Monday, November 12, 2007

Ahhh....Something New

Hi girls,

Well, I've started a new story!!! Only gotten half of it written but that's a lot for me so I'm excited. It's based on a true story, actually, about a tortoise that we had just a few months ago. Unfortunately in real life he disappeared, my little ones think he's living happily in the forest but we don't really know where he went. It makes for a good story so I'm taking advantage.
It all started with him seeming totally restless in his glass tank and bumping his head into the wall trying to get out over and over again. It wasn't fun to watch let me tell you. And we all felt really sorry for him so miserable and all. He was what you call a Russian tortoise, and these are known for being incredible escape artists. Believe me this one was! Well, one day we decided to put him out in the yard to run free, if you will, and chomp on some dandolines (their favorite food). Of course we watched him vigilantly and never had a problem with it. Then we had a brainstorm. We put him in our vegetable garden which was enclosed! This of course was before we read on the internet that they can escape from unbelievable places. Well at first he would build up dirt and pebbles and sit on top of them always climbing and climbing on things. All was well so we let him hang out there most of the summer and checked on him a couple of times of day. One day he was gone!!! The walls on the garden are 12inches high and are made of chicken wire! Do you know that that little guy, Samson (named after his strength) got out. My teenage son found him the next day while jogging on the side of the road about a 1/4 mile away! We knew it was him because of his specific markings. We were all happy to have him back, eventhough the kids kind of forgot about him after a while. I mean come on he's a tortoise. He wasn't too entertaining after a while but it was a good alternative to getting a dog, which I would have loved but was not up to. To make a long story short we changed the walls of the garden so he couldn't climb them anymore and made them out of tarp and a little taller. He got out again!!!! and we haven't seen him since. It's sad I know but what's one to do. Anyway here's what I'm working on and I've done a rough sketch of him cruising the grass and dandolines. Let me know your thoughts on the illo and the text if you have time. Sorry about my rambling!!! Here's the beginning of the text:

Bored in his tank with no one in sight,
Samson wants out,
he wants freedom that's right.

He pushes his pebbles and makes a big heap.
All with his hiney and his big

On top of this mound Samson feels tall.
He climbs to get out but then he just falls.

He wants to be free to run through the dew,
to eat some sweet dandolines oh just a few.

They loved him so much when he was brandnew,
so cute and so funny he'd walk and he'd

It's really all Samson could do it was
Oh how they tired of him as he grew.

Samson was sad all alone for a while,
until one fine day a boy showed him a smile.

Are you here for me?
Can it really be?

Oh please pick me up I want to see,
the world all around me,
the flowers the trees,
I'll stay by your side I promise oh please!

He flew through the air held tight by his
Landed quite gently he thought " this is
the sunshine, the grass, soft under my
adventures might follow who else might I meet?"

Crash it came down with a great giant thump,
next to his nose almost gave him a bump!

Quickly he hid deep into his shell.
He was in trouble this he could

"Apples they're falling one by one from the
Bumppety bump they are falling on me!"

"Psst! Psst! Silly Samson this is dangerous ground"
said a dove and a bunny, "just look around!"

"Follow us to the forest you'll be safe far away,
the children won't notice what will they say?"

"Oh! Samson where are you? Where could you be?"
"Oh no we don't think so they're too silly to see,

that you are no fool you just want to be free.
They shouldn't have left you alone by that tree!"

As fast as he could he followed the pair,
bunny hopping ahead the dove low in the air.


  1. Hi Giselle -
    Samson is adorable and I love how carefree the sketch is - just like Samson! Great start.
    The story is adorable too and I think it will make a really sweet PB - what a great story time story!
    I'm not sure if you wanted a little input on the text, but, I thought I'd throw my two cents in if that's okay. So, here goes:
    I love the beginning - it really carries the reader into Samson's carefree world and I love how he tries to climb the fence but falls. Great action, flow and a great play of words.
    I do get a little confused when he meets the boy and then is flying through the air, and then is alone with the animals. It may be because it changes from present to past tense at that point, so I'd just be carefull there. And I'm a little concerned about the boy throwing the turtois through the air - it's sounds a little cruel to me, but, as long the turtois doesn't get hurt, I guess that's okay.
    Other than that, I love the ending and how the rest of the story goes. And I'm sure you'll be shortening it as the dummy progresses, so all will be good!
    Congrats on starting on the new story - I have a few I want to get to, but, Spike first. Good luck with Samson - I can't wait to see the drawings progress - I know they will be fun! Till then - Happy writing and happy drawing! TFN - Chris

  2. Hey Giselle!

    It must feel great to be working on something so fresh and new! Do you miss litte Red at all? I'm usually torn after such a lengthy project; part of me misses the character and part of me is sooo happy to move on! But I see you certainly weren't short on creativity here! It's great that you were able to take a real life situation and turn it into such a personal story.

    I really like the image that you have here. I like how he's not just flat on the ground but titled up a bit, it really gives him a sense that he's loving this new experience. What will be going on at the bottom of the page? It's a bit bare now, unless you had something in mind, perhaps adding some greenery that's closer to us so that we're almost looking through it to see the little guy? Just a thought. Oh wait, or is that water? If so more shading there would make it clearer.

    As far as the story itself goes, I would just be careful of some of your pacing. I love to rhyme myself but if it's not dead-on I'm afraid an editor who sees lots of rhymes each day might pass. For example, in the lines "Follow us to the forest you'll be safe far away / the children won't notice what will they say?" you actually have 13 beats in the first half and only 10 in the second. An agent in NYC told me years ago that it's just so important that rhymes fit perfectly. And I think the pauses are a bit awkward in spots, too. Whenever I do write in rhyme, I think its a good idea to have someone else read it out loud to you who's never read it before and see if they stumble or pause anywhere that they shouldn't.

    Best of luck with your NEW story!! Woo hoo!! :)


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi girls,

    Thanks for the input so far. Yes I will definitely be fine tuning the beats per line in the text. I know it still sounds very clumsy in some parts but I wanted to get all the input I could. That's why I posted the rough draft. Not to worry. On another note I just wanted to clarify a little and tell you that the boy doesn't throw the tortoise. I know it kind of sounds like that but hopefully the illo's will clarify that. The boy picks the tortoise up out of his tank and places him outside on the soft grass by an apple tree. He forgets about him and that's when he leaves with the bunny and the dove. Glad you liked the sketch . And yes Gina there will be a little pond at the bottom. I'm really trying to keep these sketches as simple and carefree as possible so that I can move more quickly on this dummy. You're right though I should clarify that space more. Thanks! I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this one!!