Part 1 – What is Storystorm? What were a lot of writers doing during January? Storystorm! If you’ve never heard of it, you’re in the right place tonight! Storystorm is the Brainchild of Tara Lazar. She’s a famous picture book author who writes funny books. Her blog name even cracks me up – Writing for Kids (While Raising Them).
I had an idea when my kids were young, and I never tried to write that story. Writing, raising and teaching kids was too hard for me, but now I have time. This is the third year I’ve done Storystorm so I have 90 ideas waiting in my computer for me. I also have lots of others that I collected pre-Storystorm.
So how does Storystorm work? First you have to sign up. It’s a great way to start writing, and to keep going. Sorry, it’s January . . . so you’ll have to wait until next year. During Storystorm, each day a different writer does a column with a theme for coming up with new ideas. Your job – to find that idea.
Part 2 – Day 2 Ideas: This year Tara didn’t lead off . . . She let Tammi Sauer have that honor. Tara took the 2nd day position. Her post was all about absurd words. So is her newest book! Isn’t absurd a lovely word?! My job – to find a word or two that might lead to a story.
My 1st word - supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I’ve loved it since Mary Poppins. Every year I used it on my 2nd graders when we started writing and spelling. The idea was to teach them to sound things out. Their mouths dropped open every year when I wrote it. Now – to figure out how to use it in a story.
This is my second word. I’m wondering how I can use the homonyms steakout and stakeout. One is a real word. Detectives do stakeouts all the time. They do them to investigate their cases, to find out who did it. The other steak-out could be a lot of fun to play with. My job – to figure out how to use it in a story.
Part 3 – Ideas from Day 10: Katey Howe caught my attention – she wanted to plant seeds, but not the garden variety. She was talking about old ideas that never sprouted. The illustration below is a seed that bloomed . . . BE A MAKER. Katey found a way to tell the story of people who make things – from chefs to writers to engineers. Makers! My job – to prepare a seed or two for planting.
My 1st old seed – green beans from 2nd grade. Would you believe they got me in trouble? I always thought I should write that story, but I never tried. Maybe, 2022 is the year to plant that seed!
My 2nd old seed – Neil Armstrong. I published a book about him and his wind tunnel dream in 2019, but there was another story. It tempted me to write it first, but I decided the wind tunnel was the stronger story. Now Neil’s seed is calling me, asking me to water it, to let it grow.
Part 4 – Ideas from Day 21: I was so excited to see Valerie Boiling come up for Day 21. I know her! Well, a little. We talked via email when her first book was coming out, and I was thrilled to be one of her 1st readers and reviewers.
Valerie’s advice – channel your inner child. Remember who you were back then . . . carefree, silly, and curious. My job – PLAY! Then find a few ideas!
This should be easy for me . . . I’ve spent my whole life around kids, first as a student and then as a teacher. I still substitute so I can hang out in Munchkin land. I love the way they think! A third grader once asked if I’d written a dinosaur book. I hung my head, but I started picking out Dinos. Then I got stuck. Maybe those Dinos will find me this year!
I’m a principal’s daughter. I always thought there was a story there somewhere, but I never found my way in. Maybe if I channel my inner child or ask the right Munchkin, I’ll find that story!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!