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At last the moment has arrived to announce the winners of Tamson’s pitch contest.  I, of course, have read through her post and I can’t believe how much information she provided on what makes a good pitch, what trips them up and why she selected the ones she did.  She even gave us a few honorable mentions.  Thanks so much Tamson!  I am very envious of the winner, because after reading this post, I know you are going to get a phenomenal critique.  And don’t forget – even if you didn’t win, Tamson is a freelance editor and you can hire her to help you with your manuscripts.  

One last thing.  In this post, Tamson talks about titles, and I feel terrible because I think the reason some of you didn’t submit with a title is because I didn’t specify that you could.  I said to submit your pitch and the first line.  Of course that didn’t mean you couldn’t submit titles, but I wasn’t clear. Mi dispiace (Italian for “my apologies”). Live and learn for the next contest!  Now, onto Tamson!

Congratulations, Pitch Winners!

It’s been a lot of fun working on this contest and seeing all the cool stuff that’s gestating in all of your fertile brains. It’s got me thinking a lot more about what makes a good pitch and what doesn’t, how important the pitch is in terms of introducing your manuscripts, and whether or not a bad pitch can be overcome by a fantastic idea. I’d like to share a few insights here as a prelude to the big announcement.

Titles: Many of you did not submit titles with your entries! Presumably, you have them, and just didn’t think they were a necessary part of the contest. And I didn’t end up holding it against you…much. Seriously though, you should be using every tool at your disposal and a title is one of those tools. You might not think you are good at coming up with titles, but you should try, even if it means soliciting help. In all honesty, you may end up having to change it before it’s published, but you should definitely try to find a title that will grab your readers’ attention.

Length:  Many of the pitches should have been shorter. Try to keep it to one sentence. If the sentences are pretty short, you may be able to get away with two. But don’t make it longer than that. Picture books are short! It drives me crazy when I see flap copy that is half the length of the accompanying book, and I feel the same way about a lengthy pitch.  Fear not! None of you were that far off the mark, but there was some excess verbiage floating around.  One way to help you keep it short is to rewrite your pitch about 20 times until it’s pared down to its essentials, while still retaining a personality.

Questions: What role should questions play in your pitch? Usually none. Here’s why: There’s a tendency that we sometimes have to make our pitch sound like aggressive marketing copy, a la infomercial: Do you like Flies? Do you like soup? Well this picture book is for you! Either that, or it sounds like you’re being coy or are playing out a joke or riddle all by yourself: What’s a fly doing in this man’s soup? Why, the backstroke, of course!  When you could just get to the point: A man is enjoying a delicious bowl of soup when he notices something in it that wasn’t on the menu.

Rhyme:  Rhyming manuscripts, much to my chagrin, are taking a bit of a hit these days. Some agents and editors won’t even look at them. For example, see this post by Mary Kole [link to: http://kidlit.com/2009/09/05/rhyming-picturebooks-a-rhyme-with-reason/] (which, admittedly, is just one agent’s perspective). You have to make sure those first lines really shine. That means, ideally, you show the agent that you are the master of your craft [link to this post: http://tamsonweston.com/blog/rhyming-picture-books-arent-so-scary/]. But at the very least, you should show her that you are a confident and capable versifier. That means that none of those four lines should feel like they’ve been put there merely to accommodate the rhyme scheme. They should flow out eloquently and organically.

Personality: The pitch is a tool to get people to want to read your manuscript and there are guidelines to help your pitch do its job. It helps, though, if there’s a little spark to it as well. Is your character’s voice really engaging? Is your manuscript funny? Is your language lyrical? Then, ideally, your pitch should reflect that. You can, then, bend the “rules” a bit to make this happen. Don’t overwork it though. If you are having trouble getting personality in there without making the pitch very long, then just get to the point. This is a picture book, after all. It’s short. Agents are just going to want to dispense with the introductions and move on to the manuscript.

The Unexpected: Finally, I have to say that sometimes I was almost won over, in spite of myself, by pitches that weren’t ideally executed, but had a great concept behind them. For example, one of the winning pitches contains a question which I thought helped capture the personality of the character. I considered a couple of others that had questions too. Sometimes the idea just wins out, even when the writer doesn’t follow the guidelines to the letter. The best route to a good pitch is to follow the guidelines as closely as possible while capturing the essence of your manuscript.

