Storystorm Day 28: Idea 28

So today was the Chinese New Year. Welcome to the year of the Rooster!

And I thought it could be fun to write a story starring the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

They already come with their own characteristics and they’re even separated into five tribes based on the elements of nature: earth, water, wood, fire and metal.

So there are characters and possibly a conflict: Which element is strongest?

There could be a story here.

There actually might already have been a story here. I did not check if this has been done before.

Storystorm Day 27: Idea 27

If you’ve been following along for the 26 days of story ideas, you probably know I try to tell stories that mean something. And as often as I can, I try to tell stories that mean something about people coming together for something good.

Well, today’s story idea will be one of those ideas because today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day we reflect on what hate and evil can do when left unchecked and the importance of being good to each other, especially those being persecuted.

The Holocaust and World War II in general was one of the most defining moments of all time. The UN was born out of it. America’s role as a world leader was established. And many countries used it as an impetus to commit itself to fight hate. Unfortunately, the defining moment is passing as more and more people are forgetting or purposefully erasing the memory of the Holocaust, or trying to warp the lessons of it. So I believe it’s important to keep the story of the Holocaust alive, and writing a children’s book that plants the seed of being united against hate and evil in the fertile mind of the young is a great avenue to do that.

This will be hard for me, though, because I don’t like to destroy the innocence of children, so while I think it’s important to tell a true story, because it’s so hard to believe, these stories need to be told, I don’t think I could do it.

The story I could tell would be a metaphor of the Martin Niemoller poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me- and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

Though, I would like to add to the idea, because it’s not enough, in my mind, to help Others because they can one day help you. It’s important to help Others because it’s right. That’s the story I want to tell.  In fact now that I’ve typed all this out, I think I have a title: The Others, and possibly a completely different direction for the story…

Storystorm Day 26: Idea 26

Today’s idea came from a conversation about writing technique. Another writer was telling me about how she doesn’t think too much about her stories before she writes. She has the idea and just starts putting it down and lets the story go where it will. And so she didn’t consider herself a “trained writer.”

Well, I can’t think of a worse thing than a “trained writer.”

That’s not true at all. I can think of so many worse things, including blowing nothings out of proportion.

But I still thought the idea of a trained writer like a trained dog was an interesting idea. And there is this market for meta picture books about picture books, so I thought about a dog writer that is trained to write the most predictable stories. The dog wants to write stories where the main character chases its own tail or jumps on the furniture, but fights the urge to follow its training. But after realizing those stories are the not the stories it was supposed to tell, the dog lets its character chase after that car and go wild.

And yes, I am aware the very image I used for this post should have made me realize that this idea isn’t that completely original, but I’m sticking with it.

Storystorm Day 25: Idea 25

It took 25 days, but I have now circled around on ideas. The good news is I have fleshed out an idea from earlier in the month, the bad news is I spent the day thinking I had a new idea when I did not.

So here’s an idea I came up with earlier in the month with another idea and have been keeping in my back pocket.

It’s a bout a kid who wants to wear his/her parents shoes. Of course they don’t fit yet, but the kid wears them anyway and tries to follow in his/her parents’ footsteps.

As s/he grows older, the shoes fit somewhat better as they are better able to follow what their parents do, until the kid actually catches up to the parents and can fit them perfectly.

And at that point, the parents give the kid his/her own pair of shoes to blaze their own path.

There’s a reason it was kept in the back pocket…

Storystorm Day 24: Idea 24

So apparently January 24th is National Compliment Day.  And it couldn’t come soon enough. We could use a day that forces us to look for something good in everyone else. Especially people we’re in opposition to.

So what if someone who is picked on- or maybe they’re the antagonist, and is cursed to live the line, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

If the kid wants to communicate anything, s/he has to say nice, even about people s/he does not like at all. And when forced to look for the good in someone, the child learns there is good in everyone. And that’s a good place to start in coming to understand the people s/he thinks are just the worst.

Storystorm Day 23: Idea 23

With all the “fake news” going around and this phenomena of half the world believing something so strongly and the other half believing something else, I wanted to write something about belief.

Some of the best things in the world, like Santa Claus, and some of the worst things, like the Boogeyman, are things no one can prove and that helps keep the belief alive. Because even as an adult, you kind of want to believe Santa Claus is real, so you keep a small place alive deep inside you, amidst the part of you that says, “Of course, Santa’s not real.” that says, “But maybe…”

And I want to tell a story about that power of belief, and the power of it. Or a story about that little place we keep inside us. Maybe it’s lost and we want it back…

 

Storystorm Day 22: Idea 22

I admit I’ve really been limping to the finish line, here. I’ve almost completely forgot to do this for the past couple of days.

I spent the day with a lot of kids of different ages, and I noticed how older kids act like they’re so much more mature than little kids. And by the way, by older I mean like 6 years old and by younger I mean 4 years old. And I had an idea for a story about a kid being bothered incessantly by this little pest. This thing won’t leave the child alone and the child finally just gives in. It gives the pest what it wants and acts so superior… and then the child goes to his parents and pesters his/her parents for something.

Maybe this isn’t a story for kids, as much as for adults…

Storystorm Day 20: Idea 20

I know I said yesterday I didn’t want to get political here, but I was pretty much all over the inauguration today so where else am I going to get my inspiration from.

And today, after Trump’s speech, a Rabbi stood up and spoke (I wish I could remember his name to give him proper credit) and spoke of the idea that it’s not our job to finish something. Some things are too big for us to see to completion. But it is our job to continue the effort and move that thing forward for the next person to carry on. And that gave me an image to start with.

A character finds him/herself on a road. It doesn’t matter how s//he got there. Perhaps they don’t know themselves. But they’re on the road and they’re continuing on this road until s/he comes to the point where the road stops. It’s not the end. It’s clearly just not complete. The character can see there’s further to go, but this is as far as the road has gotten.

The character has three options: 1) Go back. 2)Stay there. 3) Go on. The character wants to go on. There’s so much further to go and so much promise up ahead. So the character picks up work on the road where it was left off.

Perhaps others follow and pick up a shovel as well. But that’s the idea where it is now. Incomplete, but further to go.

Storystorm Day 19: Idea 19

I don’t want to get into politics with these ideas, so I won’t get too deep into this. I’ll just say I read about a letter written by George W. Bush, left for Barack Obama when he came in to take the Oval Office. And there are a few lines I really loved.

  • “Very few know the excitement of the moment and the challenges you will face.”
  • “There will be trying moments. The critics will rage. Your ‘friends’ will disappoint you. But, you will have an Almighty God to comfort you, a family who loves you, and a country that is pulling for you, including me. No matter what comes, you will be inspired by the character and compassion of the people you now lead.”

And also a line from the letter from Bill Clinton to Bush.

  • “The burdens you now shoulder are great but often exaggerated. The sheer joy of doing what you believe is right is inexpressible.”

And that’s a children’s book right. A little Oh the Places You Will Go meets I Wish You More meets The Wonderful Things You Will Be. 

Maybe a whole book written in the words of Presidents about how you (children) have the world in front of you. Do your best. We all know you can.