Kid’s Tale of a Day with Gramps (WIP) A Slice of Life/ or A Slice of Pie (True stories told in a fictional style.) By RL Brown Morning's first blush slips through the mizzling mist; sunlight pours over the windowsill. I feel a wiggle. “Roll out, sleepyhead!” says Gramps. The day begins with Gramps in his bucket hat. I grab breakfast as we head out the door, toasty buttered bread with a fried egg. The screen door snaps back. “Gotta grease those springs,” says Gramps. We walk to the pond, a pole in each hand - no buckets, no boats, or carrying large totes, just Gramps, Chico, and me. Gramps says there is no better companion than a good dog beside me. Crickets hide by the pond bank. Gramps catches the bait. He shows me how to thread a hook, attach my sinker, and snatch a cricket. Learning to cast a line is best done with just two. Secrets are safe. “Ker-thunk.”
Every once in a while, inspiration hits, and a desire is lit to convey a message deep within one's soul. Every once in a while, misery accompanies loss; difficulties attack and strike deep. Disappointment mellows the soul. Every once in a while, we understand that truth divides, despair is a deep hole of nothingness, and hopelessness engulfs the soul. Every once in a while, love overwhelms and memories comfort. Friends appear, and sadness disappears- a face-to-face connects our souls. Every once in a while, we grasp the assurance of hope, the rallying cry of faith and discern the doubled-tongue. Every once in a while, endurance is perfected, wisdom is perceived, faith is steadied, and peace settles within. Every once in a while, we flourish resting in God's hand, our soul knows it very well. For the flourish writers out there! References Romans 5 Hebrews 4 Proverbs 19 James 1 Psalms 37 I Peter 5 Revision
Spring Fling Contest 2022/ revised for another submission
Winter howls at Spring like a middle schooler's biological clock clanks. "It's too early." Winter yawns. "Autumn is expecting you," says Sun. "Not yet." Winter flops back, adding another blanket of snow. "June's cold moon is waiting," says Spring. Winter loves to hangout with Cold Moon. "Okay, I'm up." Winter sits very still, blowing another winter chill. "Come along," says Blizzard. Winter stands and stretches. "A resplendent day in pastel hues," says Winter to Spring. "Thank you, Winter." Bowing gracefully, Winter whispers, "See you next year." Spring smiles at Sun, "It's time to melt the crusty earth and direct your rays to tickle the fertile dirt." "As you wish," says Sun and bows to stir the sleepy earth. "Now for the underground nestlings. Seed, shed those winter coats and nightcrawlers dig underground moats." Spring sings to the wind, " Zephyr, carry the seeds far and wide and Loam, provide their needs. Clouds, let loose April's showers. May, bring forth a bouquet of flowers!
"Zephyr, carry the seeds. Loam, provide their needs. Cloud, let loose April's showers. May send a bouquet of flowers!"
Entry for 1st Annual Kids Choice Kidlit Writing Contest 2022
All the Henderson children read, except one, Rex.
Read Out Loud-Never! by RL Brown Rex Henderson hated to read out loud. Words- slipped – tripped – skipped- over his tongue like jabbering gibberish. Flustered, Rex snapped the book shut. He spluttered, “My brain hurts. My eyes won’t work. Why do letters move?” The letters giggled. “Who’s that?” Rex demanded. Memes crawled out and stood on top of the book. He dressed like a sailor- colorful bandana, baggy pants, checked shirt. “I’m here to be your first mate,” said Memes. “We letters are an ornery lot. Yet, we need a Captain to guide us on our way.” “Me, be Captain-of these letters- they never stay still, they're always- flipping, flopping, hopping, and swopping.” “Sound out their name, they’ll snap too…b, d, c, f, g, ha, speak up h, …” Rex joined in, calling each consonant by name. “These vowels are a rascally bunch,” Rex complained. “Vowels flow here and there. Practice, you’ll get their names.” Memes smiled. Memes handed Rex a script. “Read aloud-Never!” “You’re their captain,” Memes told Rex. “Laugh and I’ll knock you off the page,” Rex warned his crew. Captain Rex read out loud. and the letters stood proud. Why do letters move? Not today!
My brain hurts. My eyes won’t work. I can’t read anymore. Why do letters move? Be still, so I can read you. The letters whisper- Don’t give up. Jumbled Words. Letters flip and flop. Then they jump and hop. Why do letters move? Be still, so I can see you. The letters whisper. Say my name. Grumbled Sounds, And mumbled tones, Never sounding the same. WHY do letters move? Be still, so I can hear you. The letters whisper- Blend the sounds. Teacher, Teacher! The letters are moving! Oh, no, that’s in your head. Why do letters move? Be still, YOU! The letters whisper- Concentrate. Taking Test Orally, I’m best. Squiggley scribbly letters Why do letters move? Be still, so I can write you. The letters whisper- Yes, you can. Read aloud! Nervous mistakes, Makes my insides quake. Why do letters move? Be still, don't laugh. The letters shout. Keep going. Every day, my teacher says, “You’re reading better today!” “Why did letters move?” Not anymore! I shout, hooray! I’m reading today. Rex hated to read aloud. Words skipped, tripped and stumbled over his tongue like jabbering gibberish. Flustered, Rex stopped. Susie loved to read aloud. Her words slid in seamless syllables of streaming sounds. Her correctness rattled Rex. Susie closed the book. Torrents of confusion ceased; his heart sank in horrible comparison. Susie can read and he cannot. Rex wished he could slash words off all the pages. Then there would be no more letters picking at his brain. The pages would be as silent as quiet rain. (WIP)
Today’s picture book market is very different from when I was a child. The book market is more selective. There exits an underlying pc culture. Very few publishers like in the past take direct submissions from new authors. So now you have written a children’s book, but does it cut the mustard (meet current standards)?
The first step is to compare your book to what’s currently written. Go to your library and read. Read in your genre, then read books out of your genre. But read current books. Water is Water by Miranda Paul is a perfect example of a nonfiction narrative that varies vastly from the expository/factual nature of picture books in the past. Books like I Talk Like a River explore the world of a stutter and address personal issues that kids face beyond friendship or bullying. So, read and find your mentor texts.
The second step is to know your craft before sending the query letter. Editors and agents get so many manuscripts that if they are not near perfect, they toss them. It’s like a resume filled with grammatical errors or false information. Research your agent, editor, or publishers. Make sure they are open to submissions in your genre.
The third step is to use the tools at hand. Microsoft Word has a review function that reads your work out loud. Use Grammarly or one such program to edited your work. Don’t pay someone like I did to take the extra space from behind the period when you can do it yourself. Crtl A copies, and Crtl H brings up a dialog box to make edits all at once.
Lastly, participate in a good critique group. Not an online, never see your face type but a Zoom group. It makes people accountable for what they say and why. A picture book must allow the reader to see for themselves what you are trying to say, not telling them what you think. For young readers, you are helping to develop their imagination. A mind free to think will imagine, reason, and then decide to act. (My synopsis line from a CS Lewis study with Hillsdale college.)
I will end by saying I had made every newbie mistake in the book by sending my manuscript out before it was ready. Take your time, learn the process, research, get your work ready, then submit.