Here are a few honorable mentions and a little critique of their execution.

TITLE: MARCUS AND THE FUNTASTIC BROBOT — by Angela Padron

PITCH: Marcus wants a brother. So he builds his own “brobot”, only to find that having a little brother – especially a robotic one – isn’t easy.

FIRST LINE: Marcus wanted a brother to play with, but his mom wouldn’t give him one, and he didn’t have enough money to buy one.

This is just a great idea for a book. The proof is in the pudding, of course, but it’s a good concept. The pitch, however, is unnecessarily wordy. This is pretty easily fixed: “Marcus wants a brother—so he builds one!” I wouldn’t use “Funtastic,” either. It’s feels like too much of a marketing buzz word at this point, much like Spooktacular. Marcus and the Brobot is solid on its own. Brobot is a good, evocative invented noun.

PITCH: Are you ready for a French nickname? To get fluffy? To save a flower? A charming dandelion enlists the your help in NAPOLEON BLOWN APART.  — by Julie Falatko

FIRST LINE: Bonjour. I am Napoleon. Yes, yes, I know, I am very beautiful. My lovely yellow petals shine like the golden sun.

This one cracked me up. Unfortunately, it’s not a great use of questions—this falls into the category of infomercial-type language.  Just the last sentence of the pitch would have been fine, but it probably be shouldn’t be in second person. This can put off some agents. I would also recommend cutting the third sentence in the opening of the manuscript.

TITLE: SECRETS OF THE NOT SO DEEP — by Sue Heavenrich

PITCH: After a week Maya’s mud puddle is teeming with life. What are those fast swimmy things, and how did they get there? Nonfiction/ecology.

FIRST LINE: After yesterday’s rain I am ready for puddle stomping.

Great title. I like playful approaches on nonfiction, so this appealed to me. However, this is a case where the question is not helping the copy. Just the first sentence in the pitch is enough. The  “nonfiction” tag is also not necessary.   The first line of the manuscript is good. Quite solid.

AND THE WINNERS ARE…

Second place, winner of the book Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom is…

ABIGAIL RAYNOR!!!

PITCH: Arabella is desperate to keep Penweezle, an ex-witch’s cat, but convincing her family is not easy, especially when the cat tries to help.

FIRST LINE: It was just before teatime when the doorbell rang and Arabella found a cat on the doorstep.

This pitch has a funny deadpan quality to it. It sounds like a conventional pitch, but that clause on the end really gives a little punch. I immediately was imagining the kind of havoc this cat could wreak. The repetition of “door” (in doorbell and doorstep) in the first line is a little unfortunate and easily fixed. It needs a title, of course.

First place, winner of the book, Writing with Pictures, by Uri Schulevitz is…

HEATHER NEWMAN!!! 

PITCH: Esther is a fashionista sheep trying to bring a little style to her flock, but finding the perfect accessories on a ranch isn’t easy at all.

FIRST LINE: Nothing made Esther happier than trying on different outfits.

A really concise, well-worded pitch with a little personality. I would change “fashionista” to “fashionable” however. “Fashionista” is too new a phenomenon. This may be just me. I would also delete “at all” but that’s a pretty minor quibble.

Grand Prize, winner of the manuscript critique is…

MELISSA KELLEY!!! ***confetti toss***

PITCH: Elly is wild to save her favorite endangered zoo animal – but big brother claims there’s no such thing as Unicorns! Then what are those?

FIRST LINE: I am the luckiest girl in the world.

This is a case where the question really worked for me, and it adds a little element of surprise to the pitch, which is nice. I wonder why there’s not a “her” before “big brother,” though, since, presumably, it’s not his name.  The first line of the story is great. Gives us a sense of this exuberant girl right away and you don’t even resort to using an exclamation mark. Amazing. But, no title! (Save the Unicorns! Unicorns at the Zoo!  The Finest Unicorn at the Zoo). Well done. I look forward to reading the rest.

Let’s all give a big thanks to Tamson for hosting this contest for 12 x 12 participants.  Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who participated.  I learned loads in the process of running the contest, and I hope you all did too.  

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Now that I have your attention, let me make a few announcements about how the drawings will work going forward based upon the experience this time around.

First a couple of reminders.

