Category Archives: #amrevising

Ort: A Perfect Mouseful

[dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster Learner’s Word of the Day selections; photo credit-Merriam-Webster Learner’s Word of the Day]

ort – noun

[awrt]

  1.   Usually, orts. a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

 

mischievous – adjective

[mis-chuh-vuh s]

  1.   causing or tending to cause annoyance or minor harm or damage

2.   showing a playful desire to cause trouble

      3.   intended to harm someone or someone’s reputation

 

Cat was angry at Mouse. Mouse was laughing at Cat because Mouse had just won his third game against Cat. Cat slunk off to figure out how to beat Mouse at Mouse’s games.

I have to slow down Mouse or trip him up somehow, Cat thought. Visions of glue, tape and food danced in his head. With the glue, Mouse was begging for help reaching out to be pulled from the glob of glue gumming up his paws. Cat shuddered at the thought. No glue.

Tape took over, tacking Mouse to it who was desperately trying to escape. Tape won’t work either. I don’t want to hurt my friend. 

While Cat was contemplating his next move, Mouse was mulling over how to help Cat win a game. A mischievous idea formed quickly.

Mouse made a maze in the middle of the yard. To help Cat win, he made Cat smiley faces on each turn leading the way out. Whoever got to the end of the maze first would win.

Tap, tap, tap.

Cat whirled around, surprised to see Mouse.

“I don’t want to play anymore of your games. I think we should play one of mine,” Cat said.

“Sure, but can we play one of yours after this last game of mine? I worked really hard at creating it,” Mouse said.

Cat’s whiskers twitched. “What’s the game?”

“I built a maze in the yard. Whoever gets to the end first wins and can choose the next three games to play.”

Cat shook his head. “Since you made the maze, you know how to go through it. That’s not fair.”

Mouse sighed. “You have a point, Cat. I will wear a blindfold to even us out.”

Cat thought about this. “We should each choose a winning treat for the other to place at the end of the maze. Whoever makes it through the maze and finishes their treat first, wins.”

“Deal.”

Together they scoured the house for the perfect treat.

Mouse found part of a tuna sandwich and carried it out.

Cat scoured the kitchen but there were no orts about, not even one crumb. All he could find was a small pink glob under the table. It was a little big for Mouse to eat but Cat planned on winning.

Treats in place, Cat and Mouse took their spots at the beginning of the maze. Cat was haunched in start position while Mouse was blindfolded and ready to go.

“Go!” Cat shouted.

Cat darted away turning this way that, into a dead end. “Drat!” He looked for Mouse. No Mouse around. He listened for Mouse. He could hear scurrying ahead of him.

Mouse twitched his nose letting him guide him to the end. He bumped into wall after wall but the strawberry smell was getting stronger.

Cat turned right, then followed straight. He turned left and left again into another dead end. He sat down and pouted. Doggone Mouse! He’s going to win. As a tear rolled into his whiskers, he noticed a smiley cat picture on the opposite wall. Oh sure, rub it in Mouse! 

Cat ran to the picture and scratched it out. He sulked through the maze scratching out each Cat Smiley he found. He was so busy looking for these smiling Cats, he didn’t realize what he had done.

I. Smell. Tuna! Cat’s nose twitched and his tail swished. He followed his nose right to the end of the maze. Mouse was already there, chewing and chewing.

Cat’s ears drooped. Mouse had won again.

“You won Mouse. But I’m going to enjoy this sandwich anyways.” He took a bite, then another.

Mouse said nothing but kept chewing away.

Cat finished his sandwich. “This was a great treat Mouse. Thank you.” Cat licked his paws.

Mouse just chewed.

“I said, ‘Thank you’ Mouse.” Cat stared at Mouse.

Mouse inhaled deeply.

As he breathed out, a bubble formed and grew and grew. Then…

POP!

Cat jumped straight into the air.

Mouse’s mouth still full he muttered, “Clever cat, giving me this ort. Not supposed to swallow gum. I lost.”

Cat blushed. “Mischievous mouse. Drawing those Smiley Cat faces to tease me. If I had seen those sooner I would have…Hey!”

“Won sooner,” Mouse said still chewing.

“You said a mouseful.” Cat laughed.

The next three games were Cat’s choice and he lost all but one.

 

THE END

If you enjoyed this story, take the challenge and write your own story in 60 minutes and edit it. The idea is to #justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

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SHOW DON’T TELL Isn’t Just for Writers

