#SummerSparks Day 11 – Pieces

Summer Sparks Day 11

Pieces
by Tracey M. Cox

Jigsaw_Puzzle.svg.medDo you like putting together puzzles? I do. You start with a bajillion pieces, all scattered before you. Then, before you know it, you notice some of them are similar. Maybe one side is flat. These pieces, the colors all match. Or this group can make a face. So you begin to group them together. The pieces neatly fit here and there. Over there and over there. Look at that piece. It can go over with the first group.

Well we do the same thing as writers. We come up with a great idea. We are excited as we dump it out before us, but with this one idea things can get jumbled. So we…

1. Come up with a character. Every story has a character. So what makes yours special? Do they have super abilities? Are they fearless? Maybe a wild imagination. You can also determine fears. Name your character and have a conversation with them. Find out their likes and dislikes. Do they have certain mannerisms that spill over in how they react with people? Coming up with you main character can be as complicated as you want. They can be a boy or a girl, an animal or an alien, or something combined. Nailing down your character will help your story come together.

Jigsaw_puzzle_piece.svg.med

2. We need a setting! Where does this story take place? You can have it take place in a back yard. Maybe it’s on a farm where there are emus. Or you can be in the city and have the noise and hub-bub of the city racing by. Or you can be in the park and have a picnic or be there for a Little League game. OR you can be in outer space blasting around, searching for aliens. Maybe your character is the alien and you are exploring Earth and trying to figure out Earthlings. The main thing is every story needs to take place somewhere. Make sure your readers will be able to visualize where you are seeing.

jigsaw_red_16.svg.med3. Challenge, every story has challenges. Ahh. The problem. The DREADED problem. So what does you character have to over come? A new sibling? Trying to get rid of a dragon! Maybe there is something they fear, like heights or talking in front of people. What if there is a bully who makes fun of them. Problems are like our characters. They come in all shapes and sizes, but they challenge our characters and make them grow in a way that will leave the reader rooting for them and want to read your book again and again.

jigsaw_green_05.svg.med4. Backstory. Let’s not forget the juicy details. Some of this information won’t every appear in your story. BUT knowing the backstory of your character and their challenges, along with the setting in which it takes place can be very important to how you character will react. Does you child have a family? What about brothers or sisters? Do they really love a certain food and HAVE to have it with every meal? What about clothes… how do they dress? What do they like to wear. Most things don’t make the final edit, but for me make it easier to write my story when I know the details.

Now you may sort and piece together you story differently, and that’s okay. There is no formula on piecing together a great story. Mix it up see what catches you eye. Before you know it all those patterns and colors will come together and make a great story.

pattern-puzzle-jigsaw-1.svg.med

 

SPARK:

So lets create some pieces. Grab a piece of paper and fold it into thirds long ways. Your first column will be character. Your second column will be setting. Your third problem will be challenge.

Go down each column and write ideas down for each. For character you may come up with: clown, fish, bat, boy, girl, dog, cupcake, car. For setting you may come up with: city, farm, table, school, pond, city pool. For challenge you may come up with: bully, heights, waiting, missing, water, disease, broken. You can use my ideas and expand on them, if you like. Now cut them up into individual pieces. In separate piles, gather together each ‘piece’ of your story. Give a good mix and randomly pick out a piece from each pile. No matter how crazy or odd the combination may be, come up with an idea.

Repeat for new ideas! These pieces, unlike a normal puzzle, are inner changeable.   🙂

About Tracey:

Tracey2

Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is traditionally published with six picture books out. This Summer, her 7th picture book, The Children at the Playground, will be published by Xist Publishing.
Tracey is the host of Summer Sparks author, platform building consultant, and offers a critique service. Read more about her at www.traceymcox.com.

LINKS:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
PB Reviews

#GIVEAWAY 2# <—  Yes, #2!

