February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


When I was a teacher, we had this thing we would start every morning with called a DO NOW. We would write some little brain teaser, math problem (don't worry, there will be no math here...) sentence starter, etc. on the board, and as the kids were unpacking and getting ready to begin their day, they would do the DO NOW. The idea was to wake the kids up and get their motor started.

Well, as writers, we could use a DO NOW every so often as well. So I am beginning this new segment for all HCCWG members and non-members alike. Once a month, or maybe more often, I will post a sentence starter to inspire you (hopefully) into writing a short piece of fiction. Hopefully, I will also include a picture to jump start your imagination too.

Here is what I want you to do. In the comments section write a short story (no more than 250 words) and post it there. If there is enough interest in these flash fiction segments, then I will keep this going. I think it can really help sharpen and hone your skills. Do not worry about anyone stealing your work in the comments section. Just write fresh off the top of your head.

Another writer I know of, Christine Elden, does this on her blog and, although I always complain about her tight 150 word count, it is really fun and gets my brain buzzing. I do agonize over the limited word count, as I am more prone to writing novels, than flash fiction. But, you picture book writers, may really have the upper hand at this. So give it a try. I think we can have a lot of fun. Also feel free to leave brief comments about the entries you read. But it does not have to be critique-y. This is for fun and to keep those juices flowing. So here it goes.

They say fairies live here. Some say they've seen them late at night, dancing in the moonlight. Some say...

Now, you take it from here. Try to make your entry no more than 250 words. (Perfect for you picture book writers.) Just remember, the comment space does not have formatting, so you can not indent. Just separate paragraphs with an extra space instead. Oh, and feel free to begin your story however you want. If you have another first sentence you want to begin with, fine. Mine was just to motivate you those creative story-tellers not so deep inside all of us...

The deadline is May 1st. So don't delay! We say we're writers, so let's write!

Happy Writing!
Sheri ks, ks


Laurie said...

    Leave it to the geek to show you how to indent your paragraphs. ;-)

    Whenever you want to insert a blank space, type in:
    an ampersand (&)
    the letters "nbsp" (without the quotes)
    and a semicolon (;).

Don't leave any spaces between the three parts. Sorry for the convoluted way of saying it, but if I type it in, all you'd see would be the blank space.

    I started these paragraphs with four of these spaces. Laurie

Sheri said...

That's cool. Is there a way to italicize here as well?

Now where is your story though? :)

Laurie said...

HTML commands are given within angle brackets. (The things that look like less than and greater than signs.) To end the command, put a "/" (without the quotes) within the angle brackets before the command. Two commands you might want to use:
i = italics
b = bold

So start something in italics, you would use:
left angle bracket
right angle bracket

To end the italics, you would use:
left angle bracket
right angle bracket

Laurie -- who is telling you more than you ever wanted to know about html

Sheri said...

Neat! Thanks Laurie.

But if all of that is too hard or confusing for those of you brand-new to this, just write a story no more than 250.

Diana Lee said...

"Sheri! Great idea! Your picture and the very first line has inspired my first chapter book (I have notes for others, but this one I started!). 390 words so far and I'm hot on it. Of course, it's not the assignment, but I'm happy. Thanks, Sheri! Diana"

Sheri said...

Hey Diana! I am so glad - after all that was my intention - to inspire. Maybe you would like to share your first 100 - 250 words with us - no critique, just a fun, light-hearted sharing between fellow writers.

Sheri said...

PS - no one should be nervous that someone might steal your work from here, because we all function as a witness to the rightful writer AND it is date and time stamped. So please, if that is what is stopping some of you, I really believe you are safe here.

Diana Lee said...

Okay--here's the beginning of my first chapter book inspired by Sheri's photo and first line---

“They say that fairies live here. “ Ha! They say they hear noises and see ferns rustle. Twigs have been broken and there are narrow paths throughout the underbrush.

Little do they know, it’s no land of fairies here. It’s the land of the Discards---the broken Lego cars and little Lego people with only one arm, or missing a hard hat or red plastic wig. Here are Doll People with broken legs and animals with little stuffing and worn-down plush. Here are the Matchbox cars and trucks, missing a door or a wheel or two. The dented Tonka trucks and front-end loaders.

They have forged a kingdom here under the ferns and mighty oaks. They are happy, mighty happy.

“Yo, Dudette! Going my way?” Johnny Lego, Hard Hat Man, lifts his right (and only) arm to hitch a ride in a Tonka jeep.

