Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Noises in the Closet - SCBWI Write This!

If you are a SCBWI member, you can participate in the new Write This! monthly prompt. Here's the details:

Write This! April Contest: This month, you have 100 words to portray a scene where your character hears a suspicious noise coming from the closet. Create a mood. Surprise us!

Deadline: April 20th

  • You must be a current SCBWI member to submit to Write This!
  • Entries must be inspired by the prompt in some way.
  • Please no italics or bold fonts. 12 point text size.
  • E-mail subject line must be titled as follows: Write This_First name_Last name.
  • Each member may only submit one entry per prompt word.
  • E-mail your entry IN THE BODY OF THE E-MAIL, please no attachments to:
  • TIP: Tweet, Facebook and Instagram your submissions! #scbwiwritethis
             (this is not how you submit your writing, it's just an extra way to promote your work)

  • My entry for April is a poem I've been working on for awhile, tightened up to the 100 word limit. This story is inspired by some freaky ghost hunting I did in my own house when I was little. I would use Dad's stress test scrap paper to graph the sounds I heard coming from our attic stairs closet. 

Attic Dwellers

By Lauri Meyers

Pressed against the door,
Father's stethoscope captures
The attic dwellers noise.
Thump, thump, whooooo, thump, screech.
I decode the message:
"We have what you seek." 
The skeleton key grinds in the rusty metal lock.
Hinges groan apart.
Cold air rushes past me.
Darkened stairway looms.
Gulp my fear.
Cobwebs tickle my nose.
Reach through darkness.
Pull the cord.
Spirits shrink to the shadows.
I grab the treasure-
Father's army cap.
Breathe in his strength.
Shadows grow impatient.
Lights out.
Stumble into the light.
Turn the key.
Thump, whoo, thump, whoo, creak.
"See you again."

Friday, March 18, 2016

How To Sweep the Floor

I had to clean up this morning, but I'm rewarding myself with some writing! Some of you who are also have an aversion to cleaning may need this helpful lesson I put together. 

How to Sweep the Dining Room Floor

Step 1: Move the chairs out of the way to allow access to all the abandoned Rice Krispies and dropped noodles.

Step 2: Build a chair fort

Step 3: Sweep quickly because you are missing out on all the fun.

Step 4: Help create the world's first Reading School for Bunnies. 

Good luck with your Spring Cleaning!

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Three Billy Goats Valentine's Gamble

Sweet Susanna Hill has a new contest for us! 
The Contest:  Write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is grumpy!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone grumpy (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words max (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day) You can go under the word count but not over! Title is not included in the word count.  No illustration notes please!

Here's my entry coming in at exactly 214 words. Happy Valentine's Day! 

The Three Billy Goats Valentine's Gamble
By Lauri C. Meyers
Billy Goat, Baby Goat, and Mama Goat have valentines to deliver in the sweet green valley, but a hungry troll guards the bridge.
“I have an idea,” Baby Goat says. The goats huddle to hear the plan.  
Baby Goat & Billy Goat
(img; Loretta Humble, freeimages)
Baby Goat scrambles up the bridge.
“Who’s trip-trapping over my bridge?” Grumpy Troll growls. “I’ll eat you right up!”

“Don’t eat me! My meatier brother is coming soon.” Baby Goat skips to the valley.

Billy Goat hoofs up the bridge.
“Who’s trip-trapping over my bridge?” Grumpy Troll roars. “I’ll eat you right up!”
“Don’t eat me! My sweet mama is coming soon.” Billy Goat gallops over the bridge.

Mama Goat climbs the bridge.  
“Who’s click-clacking over my bridge?” Grumpy Troll asks. “I’ll eat you right up!”
“Hi, I have a valentine for you,” Mama Goat says with a wink.
“What a glittery heart,” Grumpy Troll says. “It sparkles like your pretty shoes.”
“Would you like to deliver valentines with me, Mr. Troll?” Mama Goat asks.
“I’m busy guarding this bridge,” Grumpy Troll says. “Would you join me for a snack on your way back?”
“Of course!” Mama squeals. “Happy Valentine’s Day!” She click-clacks down the bridge. 