Reminder #1: In order to be eligible to win one of the 12 x 12 in 2012 giveaways you must 1) be an official member (you should know who you are by now), and 2) leave a comment on the “first of the month” post by that month’s featured author.  So using January as an example, you would have had to sign up for the challenge by January 29th AND have left a comment on Tara Lazar’s (this month’s featured author) January 1st post.

That gets you one point.

Reminder #2: If you want to earn a second point, you must 1) first make yourself eligible for the first point (see above), 2) write a picture book draft in that month, and 3) leave a comment on the monthly check-in post on the last day of the month stating that you wrote a draft.  You do NOT need to submit a draft of your manuscript or write a post on your own blog in order to be eligible for the second point.  Using January again as an example, you would have received another point if you completed the requirements of #1, and then completed a draft and let us know in the comments section of the check-in post I put up on January 31st.

The drawings will work this way each month.

I am adding a new requirement going forward.  If your blog comments come up with anything other than your first AND last name, you must also leave your name in both your comment on the first of the month post and the check-in post.  Some people’s comments show up as their blog names, a nickname, or a first name only.  This makes it very difficult to determine who is who without checking URLs, going back to the sign-up sheet, etc., thereby drastically increasing the workload associated with sorting out points.  This new requirement will be effective starting with the February monthly check-in post on the 29th.  However, if you have already left your comment on February author George Shannon’s post, I would GREATLY appreciate it if you could go back and check to see how your name comes up.  If it is anything other than your first AND last name, please reply to your own comment and leave your full name. Thanks a gajillion.

Now, onto the moment you’ve all been waiting for… The winner of this month’s giveaway, a critique from the lovely Tara Lazar IS …..

MONICA LeMASTER !!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations Monica, and to EVERYONE who completed a draft in January.  What a great start to the year!!

Monica, I will forward your email to Tara so the two of you can determine next steps.  Congratulations again.

Keep writing everyone!!!

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At last! At last! 12 x 12 in 2012 is here!!

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you had a great celebration to ring in the New Year.  I also hope that after you are finished watching football and nursing whatever *ahem* hangover you might have, you are ready for DAY ONE of the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, fire up your laptops, your tablets, your PCs because today you may start writing your first picture book draft for the challenge!

Here to kick us off is none other than author Tara Lazar – the founder of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo).  I am so tickled to have Tara here today because it is she, after all, who set us on this path by having us set down all those great ideas in November.  To make it even sweeter, Tara is offering one lucky 12 x 12er a picture book critique. Hooray!

To enter to win the critique, you must be an official challenger and have signed the form as explained here.  Then, leave a comment on this post any time during the month of January for one point.  On the last day of the month, we’ll check in and if you completed a picture book draft, you can comment there to get another point.  I will draw a winner using Random.org and announce on February 2nd.

Now, Take it Away Tara!

What better place to begin the 12×12 challenge than at the end?

Seriously—the end of your story.

Most of us know the importance of the first line in hooking the reader. Well, the end is where you can lose them—forever.

At the end, your entire story can fall apart. Splat flat on its face. Writing a wondrous 450 words means nothing if the last 50 are wimpy. Your reader will shove your story back on the shelf with a mere “meh.”

The key to writing a memorable picture book, a best-seller, is not in its readability but its re-readability. Parents aren’t going to plunk down $16 on something their kids will only want to experience once. You’ve got to punch-up the ending.

As a creative writing major in college, I rarely finished a story (and somehow they gave me a diploma anyway). I thought there was some mystical formula for ending a story that the professors were holding hostage. I was waiting for someone to tell me what to do. No one explained that you finish a story by…well…finishing it. Don’t let it linger. Sit down and get’r’done!

Now I realize that’s not great advice. So I’m going to tell you three things about endings that I wish I knew back then.

