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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, friends, this week we’re taking the notes and the lists and the conversations we’ve had, all the digging we’ve done over the past few weeks, and we’re putting our findings to a different kind of work.
We’ve spread our arms wide to figure out why these books and stories are meaningful to us, generally. Now we narrow our investigation to the individual, specifically. To the me, and to the you, to our hearts.
Who are you? As a person, as a title, as a number in a crowd? And what experiences in your life, your culture, your surroundings have impacted who you were when you were two vs. when you were ten vs. who you are now?
How do these things affect the way you feel and interface with the narratives you’ve studied the past few weeks, and hopefully created as well?
These are big questions. Maybe it’s easier to ask the little questions, then over time answers to the big questions manifest more clearly.
Little questions, such as:
“Do you believe in soulmates and why, even if the answer is ‘no’?”
“If you have a nickname, what is it and how did you get it?”
“Which do you prefer, soy milk, cow milk, or some other kind?”
From broad wonderings to minute details, any query will do. Where do we find a lot of random yet potentially enlightening questions for ourselves? Put into your favorite search engine something like, ‘conversation starters,’ or ‘character prompts,’ etc. What are some questions you’d ask your favorite famous person, then ask yourself instead.
Here are a couple Q&A’s from Kicking Corners to get your brain rhythms flowing, if you need:
Create an ongoing list of questions for yourself. As you consider your answers, take cue from our Week of Wonder and tap into your inner child. Remember: new, strong emotions, and empowering.
In what ways can you look at the questions from new angles? How can you incorporate smells, textures, sounds to make your answers feel more visceral? More real to you?
In what ways do the questions shake up your strong emotions? If they don’t, can you consider the questions in different ways so they do?
How does answering these questions empower you? If your answers don’t feel empowering at first, or this seems unclear, sit with the idea a little longer. Do you recognize change in yourself that’s been positive? Perhaps you haven’t changed, but rather you’ve become stronger in your resolutions.
Your findings through doing these exercises will be pure gold fodder, my friends. The stories you remember could be stories you want to retell. Maybe you see a series of patterns or events that connect in your answers to build a bigger story. Or maybe you understand now why a certain legend is so important to you and you want to create that connection for little readers.
Whatever you find, and whatever you decide, write it all down. Then write your story.
We can do this. 300 words from your heart.
Go, write, win!