Grumpy Troll jumps under the bridge and starts cutting hearts for a valentine and whispers, “I could eat her right up.”
She is a beauty!

(img; Colin Bamford, freeimages)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Squirrel's Famous Winter Feast - Susanna Hill Holiday Contest

I have pine sap on my fingers, flour on my shirt, and strings of popcorn must be time for Susanna Leonard Hill's Annual Holiday Contest!

The Contest:  Write a children's story beginning with any version of "Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop."  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words No illustration notes please. Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Friday December 11 at 11:59 PM EST. 

I must have been feeling stressed about entertaining when this idea developed, but I *think* my parties have a better track record than poor Squirrel's. (Though I did make a dreadful crunchy hummus once.)

Happy Holidays everyone and may all your entertaining go well!  See all the other rocking entries at Susanna's site.

Squirrel’s Famous Winter Feast

By Lauri Meyers

Rocking around the Old Pine Tree at my famous winter feast,” Squirrel sang as he hung decorations on every branch.

“My dear friend, Deer, you’re the first guest of course. Here put on these reindeer antlers!”
“Thanks, I guess,” Deer said putting the reindeer antlers on top of his deer antlers. “So, about tonight, some of the guys might go scavenging at the campground.”
“Oh, I couldn’t. Everyone loves my famous party!” Squirrel said. “Here’s some partygoers now. Hey, Skunk and Fox!”
“Who’s ready to find some marshmallows!” Fox said.
“Fox, you’re hilarious! Forget marshmallows.” Squirrel sang, “Later we’ll have some pinecone punch-
Crunch. Fox said, “Ugh. Have you tried this punch?” 
“Look, it’s the Quail family ready to party down,” Squirrel said. “Happy Winter Mama Q, Sally, Sara, Samuel, Siena, Salina, and Little Joe.” 

“We’re on our way to warbling lessons,” Mama Q replied.
Squirrel sang on, “And we’ll do some caroling! But first anyone for a slice of minnow pie?”
“Mama Q,” Little Joe whispered, “the pie is staring at me.”
“Hello, Big Bear,” Squirrel said. “Be careful, you’re under the mistletoe!”
“Your decorations stink,” said Big Bear.
“I spent all morning stringing those brown berries,” Squirrel said.
“I don’t think those are berries, Squirrel,” Deer whispered.
“Um, I should really be hibernating,” Big Bear said.
“We should be warbling,” Mama Q said.
“Pfffffft,” Skunk added.
“Now your party really STINKS!” Fox snickered.
“But I burnt my tail roasting pinecones. I pricked my finger stringing decorations. This song is stuck in my head. And I love spending tonight with all of you!” Squirrel scurried up the Old Pine Tree.
The friends looked around uncomfortably.
Let’s be jolly,” Little Joe warbled slowly. “Deck the halls with boughs of holly.”
“Can I wear your antlers?” Fox asked.

“Sure! Just let me grab some pinecone punch,” Deer said.
“Ooh, minnow pie is my favorite,” Big Bear said.
“Stinky berries so nice,” Skunk added.
“Rocking around the Old Pine Tree at my famous winter feast!” Squirrel boogied down the branch and jumped on Deer’s antlers. “Have a happy holiday everyone!”

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Bully Spell - Halloweensie

After my 5-year-old showed me up earlier with her writing efficiency and mastery of tension building, I finally finished my entry in Susanna Hill's 5th annual Halloweensie contest.

The rules: 100 words, which must include creak, pumpkin and broomstick. (NO NO NO - seriously, I'm glad I realized I was using last year's words before midnight, but there's nothing as fun as changing rhymes! ACK!) dark, costume and haunt.

It went a little wicked, and then it tended toward gross with my word changes... But it is Halloween after all. Why resist a good scare or giggle?

The Bully Spell

@alekksall via freepik
By Lauri Meyers

Great Great Grandma Thistle
Would cast a wicked curse
To cover children’s bums
With boils, cysts, or worse.

Great Grandma Narcissus
Enriched with darker rhymes
To pluck the eyes from kids
For cauldron stealing crimes.

Grandma Oleander
Enhanced the evil spell
With rotten skunk patoot
To make the youngsters smell.