  1. Wrap presents—not endings—with neat little bows.
    When in life is any solution so tidy? Crossing all your i’s and dotting all your t’s—strike that, reverse it—tends to feel unsatisfying because it’s too easy, too clean. It’s not honest. So be careful about making everything scream “happily ever after.” Leave a little opening for your readers to crawl through and explore what happens next. Let their imagination tie up the loose ends.
  2.  The circular ending can be clever and fun.
    As you approach the conclusion of your story, re-read the beginning. Is there any way to echo the opening, to bring the characters back to where they started, but have them arrive as changed beings? They’ve taken an emotional journey and they’re not the same characters they were a few hundred words ago, so what about the beginning has changed at the end? In my picture book THE MONSTORE, one of the final lines is the same as the opening line, with just a few key word changes that make it totally different. And the reader can imagine another story jumping off from this old-but-new sentence.
  3. The twist extends the story beyond the story.
    Bringing a twist to the end means you’re adding something unexpected that leaves room for more story to happen once the book is closed. Remember point #1 above? The twist tangles the loose ends. Think of CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Was the story over when the cows and chickens got their electric blankets? Nooooo. The clever duck never brought the typewriter back! And the flock demanded a diving board! Hilarious! So think about what little twist you can tack onto your story to give a final guffaw. A story that ends on a smile guarantees it will be read again and again.

Tara Lazar is a picture book author, mother, foodie and boogeyman assassin, currently booked at 3am nightly. She’s the creator of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoidMo), the picture book writer’s alternative to NaNoWriMo, held every November on her blog at http://taralazar.wordpress.com. Her first two picture books, THE MONSTORE and I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK will be released by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster in 2013 and 2014. Follow her kidlit capers at http://twitter.com/taralazar.

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I have now officially made it farther through the program than I have on my previous two attempts, so that’s an achievement already!

Week 3 Theme: “Recovering a Sense of Power.”  This week deals with being open to opportunities and accepting gifts that come in the form of synchronicity.  By committing to our creative power, doors will open.  We need to walk through them.  We also need to avoid self-sabotage and the sometimes savage criticism of others – especially with our early work.  Cameron spends a lot of time discussing the difference between constructive and useless criticism.  We need to be very self-protective of our inner artists and avoid the second kind like the plague.  It made me thankful, again, for my very constructive critique partners!

Morning Pages: Yes! They now feel natural to me, although I must admit I was tempted to hit the snooze button this morning…

Artist Date:  After first seeing it with my cousin over the weekend, I went by myself for a second viewing of the movie Breaking Dawn.  Go ahead and laugh.  I’ll wait…

Finished?  Great.  Yes, I will admit I loved the Twilight series.  You laughing can’t possibly be more embarrassing than a 40 year-old woman showing up at the theater alone to watch a movie about hunky teenage vampires, believe me.  I think that’s the first time I’ve ever gone to a movie alone period.  At first it felt uncomfortable, but then I enjoyed it.  I never get to see movies otherwise, so I might start going more often now that I have the artist date as an excuse. 🙂

And yes, I am well aware of the debate surrounding the quality of the writing in the books.  True, it is not Pulitzer Prize winning prose.  Stephenie Meyer has taken that fact straight to the bank.  The movies have been pretty cheesy so far too.

But what Meyer (and now the movies) did do was create one of the greatest pieces of escapist fiction that’s come along in ages.  What girl doesn’t love an epic star-crossed love story where the hero is a sparkly Adonis with great hair and superpowers?  Were it not for the second half of Breaking Dawn – both the book and the movie – it would be a perfect fairy tale.  SPOILER ALERT: Because I’m here to tell you, I don’t care how much you love somebody, it’s no woman’s fantasy to get pregnant on her honeymoon and end up having her half-human/half-vampire baby break her bones in utero and then need to have said baby chewed out of the womb.  Ew.

In short, it was fun, and that’s at least part of what an Artist Date is supposed to be about right?

Any “Aha” Moments?  I felt inexplicably sad and anxious at various times during the week.  Cameron says that’s to be expected as you get “deeper” into your creative recovery.  I’m still not sure what is behind those feelings for me though.  I just lived with them rather than chasing them down.  I also suppose that was another reason why escaping into Breaking Dawn felt like a welcome break.

A few favorite quotes from the Week 3 chapter:

“I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something.  Say, instead, that you are doing it.  Then fasten your seat belt.  The most remarkable things follow.”

“As artists, we cannot control all the criticism will well receive… We can learn not to deny and stuff our feelings when we have been artistically savaged.”

“We must learn that when our art reveals a secret of the human soul, those watching it may try to shame us for making it.”

“Do it.  Creativity is the only cure for criticism.”