Tracey will be giving away a one hour platform consult at the end of the challenge. COMMENT ON THIS POST to qualify for any give away. *you will need to comment on every give away post*.
TWEET – about this giveaway.
FACEBOOK – post about this giveaway too!!!

Click  —>  a Rafflecopter giveaway   <— to enter giveaway!

 

:::LEAVE A COMMENT:::
Let me know, are you participating in this years #SummerSparks writing challenge?
How did your puzzle making go?

 

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

2015 Summer Sparks post:

  1. Family Celebration by Tracey M. Cox
  2. Back Where I Come From by Tracey M. Cox
  3. The Benefits of Playdough: Molding your PB Idea Into A Story by Donna L. Martin
  4. Go Jump In a Lake by Tracey M. Cox
  5. Take a Vacay! by Tracey M. Cox
  6. How to Rhyme Right in a Picture Book Manuscript by Nancy Raines Day
  7. Don’t You Know that You Are a Shooting Star? by Tracey M. Cox
  8. Sun Burst by Tracey M. Cox
  9. Writing Tips from the Big Bad Writer by Pat Miller
  10. Get Out! by Tracey M. Cox
  11. Pieces by Tracey M. Cox
  12. Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson
  13. Do the Twist by Tracey M. Cox
  14. Celebrate! by Tracey M. Cox

#SummerSparks Day 8 – Sun Burst

Summer Sparks Day 8Sun Burst
by: Tracey M. Cox

Oh Myyyy! We are into our second-half of #SummerSparks already!!! I can’t believe it. I hope your ideas have been sparking and maybe a few have been on fi-ahhh!

For the last part of the challenge, my post will be about different techniques I use to help me come up with different ideas.

Sun burst is a great way to come up with random ideas. They are also called cloud bunch or branching out. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. In the middle of the page write a random word
  2. Around that word, write words that associate with the 1st word.
  3. Around those words, write words which associate with them.
  4. And so on and so forth

Try not to think about it. Go as fast as you can. By doing this, you will begin to see one of more words get a lot of association. Now how can you incorporate this into a story? The great thing about this exercise, is that what you write about may or may not have anything to do with your original idea.

SPARK:

Get a piece of paper. In the center write the word : banana 
Now, see where it will lead you.  🙂

About Tracey:

Tracey2

Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is traditionally published with six picture book out. This Summer, her 7th picture book, The Children at the Playground, will be published by Xist Publishing.
Tracey is the host of Summer Sparks author, platform building consultant, and offers a critique service. Read more about her at www.traceymcox.com.

LINKS:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
PB Reviews

#GIVEAWAY 2# <—  Yes, #2!

Tracey will be giving away a one hour platform consult at the end of the challenge. COMMENT ON THIS POST to qualify for any give away. *you will need to comment on every give away post*.
TWEET – about this giveaway.
FACEBOOK – post about this giveaway too!!!

Click  —>  a Rafflecopter giveaway   <— to enter giveaway!

 

:::LEAVE A COMMENT:::
Let me know, are you participating in this years #SummerSparks writing challenge?
Where did your Sun Burst exercise lead you?

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

2015 Summer Sparks post:

  1. Family Celebration by Tracey M. Cox
  2. Back Where I Come From by Tracey M. Cox
  3. The Benefits of Playdough: Molding your PB Idea Into A Story by Donna L. Martin
  4. Go Jump In a Lake by Tracey M. Cox
  5. Take a Vacay! by Tracey M. Cox
  6. How to Rhyme Right in a Picture Book Manuscript by Nancy Raines Day
  7. Don’t You Know that You Are a Shooting Star? by Tracey M. Cox
  8. Sun Burst by Tracey M. Cox
  9. Writing Tips from the Big Bad Writer by Pat Miller
  10. Get Out! by Tracey M. Cox
  11. Pieces by Tracey M. Cox
  12. Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson
  13. Do the Twist by Tracey M. Cox
  14. Celebrate! by Tracey M. Cox