My Mama Mistletoe
With costume, wand, and hat
Declared, “Annoying boys
Shall eat my spider’s scat!”

I threw in haunted bones
And jangly teeth for spite.
So, say you’re sorry now

For teasing me tonight.

That's right all you Halloween bullies out there better behave, because this spell keeps getting better and better with each generation:) Happy Halloween!

Kelsey's Scary Story

Hi! I'm struggling here with my Halloweensie revisions for Susanna Hill's annual contest, so I asked my 5 year old to help. I gave her the rules: 100 words, use pumpkin, broomstick and creak.

Well, she really showed me up writing and illustrating a fabulously scary story in about 20 minutes.

It all started with this:
(OMG! The door just creaked. What is going to be behind that door!! p.s. Note the strategically placed pumpkin and broomstick, um, because they disappear...)

(Oh the tension!!)

(AGH!!! It's a ghost!)

 "Are you nice?"
"Well, my name is Friendy, so yeah." 
"What are you doing here?"
"I'm getting ready to play with my new best friend!"   


Wow! Look how easy that is! Tension! Complex emotion! Fully fleshed characters! All in 38 words. And I thought this was hard:)  Happy Halloween!

PS. OH NO! I am a failure of a mother. I gave the dear LAST YEAR'S CONTEST WORDS!! Mulligan.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Can Kids Write Books?

Whatever your views are about the Common Core, I have to say there is definitely a lot of focus on writing! My daughter’s first grade class had Writers Workshop and even had a special event for parents to hear their opinion pieces. (I learned A LOT about why Minecraft is awesome and how beautiful cardinals are.)

This focus sparked some questions from a pal of mine.

“Miss Lauri, can kids write books?”

“Anyone can write a book.”

“Yeah, but can 7-year-olds write books?”
My illustrations when I was a kid are
not as good as Josie's!

“I happen to know some very cool kids who write. Like Erik Weibel, who is 13 now, but used to be 9 when he started blogging and well, I’m sure he was 7 before then. His sister Josie is an illustrator and his friend Felicia wrote a book, or well her pets did.  

“We had an author visit the school which was so cool!”

“Yeah, that was totally cool. Erik and Felicia interview real authors in videos at The Write Chat. Sometimes they are ridiculously silly. Isn’t that so cool??”

“So cool, but how do I become a writer?”

“You write.”

“Miss Lauri, I mean really.”

“First, you need an idea. There is a cool Kids are Writers Summer Camp which will have daily prompts. Prompts are like little idea starters.” 

“I’ve got a million ideas!”

“Okay, okay, just start with one. Then figure out what happens. My friend Carrie has a worksheet to help you figure out what happens. She calls it her Plot Connector. It’s really easy to fill it in with ideas.” 


“Let me read it. The dog wants more than anything to see his friend Chipper the chipmunk but his owner won’t let him out. So he tries to sneak out, break the door, and bark really loud, but it doesn’t work. Then…he says please and the owner lets him out! Oh, this is quite good.”

“I know. Thank you. It was pretty easy.”

“Would you like to read this story again and again?”

“Well, I dunno. I already kind of know what happens.”

“Hmm. Well, then this is called a first draft. I have some ideas to help you edit. Would you like to hear them?”

“Oh yes, and give me a huge stack of paper please. And sharpen this pencil. And are there any goldfish to eat?”

“Yes, yes, of course. *scurries around house for a few minutes* Okay, the first tip is to find the right word and be specific. So instead of dog, you might say Woofers the dog. Or Woofers the Great Dane. Or Tiny the Great Dane.”

“No, no, no. His name is Charming the Chihuahua!”

“Oh, yes that’s very good. Chihuahuas are always funny. That brings me to the next tip. When you want to think of something really good, write down seven ideas. By the time you get to the seventh it will be the best one. Do you know why I picked seven?”

“Because I’m seven!!”
“No, because it’s my lucky number. Now, go practice those tips until that Chihuahua really comes to life.”

“Okay, Miss Lauri. Can I bring my goldfish?”

“Yep, just get out of here, I’ve got a million ideas I need to write down.”

Happy Summer and Happy Writing everyone!
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