Criticism can indeed be harmful. I have one piece I wrote that got ripped to shreds in a public forum (although thankfully I wasn’t identified as the author).  That piece was very close to my heart, and I was shattered by the criticism.  This happened almost two years ago, and I have not shared that piece with one other person since then – or done anything else with it.  This week’s work is opening me to the idea that I’ve made it worse by accepting and believing the remarks rather than resolving to move forward.  Have you ever had such an experience?

Week 2 Check-In

Week 1 Check-In

The Artist’s Way

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After celebrating my 2nd Blogiversary, I now have to report a blog fail: I completely forgot to post the results of the contest on Thanksgiving, as I had promised.  Between meal preparation, blogfests and traveling yesterday, it completely slipped my mind.  So note to self: don’t plan to announce contests on holidays.

So, without further adieu, here are the lucky winners:

  1. Lori Mozdzierz
  2. Jarm Del Boccio

Both of you requested a critique rather than the gift card, and I would be happy to provide a critique for each of you.  Email me your manuscripts (full picture book or first 10 pages) when you are ready to jhedlund33 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Thank you again to everyone who left comments and participated in the contest.  I truly appreciate your support of the blog and look forward to many more years of Write Up My Life!!

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I wish I could give you all a chocolate covered doughnut. Heck, I wish I could give myself one!

So. As of today I’ve been blogging for 2 years. Thank you all for putting up with me hanging out with me and making this blog a pure joy to write.  I could write all day about what this blog has meant to me, but I’d rather make it a celebration of YOU – the reader.  So let’s start with a giveaway, shall we?

There are two items up for grabs (get it? The repetition of the “2” theme??).  First is a $25 Amazon gift certificate.  I figure as the holiday season rushes in, everyone could make use of this.  Second is a critique from yours truly – either a picture book manuscript or the first 10 pages of a work in any other genre.  For both I will provide a “big picture” analysis of what is working well in your manuscript and areas that need attention.  I will also provide line by line comments.  You should come away with some concrete steps you can take to improve your work.

So how do you win?  First, you must be a follower of the blog. If you are a new follower, please tell me how you follow – email, RSS, Networked Blogs, etc.  Second (see how we’re still on the “2” theme?), I have asked four questions in this post (Four being 2 x 2).  To enter the contest, you must you leave a comment and answer at least one of the questions.  For each question you answer, you will receive one point.  For those of you who are keeping track, that means you can earn a maximum of four points.  (I know, I know.  You’re all saying to yourselves: “Wow, she can write AND do advanced math!!!).  Please also tell me which of the two items you’d like.  I’d appreciate tweets but unfortunately I’m not going to count them as points this time because it’s Thanksgiving week and I’m trying to keep things simple for both you and me.  You have until next Wednesday, November 23rd to enter.  I’ll announce the winners on Thanksgiving Day! Now that’s something to be thankful for…

Last year, I asked four questions that came from a post entitled, 8 Critical Questions You Should Ask Yourself as a Blogger.  I only got 7 responses, so it didn’t give me much of a sense of what my blog readers really think.  Since my number of followers has grown quite a bit this year (woo hoo!), and the questions are still very relevant and important to me, I figured I’d try again. In order to gear up for the next year of blogging, I’d like to hear more about you and what you would like to see on this blog (and blogs in general).  So here goes:

1.  Are you blogging about your passion?

This is an easy yes for me.  I am passionate about writing, certainly, but I am also passionate about my family, my dog, nature, reading, cooking, traveling, etc.  I try to balance posts about writing and posts about my life.  This year, for example, I chronicled my family’s stay in Italy this summer as well as launching a series for writers – How I Got My Agent.  I enjoy writing about a range of topics and fear I’d get bored (and the blog would suffer) if I limited myself to writing.  BUT, I would like to know if you think the my passion comes through in my blog posts, regardless of the subject du jour.  Should I be putting more personality/passion in the posts or I am I already at risk of revealing TMI?

2.  Do you know your audience?

Some of the sub-questions here ask whether you know what your readers want and don’t want and whether they find your posts useful.  I believe my most active readers/followers are fellow writers, but I also know that I have quite a few non-writer followers who don’t comment as often but read most of the posts.  I try to serve both audiences without being schizophrenic.  So I ask you, if you are a writer, do you still enjoy the more personal posts?   If you are not a writer, do your eyes glaze over when you read the writing posts, or do I manage to make them interesting to you?

