Monday, January 21, 2008

Some writing

Hi ladies,
Hope everyone had a productive week and were able to get more done than me art-wise! This week I began teaching my new adult drawing class and had a great experience. I have some very talented students so I'm extremely excited. I set up a still life with some nice direct lighting to cast strong shadows and filled the room with classical music to set a relaxing atmosphere. It was an incredibly therapeutic morning to say the least. I could definitely do this until my dying day! I'm also teaching a kids cartooning class which was fun but I've been doing that kind of work for ages so it's not, well, as exciting anymore. The kids are sweet and very into art so that's always a plus. On another note, I wasn't able to get too much done on my own artwork but did do some re-writing on my Samson story which I hope to post for next week with a new illo. That's all for now folks. I'm off to work on my stuff as we speak on this wonderful day off we have. Thanks for all of the inspiration to move forward every week. Happy Blogging!!!!

PS Here's an update I posted later today Monday on my story "Samson". Any suggestions on my writing are more than welcome!

It's about a little tortoise that doesn't get attention from it's owners anymore. They grow tired of him basically and ignore him. He ends up disappearing and they all really miss him. Tortoise ends up having some wonderful adventures while "missing". Samson actually belonged to my kids in real life. Here's the beginning. Illo's to follow next week.

I've updated this writing yet again, today Tuesday, with Ginger's great suggestions in mind! Sorry if this is getting confusing!

Samson the Tortoise

Samson is lonely he goes round and about,
from this wall to that he keeps bumping his snout.

Day after day in his tank made of glass,
he shuffles he scuffles and longs for real grass!

Samson's quite sure when enough is enough,
knows he's not cut out for this kind of stuff!

His owners don't bother with him anymore,
He doesn't do tricks, they think he's a bore.

He tries to yell loud so someone will listen
to his call for help, to friends he's been missin':

"I want to be free, I want to be free,
I want to meet others that like me for me!"

Pushing some pebbles he makes a big heap
all with his hiney and his big feet.

He climbs to the top, standing real tall
ready to go he's sure he won't fall

At the top of the mound brave Samson calls:
"Please help me get out!!! but tumbles and falls

He wants to have fun, to run through the dew
to find a nice friend, oh someone brandnew.

With no one to play and always alone
there's nothing to do but grumble and groan.


  1. Good for you teaching an adult class. Having talented students is always the best! I remember fondly teaching a class of adult teachers. I was demonstrating painting techniques for them to use with their classes. My big surprise??? My former first grade teacher was one of my students.

    If you ever have the chance it would be great to see what your students produce. Enjoy your day off, thanks for the comments on Gunther, and have a great week!

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  3. Samson's story: You are attempting one of the most difficult types of picture book writing - A Rhyme.
    The story is good and I like your ideas. In some places I think you might be able to change it up a bit and leave out a word or two here and there without hurting the meter or the flow.

    :Your lines:
    His owners don't bother with him anymore
    He doesn't do tricks so they think he's a bore.

    could be:
    His owners don't bother with him anymore
    He doesn't do tricks. They think he's a bore.

    By leaving out the word "SO" and inserting a period as a break or breath you still maintain the meter and flow and add a bit of a snap to the lines.

    That may or may not work for you...just my thoughts on those couple of lines. It may be that you could trim some of the other lines in the same way, but as it is now, it does work for me. I am anxious to see more of the story and find out how he gets under the apple tree.

    I really like the line,
    I want to meet others that like me for me!
    That carries a great message and seems to be the essence of Samson's tale.

  4. Thanks Ginger! That's exactly the kind of feedback I need. It's funny when I write in rhyme I get to the point where I can't hear the words anymore after repeating them to myself a thousand times! I really have to learn to put it away for a while even just a hour and come back to it fresh. Believe it or not I've spent many a long hours working at this story. Putting together bits a pieces of it. Anyway thanks for the quick feedback.

