021

Week Three—Week of Legends

Hello fellow Creatives! Welcome to Week Three of our ten-week Picture Book Challenge. 

Remember, as far as rules go, we’re keeping it simple:

1. Word count: 300-500 words.

2. Write only what the illustrator can’t illustrate. Allow room for their art (or yours if you’re illustrating your own stories) to bloom too.

3. Be kid friendly. Review Week 1 for a reminder of what that means.

Okay, so this week is similar to Week 2 in that we’re making a list of favorites. This week, though, we’re spreading our arms out a little broader and digging in a little deeper.

This week, we make a list of our favorite fairytales, legends, and songs. Here’s where we’re reaching broader, right? These foci span culture, time, and narrative style. And again, we’re digging deeper by figuring out why these different aspects of culture, time, and style are so meaningful to us. Why do these things go ping?

So, make your list of at least ten favorite fairytales, legends, and songs. Maybe circle the ones that come to mind first, without a lot of brain poking or research. The answers that just roll out sans thought.

If you want or need to research to get more ideas, definitely do. Project Gutenberg is a fantastic public domain resource. There are so many stories and songs out there that I forget I adore until I’m reminded of them, and then it’s like meeting old friends when I run into them again. Crane Wife! Teeny-Tiny Woman! Golden Goose! Little Talks! Happy gasps and small swoons for all.

Read or listen to them, if you can. Then read or listen to them again. Read or play them to others. Talk about them with friends and family, get their thoughts on these stories. Observe people’s reactions.

After you’ve gone through your favorite fairytales, legends, and songs multiple times, make notes of your favorite things in each. Things that make your heart squeeze, things that make you feel deeply, but also things you think could make the stories or songs better.

As with Week 2, your notes will reveal similarities across stories of your specific preferences. This is how you begin to understand what legends to embed into your own stories and why those themes or ideas are important for you to explore.

For example, three favorite fairytales that roll off the top of my head are Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.

Some similarities across the three stories include:

*A female character who’s put into a situation(s) that’s difficult to deal with—hard both physically as well as mentally/emotionally.

*Enchanted surroundings, or people/animals, who help the main character. She’s not alone, even though she may not understand the enchantment(s).

*Moments of simplicity, wherein the main character is able to feel safe or peace, even if the big problem of the story hasn’t been resolved yet.

Looking at these three shared threads, I ask myself, Do I feel deeply about these things?

Yes, I do.

Can I incorporate these three ideas into my next 300-500 word children’s story, then?

Yes, I can.

We can do this, right? Write. Create something legendary.

Go, write, win!


Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men


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