From my life! I didn’t think it was exceptional, but I’ve found some great stories to tell.
Story #1 – This was the first one I wrote. It came from the unbelievable moment when I held ¾ of a bat on a mop. Really! But I didn’t have enough confidence to tell that story. So my German friends introduced me to Herman the German and the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. When I thought it was ready, I took it to Highlights. It was good, but had lots of first writer mistakes. It’s still in my computer, waiting for me to grow into it.
Photo Source for the Teutoburg Forest By Arminia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1343268
Story #2 – I couldn’t let go of the bat so I wrote the mostly true story. The characters – 2 bats, a German grandmother, and her American granddaughter. Frog and Toad served as my mentor text. I took it to an SCBWI conference for a critique. My reader said it was flat and that bats don’t have legs – the shelf life for a bat story is September and October, longer if I had reading followers. It’s safe in my computer waiting for me to build that career.
Story #3 – If bats don’t have legs, schools do! They’re forever. Every summer I closed down my classroom, and the school felt dead. In August I’d re open it and prepare for a new batch of kids. I wanted to tell that story using a caterpillar and the butterfly it became, but I couldn’t find my way into that story.
I don’t remember how, but somehow ants found their way in, and I found my words, over 30 chapters worth. I believe this will be a book someday, but I haven’t found the right words, the right story arc yet.
I spent most of the summer working on those ants. I have 4 chapters to go. I built up the beginning, got rid of the saggy middle. Now I have to write to the climax and finish with a satisfying ending. Summer school was the best thing ever for me and my ants!
Story #4 – My dog Leia gave me this idea. That’s her in the first picture. The second is a look-alike. Leia used to sit outside my bathroom door every morning waiting for me. I’d ask if she was hungry. If she wasn’t, she’d just stare. If my daughter forgot, Leia went crazy – bouncing, barking, and telling on my daughter. When you write a story, it changes. It grows and develops. Leia’s did. I hope someday I can find a way to tell her story.
Story #5 – I went into lockdown with my last class in 2014/2015. I remember it like it happened yesterday. I didn’t think of it as a story until a year later. Since then it’s gone through lots of revisions, It started as the lockdown I experienced, but that’s too real for my audience. I changed the setting into a drill, and now I have a better chance of seeing this story published. It’s close. I’m working to find and agent and a publisher for it. Someday!
Story #6 – I wrote this story before I published my newest book. I don’t think it has a niche market like Lake Fun did, so it’s still sitting in my computer. Both stories started at Norris Lake. That’s where my husband and I have a house. It’s heaven, unless the ducks visited our dock. I love them on the water, but not so much on the dock. They think it’s their poop deck, literally, and they don’t clean up their own mess. My husband and I have to. The story changed, as it always does. Now a young boy is telling about a lake vacation with his grandparents. It’s perfect, until the ducks arrive.
Story #7 – This was my first published book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. It started with a part of Neil’s real wind tunnel. Do you see it? It’s to the left of the red print. I discovered it when I was training to be a docent at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum back in the fall of 2017. I was fascinated, thinking how Neil built it back in 1946. He was 16, and he modeled it after the Wright Brothers. In May of 2018 I decided to write and self-publish this story.
Story #8 – This was my first picture book from 2020. The inspiration – that middle picture. It’s our lake house. I wanted to do a book about my lake and all the fun my family had. I thought I had a niche market at the lake and its marinas. I started writing during the summer of 2019. By August it was time to figure out the illustrations. Finding a way to do that last illustration, wakesurfing, was key. It’s an image I wanted kids to see, to read about. My critique partner said he could digitally enhance a photo from Pixabay so it would look like a real illustration. When I looked at that image, I knew I could keep writing!
Stories # 9 & 10 – Both are scheduled for March of 2021, for now. Take a look at these two images. They’re clues to the next 2 books. I’ll tell you more, SOON!
Story #11 – It will debut in October of 2021, for now. I thought about next month, but I changed my mind in July. I’m glad I did. Extra time is always a good thing!
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!