The driver is Bald Australia Barbie. “Hop in, Mate,” she says. “Where are you headed?”

“To Scarlet Maple Copse. There’s been a report of two huge brown plastic bags tossed from a Big People’s Pick-up—from one bag comes wiggles and tiny screams of “Let us out!” and from the other, more wiggles and pitiful mewling sounds.”

“Whoa!” replied Bald Australian Barbie, “sounds like a double header disaster.”

And off they raced, as fast as a Tonka jeep with mismatched tires could go.

Sheri said...

Oh Diana, that's fantastic! Thank you for participating! I really loved the "...lifts his right (and only) arm..." That made me lol. And the Bald headed Barbie to say, “…where are you headed...” Very humorous, and what a well invented world already. Bravo! I can't wait to read more.


kim said...

Thanks Sheri for continuing to try to motivate all of us! My writing has been put on the back burner by sick children. Once I get my MS off for the June Conference I will tell my kids to wipe their own boogie noses and I'll try the exercise!

Sheri said...

hahaha Kim! Funny. I know we were all sick here for a good two weeks too. I think I had it the worse.

No pressure. The deadline for this isn't until May 1st. So get to it when you can.

Glad to have inspired you!

Patricia said...

Here is my "very short" fairy story inspired by the "Do Now" writing exercise ...

They say fairies live here. Some say they've seen them late at night, dancing in the moonlight. Some say their dance is hypnotic. Come closer. You can't resist them. If you listen very carefully, you can even hear their music. Come closer, and you can hear them sing. "Come closer," they beckon. "Come closer." Now you're so close, you can grab one.


They catch more humans this way.

Diana Lee said...

Pat! That's a great one! Short and with a really humorous twist!

Sheri said...

PAT - I LOVED THAT! YOU TOTALLY GOT ME! I laughed out loud! Very witty!

Jeanne said...

They say fairies live here. Some say they've seen them late at night, dancing in the moonlight. Some say all you need to do is look carefully to see them.
“Jeez, grow up!” my brother snapped. “What’s with you?”
My cheeks started to glow red.
“You need to step back into reality!” And with that he jumped on his bike and pedaled angrily away.
Now flushed a deep crimson, I glared at his back as it vanished down the driveway.
What did he know? He knew nothing. This is my reality.
I remember when we first looked at this place. Dad and Jess were checking out things like electrical sockets, but Mom called me over to her.
She got on her haunches next to me. Looking at the large, sunlit clearing in front of the house, she said. “It’s absolutely sylvan.”
I looked at Mom, puzzled by the word.
“Look at how that shaft of light comes down through the trees and lays a circle around that tree stump,” she said. “That’s where fairies sit. Sylvan comes from a word of long ago that meant someone who lived in the woods.”
Mom nodded.
“Can you see them?” I asked.
“When I‘m quiet, and put away all the things I worry about,” said Mom. “Yes.”
Quietly, we walked up to the stump and sat next to it.
Tiny lights began to shimmer all around us.
I felt wings brush my cheek.
“I think we’re home,” said Mom.

Diana Lee said...

Exquisite, Jeanne! Are you writing a chapter book with this in it? I hope so as I'd like to read it when it's finished. And as an illustrator I can see the little girl in the photo next to your name (you, I assume) staring at the Fairy Circle on the cover, with maybe a transparent watercolor suggestion of a fairy wing on the little girl's cheek!

LEEZY said...

thee are all so cool. of course, I didn't add mine here, but on the next posting. DOH!

Patricia said...

I absolutely loved your story! I especially enjoyed the part when the mother said she could see the fairies when she put away her worries. I also love how the mother encourages imagination in her daughter's life. Well done indeed.

Sheri said...

Well done Jeanne! I loved the brother and his impatience with his sister. It was really funny and so true. And, of course, I am like that mother - always telling my kids things like fairies exist if they want them to. LAst summer I helped the, build a fairy house. Looks like you might have a novel in you after all...

Leezy, no harm done. I read it over on the other posting and it was really cute. Who said fairies would be nice??? Good one!

Jeanne said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. I am starting to believe that there may, indeed, be a novel in me. I'm working on the idea of Maya being a chapter book, thinking I can "ease in" to writing longer pieces. :o)
Sheri, how very wonderful that you built a fairy house with your girls. Can you photograph it and put it on the blog? Or your blog?

Sheri said...

Oh good idea Jeanne. I will do that for sure!