[photo credit: firstcovers.com]
Are you confident in your abilities at work or in your personal life or do you need to tell the world what you are great at? Then this little blurb may explain what’s behind the SHOW DON’T TELL rule for life in general and well, if you are a writer, you may want to read this too.
Telling something can always be a lie but showing it proves the truth. Such as someone like Bob who tells the world ” I am always on time.” Is Bob really or just saying that to make others believe it. What do Bob’s actions show? Bob actually is often late to work rushing in fifteen to thirty minutes after the shift starts.running-late
However, what if Bob was actually quite punctual? Bob could say, “I punch in at 7:58 every morning, two minutes before the shift starts,” to show it and be truthful or he could say nothing and continue to be prompt for everything, confident in his ability to be punctual which people notice and remember.punctual
[photo credit: hodgesherald.blogspot.com]
Telling shows a weakness in both proclamation and in writing. In both proclamations above, Bob feels the need to let everyone know he is punctual whether it is true or not. Only Bob knows why he has to broadcast this.
This works both ways. In this instance Mary tells everyone in the neighboring office, “I am the responsible one who plans everything and keeps everything flowing nice.” Mary is partially telling and partially showing, which is better. But…Mary is not responsible but relies on her co-workers to carry the weight of the work and follow through with orders. Her direct peers know this.
However, a different Mary tells the neighboring office this, “Bob has to carry the weight in our office. I’m not much help.” Mary is telling not showing. She is angry with Bob for being so lack in his skills and work ethics that she proclaims it is her hoping someone will disagree with her and tell her she is indeed a great help. By telling people she is not, it is contradictory to what her actions show.
When push comes to shove in work environments, for the most part, your actions speak volumes. But sometimes you do have to state your case to save your job, etc. and then you are best to show them with your words and not just tell. Showing your case with details gives the best choice for proving the truth. Telling offers nothing concrete.
pigeon-dont-tell-me-show-me
[photo credit: flickr.com]
In writing this is an example of weak writing versus strong writing or known as telling vs. showing:
The sun is shining.‘ or ‘Beams of sunlight lit up the field.
If I wrote, ‘The sun is shining,’ and later in the paragraph or scene I described a dreary day, the original sentence is a lie or a contradiction, thus showing weak plotting.
Point is, if you have to tell everyone how great you are something, it means you are trying to get others to believe something you yourself do not believe or feel inadequate about. Therefore, instead of touting to the world you are this or that, show them with your actions and let your actions speak for themselves; your actions are what everyone remembers.
‘SHOW DON’T TELL’ is a good rule to follow. Even if you are not a writer, you can apply the same rule to your life in both work and personal.
a-persons-actions
[photo credit: pinterest.com]
Want to know more about SHOW DON’T TELL? Check out these links:

Resource Wrangler

snuggery – noun (British)

[snuhguh-ree]

  1.   a snug place or position.
  2.   a comfortable or cozy room.

 

The perfect word came up as a Word of the Day selection from http://www.dictionary.com and that word is snuggery. While this is not my typical Word Of The Day story, this is a blog entry about resources for researching and writing.  So if you are a a children’s writer, find yourself a snuggery to sit in while you read this post.

My favorite part to writing anything (even during childhood) is researching the idea (s) first. I will read magazine articles, books, newspaper articles, brochures, pamphlets, etc. to get any snippet of information I find useful. Most of the public librarians know be by name there as I usually have fifty or more books checked out on any given week. Granted most of them are picture books but it wasn’t always that way.

20160503_094207

I have been writing stories for over twenty years; children’s stories, young adult stories, scary stories, ghostly stories, funny stories, romance stories, short stories, long stories, and campfires stories. Since 1990, I have submitted stories off and on to publishers and all have been rejected, with good reason. I had gotten out of the habit of researching, I just wrote and edited. Then as I had children, I wrote sporadically, occasionally submitting to publishers but again I had omitted the researching part. That is, until March 2012 when fate stepped in and I lost both of the jobs I was working. My kids were in college and last year of high school at the time. To say the least, I was devastated and on top of it, I was going in for shoulder surgery a month later. But fate had it all planned out.

Fate is quite the character using it’s special set of skills to nudge people into the path they are supposed to take when said people purposely set about to do the opposite. Now I’m not saying people are sabotaging themselves on purpose, I am saying they make choices purposely (whether to help out the family, illness, etc.) that keep them from their life journey so fate steps in to nudge or push them blatantly in the right direction.

Fate also has a sense of humor. Just because people told me I should write for a living and I would be published in no time does not mean, “Just write what you know, send it out and the publishing deals will come.” I knew that in my head but my heart bypassed my brain and I sent out a couple of submissions without doing much homework on the submitting process of the second decade in the new millennium WHICH HAD CHANGED.

Fate gave me the security I needed to stay at home and write once my shoulder healed but fate was not going to do all the work for me. I needed to put my back and brains into my work like I had every thing else in life. So I started going back to my public library and researching every aspect of writing for children. I checked out books and extended their time until I had to return them and then checked them out again. I had repeatedly checked out so many of the same books I started buying them so I had them when I needed them.

This brings me to the best part of my post in my opinion…the list via photos of my most used resource books for writing for children. I also write young adult but am concentrating on my picture books manuscripts first (four of which are polished and ready for submission).

Enjoy!

The Emotion Thesaurus writers digest sourcebook characters how to write dazzling dialogue Writer's Guide to character traits

write great dialogue childrens writers word book synonym finder dream language

*Yes a Dream Language Dictionary is in my resource pile of books. 😀

rhyming dictionary writing picture books crafting stories for children writing great books for young adults writing the paranormal novel disagreeable english editing your fiction create your writer platform

I have more resource books but these are the ones I reference most since I have read them. *You may think it odd I have a Dream Language Dictionary in the mix. This magical book has given me the perfect word, oddly enough, when I have been stumped. It also infuses creativity in me when I feel like being lazy.

To finish this up, the last book pictured here, ‘CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM’ written by Chuck Sambuchino, gave me something to work on when I needed a break from writing and researching. It is a fabulous resource to get you on your way for when you do get published. do not wait until you are published to create your writer platform, do it now.  I am not published yet but I am working on it and I will be. I have established my writer platform and have worked hard at it during my journey so far into this new career of mine.

My advice to you writer, even if you do not own these books, check them out from your local library, get a feel for them and if you want your own copy, then order it at your local independent bookstore or Amazon or my personal favorite, http://www.writersdigestshop.com/ . Then once you have your research resource books in hand, cuddle up with it in your favorite snuggery and take notes.

Good luck with all of your writing endeavors.

#justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting

Warmly,

Traci

@ChuckSambuchino @WritersDigest