Last week, I had the honor of working with a group of 5th graders from Cumberland County Public Schools, VA during the Virginia Children’s Book Festival. Together, we all started a bunch of stories. This Story Starter finished! With permission from Elena and her mother, I present….
The Alien Dentist, by Elena M.
My name is Jackson and I’m running from a alien dentist. He’s not far behind. He might catch up to me and pull all my teeth out. I’m so scared and out of breathe but I have to keep running so he can’t catch me.I found an abandoned house. I went in.
The monster couldn’t find me. When suddenly I heard a growl. Then a creak. ! Boom! the monster was right there behind me!
So I ran as fast as I could. He caught me. The alien took me to his lair. He tried to pull one of my teeth out.He couldn’t because I grabbed his arm and I ninja kicked him in the stomach.
I went to the town my mom was in. I knocked on the door. She let me in. I told her to lock the door. The alien was close behind me. My mom asked “What is going on?”
I said “There is an alien chasing me”. She said that I was crazy and I had lost my mind. I told her that this was not crazy that there was an actual alien dentist trying to pull all my teeth. She said maybe I needed to go to the dentist and see that the dentist is a good person. I told her “ NO!” and to look out the window.
My mom looked out the the window and saw an alien. She said that I wasn’t losing my mind and we started to run out the back door. The alien didn’t see us until we knocked over one of my moms plants. As soon as he saw us he ran in our direction. We screamed and ran away. He caught us but my mom and I karate chopped him and got away.
Elena…thank you for the awesome story. I look forward to the day when you’re signing a book for me. Write on!
“Alice never wants to hurt anyone again, but the robots won’t end the experiment.” ~ By Scott DuBar, from the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Region “Ink to Inspiration” event at Richmond Public Library, 06/20/2015
This past weekend I participated in the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Region’s Ink to Inspiration event at Richmond Public Library, and had the opportunity to lead the group in yet another rendition of Story Starters, my Mad Libs styled activity where me and the writers/illustrators create a unique opening line by committee.
Once the line’s created, the writers/illustrators have 15 minutes to write or sketch whatever that line inspires. It’s meant to be an exercise in flexibility (you never know what the line’s going to be) and a demonstration that ideas are simply what YOU make them.
Part of the deal with Story Starters is anyone who decides to write a complete story, or finish an illustration, based on our sentence, gets a spotlight here and on my social media.
Behold Illustrator Scott DuBar’s submission which. Is. AWESOME!!!
Scott’s one to watch, and I’m excited to share his work with you. I’m going out on a limb to say this won’t be the last we see of him. Thanks Scott!
I will be in LA for the rest of the week attending the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 40th Anniversary Summer Conference. It’s my first trip to the West Coast and I couldn’t be more excited.
I may blog a bit while I’m there, otherwise I’ll catch you when I’m back in my timezone…
It’s rare that a post can be random and relevant, but that’s kind of what this is. The relevant part involves the trip I’ll be taking later this week to attend the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 40th Anniversary conference in Los Angeles. I’ll get to rub elbows with some industry folks and attend cool and informative workshops, which is always a plus. But, more importantly, I’ll get to meet my very good writer friend Jennifer Bosworth and my Super Agent Jamie Weiss Chilton in person for the very first time (this alone is worth the price of the plane ticket).
Confession: I rarely get excited. It’s like my brain secrets Prozac, I’m so even keel. However, this trip excites me. It’ll be my first time on the west coast, and I can’t wait to see LA for myself. I’m from Virginia and the farthest west I’ve been is Texas…all I know about LA comes from ENTOURAGE and KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS. My only regret is that my wife can’t make this trip with me, but she’s demanded that I bring her back something “decidedly LA”. I’m thinking a jar of smog.
That was your dose for relevant, time for the random…
I’m a Type A all the way, an obsessive PLANNER. So, uncharacteristically, I made a misstep in my conference prep. See, it’s good protocol to have business cards with you when you attend these things because you meet so many people there’s no way to keep everyone straight in your head. And I have A METRIC TON of business cards already. The problem: the cards are specific to my Indie Pubbed adult paranormal novel LIVE AGAIN, which maybe doesn’t matter too much, but it’s not the impression I necessarily want to make at conference centered around books for children and young adults. This didn’t occur to me until Thursday night, exactly 1 week before I get on a westbound plane.
The Type A in me panicked. While all of my relevant contact info was on the LIVE AGAIN business cards, I’d simply be MORTIFIED to hand those out at SCBWI…it’d be like, I don’t know, wearing white after Labor Day. I needed something representative of my young adult work. Since graphic design is a hobby I’ve dabbled in for the last two years, I got the bright idea that I would DESIGN A NEW BUSINESS CARD IN ONE HOUR, so I could make a rush order with Vista Print and get new cards before I leave.
If you’re a planner, too, you probably already see what’s wrong here…
It was close to midnight when I started my ambitious design project. I’d been up since 5 AM. I discovered SLEEP-DEPRIVED DESIGNING is kind of like DRUNK DIALING YOUR EX…you wake up the next day with one thing and one thing only on your mind, “What the hell did I do?”
I completed my design, all with a snazzy, unique color palette (not the problem), and this cool little ink-in-water accent along the bottom left to highlight all my social media logos (not the problem). I even added a custom logo (problem).
The logo I’d been working on was meant to represent a character I’d created for a YA project. It’s essentially the silhouette of a guy wearing these big ’80’s style headphones because the character was really into music. I got the basic logo from istockphoto and planned to tweak it (which I never got around to) so I could throw it on some promotional stuff. Really, there’s nothing wrong with the idea on paper. The problem comes in when you consider the following (something my sleep addled mind was not able to do…at the time it seemed like the best idea ever, freaking award-worthy):
1) The character changed, and music isn’t as big a part of his makeup as it used to be. The headphones are insignificant now.
2) I can’t say too much about this project yet. And I can’t say WHY I can’t say much about this project yet.
3) Since the character changed, and I’m not supposed to discuss him too much, the logo is meaningless. It’s like painting a Pepsi logo on a prehistoric rock for the dinosaurs to stare out.
4) This is the worst part – It’s a kid wearing BIG ASS HEADPHONES. That doesn’t exactly scream WRITER. It screams DJ!!!!!
And I paid fifty bucks to get my new DJ business cards in time for my WRITER’S conference. <Insert Joke Here>.
So if you happen to be at SCBWI next week and you’re looking for me, I’ll be the guy saying, “Hi, I’m Lamar. I’m a writer…but I also do weddings.”