The February love month has come again, and so has the Susanna Hill's Valentiny Contest, where story writers have a week to write a story that is 214 words or less. This year the contest theme is "proud." Any character in the story must share a connection with pride or being proud and also connecting to Valentines Day.
I have found contests to be a great help to my creativity. It really helps to have some direction when writing and though it is always nice to write whatever we want, it is a creative stretching practice to write for an agent or editor's wish list. Or a contest! It is also so amazing to see how different all the stories are from the same topic.
I started this story last year with the title during Story Storm with Tara Lazar, this is a great writer's exercise too! Every January you are inspired with her daily posts from picture book creators who share their ideas about writing picture books. I came up with my 30 ideas and a few extra. I chose 12-15 of my favorites to work on.
Then, I joined 12x12 a writing website dedicated to helping writers get better each month by writing a new picture book each month of the year. This group helps immensely by offering critiques and feedback from other invested writers. As well as other writer perks so check them out. I tried all year to write my story, Dove Letters. I came up with several attempts but I just was not satisfied.
It wasn't until the next Susanna Hill Valentiny Contest that I figured out my story. There is something about a deadline and connecting a theme that brings out a new story. I had researched love letters during the year. But nothing really seemed right. The deadline was approaching and then I just decided to write a love letter to my husband for all the fun we have and what I like about him.
My story Dove Letters can be found on the Susanna Hill Valentiny Contest link above. My entry number is #71. Thanks for checking it out. The best thing about this contest is that I now have another story that I feel is quite ready to query to agents and editors.