  5. Hey Giselle,

    I keep getting hung up on:

    He tries to yell loud so someone will listen
    to his call for help, to friends he's been missin':

    I don't know why, but it seems like forced ryhme to me.

    Other than that, it's workin' for me.

    I'm glad you're enjoying your adult class. I miss my ladies so much since I've had to quit and stay home with my mother-in-law!
    They's become more like friends than students.

    See you next week, keep'm comin!

  6. Giselle,
    I love the opening lines-"...he keeps bumping his snout."
    I'ts definatley harder writing ryme but I think you've got it. I remember reading once that you should write your ryming story in a traditional, narrative way also before attempting the ryme. I don't know if doing that will help. I was thinking that once he has tumbled out of the tank you may not need those two passages about wanting to get out. If you're saying: He wants to have fun, to run through the dew
    to find a nice friend, or someone brandnew.
    Then you might not need; With no one to play with and always alone
    there's nothing to do- but grumble and groan.
    Maybe that's all too redundant. Just a suggestion- I am by no means a writer but that's just how it feels to me. I can't wait to see what happens to Sampson!

  7. Hi Giselle -
    Congrats on having such a great class! Sounds very inspiring to be around such talented artists.
    As for Sampson, I like the story and although the rhyme can be tricky, you seem to have a good sense of it.
    I agree about the meter and removing some words and tightening it up will help with that a lot.
    There was a sentence that didn't flow so well to me and it's the same one Lisa mentioned - "He tries to yell loud so someone will listen,
    To his call for help, the friends he's been missin." I think if you cut it shorter it could flow better - again, pay attention to the meter.
    At the end of the story - I love the last line, "with no one to play and always alone, there's nothing to do but, grumble and groan." The only thing I would suggest, however, is to move this line up to an earlier space in the story- towards the beginning or middle and then perhaps make up a new line that has a happier ending - perhaps he finds a new friend or two, from the wild, (birds, rabbits, frogs, etc...)
    Although it may change the story a little, (and that's totally up to you,) I think for picture books, editors and kid's prefer happy endings. Just food for thought.
    I do love Sampson and the story has a great start to it! Have fun and enjoy your class and your writing! Chris

  8. Hi Giselle,

    I would love to give you some advice on the story, but to be completely honest, I'm just not a writer! I don't know how you guys do it both, it seems to take all my energy just to get the illustrations done. To me it sounds great, I love the story. Hopefully you'll get more out of the other girls posts:-P


  9. Giselle,
    This is great fun! It is so hard to write rhyme. I have a few suggestions.
    (take and toss them if they seem to be silly) In the first stanza you could use a stronger word for GOES such as SCOOTS or something more definitive. Try to use the strongest words possible in every line and not use repetitive words too much.
    the third stanza could be totally cut out, since it is not really needed and says the same thing about him being bored and frustrated) The fourth stanza isn't clear on the second line where it says "to his call for help. to friends he's been missin' " (I know what you mean, but to get the pubs to want it, they would probably feel you pushed it too hard with that stanza.)If you have more to follow, you'll probably need to trim it anyway, so try cutting any stanzas that are not absolutely necessary. It will help the story flow and be much stronger. I'm sure you've got enough to make it strong if it ends up that his owners miss him. Try to make it as trim as possible..and any words that are unnecessary should be cut. (it's hard and painful, but worth it...I've written a few rhyming stories that have yet to see the light of day, and know the process, and trimming is one of the most vital parts. You've got a good start here though. I really feel for the little guy. You've captured that frustration that he feels and the yearning for freedom and playmates. (I can tell you must feel for him in real life!!)
    It's a wonderful story and idea. Keep polishing it and writing. Thanks for sharing it! I hope none of these comments come out too strong. I know how hard it is to write rhyme and it's very hard to sell it, but you've got the good bones for a wonderful story just needs some tweaking. (My own rhyming stories have taken years to tweak and are still needing major chopping!! so I know the pain of it, and the fun of writing them too.)