What gets our attention? Often, it's the thing out of place, the unexpected. Like this duck up a tree. I see ducks paddling along, leaving rippling wakes. Sometimes, they're tail up, looking underwater for some delectable or they're waddling along the shoreline. Although I've seen video of odd ducks who nest in trees and make their ducklings leap out, free-falling to the ground (well-padded), I've never seen a duck in a tree. Hence the photo.
This got me to thinking how the best stories surprise us, make us do a double-take or sit back and ponder. A good writing experiment would be to comb through our stories looking for places we could put our characters up a tree--metaphorically, of course.
HUGE CONTEST ALERT
Okay, so I really want to whisper instead of shout this, because everyone with a picture book manuscript is going to jump at this chance, and I so want to win!
Dear Editor (Deborah Halverson) is celebrating her six-month online anniversary with a free picture book edit. This is truly amazing for the winner. Deborah was an editor with Harcourt Children's Books for a decade.
If you aren't reading her regularly, you're missing out on lots of advice about writing and the industry.
The rules for this contest are a picture book for ages three to eight, text only and no longer than 2K. Deadline is midnight PST Oct. 10. Specifics on how to enter are on her site.
Right now I'm feeling laptop love. I've been away from home--unexpectedly up a tree--for days due to a family situation. It's raining and I'm listening to the soft patter and putting up this post. The view from the tree limb is pretty good, actually.