Learning to read is hard work. After we have learned to decode words, read with fluency and comprehend, we are ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We can jump into real books and explore their endless ideas. Some people never start reading books. They choose to join the ranks of those who can read, but don't. This blog offers some help with that "jumping up" part. Books can add joy for a lifetime. Don't miss out!
Before we begin to examine the setting of my latest writing project, Jessie's Journey, I want to extend a warm welcome to our brand new audience from Spain. You represent the 44th country in my pageview stats provided by Blogger for www.jumpup2chapterbooks.blogspot.com. Learning to read is really a universal need. It's amazing, isn't it?
The setting of a story is sometimes divided into three parts; time, place, and mood or atmosphere.
The time element in Jessie's Journey was partly developed in my earlier book, Pomegranate (Agent C Series). As I explained in the previous post, Jessie was introduced in that book as Percy's friend.
The Prologue of Pomegranate reveals thatPercy's storytakes place nine years after the great Techno-Crash. In other words, it is futuristic. In Chapter 13 of Pomegranate, we discover that Jessie has moved away from her friend, but now their stories continue in Jessie's Journey.
We have also move forward in time a bit, perhaps a year or more.
Jessie is living in a different place with her mother and her twin sisters. Her only means of communication with her friend Percy is through their electronic journals that they call "Pomegranates". That seems to indicate that they live some distance away from each other.
Themood and atmosphere at the beginning of our story might be described as desperate. After Jessie finds herself alone, she returns to her love of technology. Unlike the people in her life who always seemed to let her down, computers have remained consistent and undemanding. However she has trouble feeling the same kind of trust for people.
Two of these three, the place and mood or atmosphere will begin to shift and change as our story progresses.
And of course, time marches on.
Now for a bit of business. I have made some changes to the availability of my eBooks. All eight titles are now offered exclusively for Kindles on Amazon.com. I signed an agreement with them for at least 90 days, and after that I will decide whether or not to resume sales through Barnes and Noble for their Nook.
I will notify you if I make any further changes around the beginning of March, 2013.
My current eight eBook titles on Amazon.com for Kindles are:
In the Mind of a Cat, by Lynda, a picture book about my cat, Topper
Circles in the Wind, by Lynda, a picture book about the life cycle of a dandelion
Monkey Tales, by Lynda, for a beginning reader
Margaret's Christmas Cookies, by Lynda, a short chapter book for middle-grade readers
Tiny Others (Agent C Series), by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers
Pomegranate (Agent C Series), by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers
Lucky Alana (Agent C Series), by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers
White Rabbit Time (Agent C Series), by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers
Next time we will examine some of the characters in Jessie's Journey.
My newest project is another "Agent C" chapter book entitled Jessie's Journey.
The art work has progressed through four steps. All of them involve either the cover or the inside title page.
This one is an early sketch for the cover design:
Initially, I had thought that the following image of the cover was finished. Do you notice anything missing?
It was missing a sticker that all of the books in my "Agent C Series" have on their covers. This is how it looked with the sticker added:
Then using the same basic design without some of the detail, I created the following inside title page:
If I follow my current plan, the book will have eighteen chapters. Each will have its own illustration, but my text guides me in the decisions about artwork, and the text is not finished. Thus, the illustrations have to wait.
Let me tell you more about the text...
It begins with the idea, then progresses to one simple statement called the story line:
This story is about ________ (name of main character) who wants _______(what) more than anything, but can't get it because _______ (what prevents her?)
The story line for Jessie's book would read something like:
"This story is about Jessie, who passionately wants to become more involved with technology, but she can't because there are real people who depend upon her."
I have written a chapter-by-chapter outline which I may not follow completely. However, it includes most of the story details I plan to use.
The short prologue that I've written might not be used either. That's another decision for later.
Chapter 1 has been finished (?) as a rough draft.
So that's where I am with this project. It all takes time, and I can't hurry it. From this point on a story seems to have a mind of its own. It speaks to me when I'm taking my daily walks.
Jessie's character first appeared in Pomegranate (Agent C Series) as Percy's friend.
After Percy described her as a "joyful rebel", I decided that Jessie was a character who deserved further study. When she moved away from Percy, I was determined to find her again and allow her to tell her own story. Jessie's Journey is the result.
Next time I will begin to discuss some additional writing approaches that I use with story elements, starting with an explanation of the setting (time and place) in Jessie's Journey.
The obvious source of the ideas for my chapter book, White Rabbit Time, is Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. If your contact with Alice is limited to the Disney movies, please let me remind you that a ninety-some minute film cannot tell the entire story. (However, movies usually do have music and popcorn.)
Carroll's real books offer exposure to additional characters like Humpty Dumpty. Did you know that HH is in the original version? HH also appears in White Rabbit Time.
An "Imagining Connections" page follows the story text in WRT andprovides a list of thirty-one elements found in both Louis Carroll's books and mine.
Of course, the story is very different. Where the original Wonderland setting is either at the bottom of a rabbit hole or in a mirror's reflection, the setting of WRT is Wondermart, a huge "anything and everything" kind of a store. (Do you recognize a connecting element there?)
And my own eBook's message comes from my experiences. As a child, I was given lots of time to explore my interests and abilities. I loved creating things, and remember making tiny doll-house dishes from mud. When they were dry, I painted them with an inexpensive watercolor set--the kind with eight or ten pads of paint in a tin box.
I didn't take classes to learn the correct way to do things. I just followed my curiosity and interests. I also wrote my first "novel" in sixth grade on theme paper. I kept it hidden away on a high shelf in my bedroom. I sometimes wonder what ever became of it. As I recall, the chapters rambled a lot.
As was the case with many girls at that time, I wasn't particularly enchanted with athletics, though I shared a boy's bicycle with my brothers. My parents purchased a "family ticket" to our city swimming pool every summer, and I loved to climb trees. I took one series of tennis lessons at the city park before deciding that it was not a biggie for me. However, I was not inactive either, and my weight was never a concern in those days.
I read a lot of books (also comics and newspapers), and the books mostly came from our city and school libraries. I explored every corner of those magical "transports of the mind".
So when I grew up, I had a healthy imagination, a creative spirit, and a wealth of naturally acquired knowledge; the tools I needed to write, illustrate, and publish eBooks for kids.
Others will find different paths in life, but the point is, each of us needs have the time and opportunities to seek our own way. Structured classes may help, but they need to be balanced and limited to children's interests. Kids need time to "dabble".
Am I ranting? I won't apologize for my passion about this. It is too important.
Margaret's Christmas Cookies is currently offered as a free download for your Kindles on Amazon.com. This promotion is only effective November 10 and 11. MCC is a short holiday chapter book for middle-grade readers (reading level 4.8), but it would also be a nice early holiday gift for families. Time is short, but if you miss this promo, the book will still be available on Amazon.com for $2.99.
I think that concludes this series of posts about where my story ideas come from.
Next time I will give you a progress report on my next eBook, Jessie's Journey. I am just getting a good start on it.
In the mean time, please feel free to click on the following link to my other blog. The current post is about my recommended eBooks about strong, independent children. My own Margaret's Christmas Cookies is one of the featured recommendations. www.ebooks4kids.blogspot.com.