3.  Are you building a community?

I think so.  I try to ask thought-provoking questions at the end of most posts to get people excited to engage in a conversation.  I joined the third Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign, participated in a few blogfests and attended Kristen Lamb’s blogging course.  I’m on Twitter and Facebook.  I do giveaways here and there.  Are there other things I could do to “up” the community quotient of the blog?

4.  Are you solving your reader’s problems?

Let me be frank.  I can barely solve my own problems, so I doubt if I will be able to solve yours.  If I had all the answers, I’d probably be a multi-published author bringing money in hand over fist right now.  If I had all the answers, my kids would behave perfectly at all times, my cakes would never sag in the middle, I’d weigh about 20 lbs less and my house would be featured in Architectural Digest. In the meantime, I hope that as I flounder, learn, flounder some more, and then learn some more, that my posts about that process are helpful to you too.  It’s not so much “misery loves company” as “company alleviates misery,” so let’s stick together.  Do my posts provide help or inspiration to you, and what do you think would make them more helpful?

Now for some totally useless statistics.  Last year I posted my top five most-visited posts and my top five favorites and thought it would be fun to do it again.  It’s interesting how in both years there was no overlap between the two.

Top Posts (post with greatest number of hits)

  1. 100 Random Things – every day I get at least one “random things to write about” search reference that brings someone to the blog.
  2. Osama bin Laden’s Death – No surprise here.  I got more than 800 hits the day the post went live.  Controversy sells.
  3. How I Got My Agent: Corey Schwartz – Go Corey! Not only is she a terrific writer, but she was the first brave soul to participate in this series.
  4. How to Write a Winning Query
  5. How I Got My Agent: Tara Lazar – Go Tara! Our own PiBoIdMo organizer and another fantastic writer.

Top Five Personal Favorites

  1. On Impermanence
  2. Here Piggy, Piggy
  3. Adam Rex Rocks the House
  4. Yes, I Do Believe in Miracles
  5. The Long and Winding Road

Last, but not least, I have a public service announcement.  Fellow picture book author Susanna Leonard Hill has started a wonderful new Friday feature called, Perfect Picture Book Friday.  In the same vein as Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, folks passionate about picture books will choose one and provide a short synopsis and a note on what they like about the book.  So go visit her to find some amazing picture books.  I will be participating myself starting next Friday.

Whether you comment on this post or not, THANKS FOR READING!  I appreciate each and every one of you.

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Thanks to everyone who commented on my original entry for the Show Me the Voice Blogfest.  This is the revised version (of the first 250 words) that I submitted:

Title: Foodoo

Genre: Picture Book Fiction

Ginny McMaudy loved all kinds of thrills,
Like riding her bike over towering hills,
Smacking a cannonball into the pool,
Swashbuckling swords in a pirate ship duel.

Turning a cartwheel with balance and grace.
Fooling the pitcher and stealing third base.
But one thrill that Ginny still wanted to try?
An amusement park ride with a track to the sky.

Brian rode last year while she circled ‘round
On kiddie rides barely four feet off the ground.
This year she knew she would conquer that ‘coaster.
This year her brother would not get to roast her.

She raced Brian down to the Beck’s County Fair,
And waited in line for the ‘coaster called DARE.
Brian said, “Shorty, you won’t get to ride.”
“Just watch me,” said Ginny, and shoved him aside.

Ginny flushed red when she got turned away.
Worse, she watched Brian ride ten times that day.
Denied her first ride… what a whale of a bummer.
She grumbled, but vowed to grow tall by next summer.

“I might need to try an enchantment or two,
Or whip up a potion of TALLESTNESS brew…”
Ginny tried every known type of elixir.
Not even one of them managed to fix her.

She chanted a growth spell while waving her arms.
She dug a deep hole and buried six charms.
She danced round in circles; her head got all buzzy.
She read books on tallness; Her eyeballs went fuzzy.

One book advised, “To grow tall like Paul Bunyan,
Try bathing in fruit juice or suck on an onion…

I’ll find out on Thursday if I’m one of the 20 finalists who will get a chance to win a critique with Natalie Fischer.  Good luck to everyone who participated.  I had a great time reading the entries – lots of talent out there!  Thanks again for your help and support!

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