Thank you Emilyann for hosting CBW-LA, Nutschell and me on our Story Sprouts tour! We love stopping by for a visit!
Beautiful works result from collaboration. Almost any famous artwork or piece of literature was the result of not only an idea, and one person’s efforts. Sure, Edgar Degas conceptualized and depicted beautiful ballerinas, but he studied paintings at the Lourve and received critiques to improve his craft. Similarly, even hit-novels today, like The Hunger Games, are the result of a team effort. Suzanne Collins deserves credit for creating and communicating the story, but editors and beta readers are partially to thank for the riveting end result. So, why all this talk about collaboration and practice when creating a masterpiece? Well, those are important parts of the creative process and today is the blog tour for Story Sprouts (Co-Edited by Alana Garrigues and Anne Windsor), a great tool for collaboration and practice.
Now, I have Alana here to take us away with more discussion and tell us more about Story Sprouts…
When it comes to writer’s block, I’ve heard two main camps of advice from writers. There are those who say it’s best to keep their butts in their chairs and stay until there are words on the page. And then there are those who argue it’s best to get out into the real world until inspiration strikes square in the face.
I am generally of the second camp. And one of my favorite places to go when the muses are feeling stingy at home is a museum.
I find that there is something about looking at art, whether it be paintings or sculptures or etchings, that tweaks new strains of thought and gets the cerebral blood flowing.
I know I am not alone in this. There have been books written about famous works of art – The DaVinci Code and Girl with a Pearl Earring are two recent examples, but surely there are many, many more, perhaps subtly influenced, but inspired nonetheless.
I have always found the relationship between artistic media natural – music relates to art relates to film relates to novel – and so on and so forth. There is something about the canvas that speaks to literature.
The relationship between art and literature is something that readers of all ages can enjoy, from the very youngest tots to great-grandparents. Though I am a writer, some of my favorite children’s books are wordless.
I love the opportunity that wordless books give children and their caregivers to invent and create their own stories, and wade comfortably into the waters of composition.
In Good Dog, Carl, a baby and his trusty black lab cause all sorts of trouble while mother is away. With less than 10 words expressed in the entire story, readers can invent all sorts of dialogue and misadventures along the way.
In Hug by Jez Alborough, a young monkey sees all the other jungle animals hugging their mothers, and searches for his own. Only one word appears in the text – “hug” – three times. The rest, once again, is up to the reader.
Artist Peter Spier is also a master of the illustrated story, with nothing but a title for the word count. His stories show life in detail, such as a rainy day, and allow the reader to fill in the rest.
When I work with my own young children on story-telling, these are the tools I turn towards to teach them about writing. We do read picture books and chapter books, but when I want them to create their own story, I turn to wordless books or pieces of art, and ask them to imagine and invent. It’s a wonderful way to punch up their story-telling prowess, and we laugh and giggle at the possibilities.
Last summer, the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles used a visual story-starting technique to get our writers prepped and ready for publication in the Story Sprouts anthology. President Nutschell Anne Windsor, who led the one-day writing day anthology workshop, gathered photos of stores from around the world for an exercise called “Shopping for Story Ideas.” Participants picked a photo at random and were encouraged to create a series of scenarios that could take place within the scene.
Those stories were then written and revised in about three hours, ready to be published. Visual cues were an effective tool to inspire new characters and stories in our writers, and a powerful reminder that writing … and art … need one another.
Which artists inspire you?
STORY SPROUTS: CBW-LA WRITING DAY EXERCISES & ANTHOLOGY 2013
· Paperback: 240 pages
· Publisher: CBW-LA Publications (October 18, 2013)
· Edited by: Alana Garrigues, Nutschell Anne Windsor
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0989878791
· ISBN-13: 978-0989878791
· Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
· Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
STORY SPROUTS 2013 ANTHOLOGY STATISTICS:
· 19 Authors
· 38 Combined Anthology Entries – 2 per Contributing Author
· 6-hour Workshop
· 10 Writing Exercises (included in Story Sprouts)
· Dozens of Photo, Character and Conflict Prompts (included in Story Sprouts)
· 240 pages
What happens when linguistic lovers and tale tellers workshop together? Inspiration. Wonder. Discovery. Growth. Magic.
Brave and talented, the writers featured in this anthology took on the challenge of dedicating one day to the raw and creative process of writing.
A rare view into the building blocks of composition, Story Sprouts is made up of nearly 40 works of poetry and prose from 19 published and aspiring children’s book authors.
This compilation includes all of the anthology writing exercises and prompts, along with tips, techniques and free online writing resources to help writers improve their craft.
Find Nutschell at:
Find Alana at: