A Thanksgiving Exercise for Children's Writers
by Lynne Marie
As the Owner and Administrator of www.rateyourstory.org as well as a Rate Your Story Judge, I get to see a lot of the issues that hold back a story from getting ratings on the upper end of the scale. One of them is approaching a story idea from a kid-friendly and kid-accessible angle.
So with that in mind, I bring you an exercise which should be not only fun, but nostalgic. And today is the best day to ponder, as the world slows down for the long weekend (unless you shop LOL) and you will have lots of time to think and create!
Remember the Thanksgivings of your youth, looking at them from the perspective of a child, and make a few lists with examples. I will share mine as a sample.
What were your favorite foods, activities, people or things?
Early Christmas Gifts
The Story of Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving Day Parade
Playing Board Games
The nut and cheese tray
Thanksgiving Art and Crafts
Fall Colors and Decorations
Crayons and Coloring Pages
March of the Wooden Soldiers
Nanny's Spritz Cookies
Tad Lincoln and his Turkey
What were your least favorite foods, activities, people or things?
Sitting at a card table
Loud Football Games
Turkey Soup and Sandwiches
Then, look at each item on your list and come up with some story ideas.
Admittedly Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. Although I found things to appreciate, it's centered around turkey which I will not eat and don't like to smell. In fact, love the annual Turkey Pardoning at the White House! With that in mind, you will be surprised to see how many story ideas I got from Thanksgiving as a child! I hope you surprise yourself too!
(American Pie SOLD)
(Counting Sheep with Bo Peep)
Food / What Others Eat on Thanksgiving
(Let's Eat! Mealtime Around the World SOLD)
Thanksgiving Not Being a Favorite Holiday
(Witch's Christmas Switchmas)
(Turkey Shapes Up BoardBook)
Playing Board Games
(Let's Play! Games Around the World)
Of course, there's more -- some percolating, some sitting on my list of ideas for Story Storm, some which will be respectfully buried.
But the main thing is to use this time and inspiration to tap into your child self and look at the world in that way! And once you plant an idea, if it grows away from Thanksgiving let it! Just give it some thought and water and see where it goes!
Happy Writing Friends -- Wishing You All a Blessed Thanksgiving!
Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten -- art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School -- art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling / Scholastic 2019) Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World -- art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project -- art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press / CAW Publishing, December 2021) and American Pie -- art by Dea Lenihan (Dancing Flamingo Press 2022).
She’s also the Owner and Administrator of both RateYourStory.org and ThePictureBookMechanic.com, as well as a long-time Travel Agent with PixieVacations.com (www.pixievacationsbylynnemarie.com)! She's been a Cybil's Judge in the Fiction Picture Books and Board Books category since 2016. Recently, she's been handed the ReFoReMo torch from Kirsti Call and Carrie Charley Brown, which returns under March On With Mentor Texts in Marc2022 (www.rateyourstory.org/march-on). You can join her weekly Book Chat here: Mentor Text Talk| Facebook or at #ReVISIONWeek on Twitter which she co-hosts throughout the year.
When she’s not searching for story ideas all over the globe, she lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. Visit her atwww.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. Lynne Marie is represented by Marisa Cleveland ofwww.theseymouragency.com