Thursday, January 23, 2014

Story Sprouts

I'd like to welcome some very special guests to my blog today. Nutschell and Alana have put together an awesome anthology for writers. Here's the blurb:

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.

You can find more info including links beneath the post below. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for hosting the Children's Book Writers of Los Angeles on our Story Sprouts: Writing Day Exercises and Anthology 2013 worldwide blog tour here at Paranormal POV. Since Lisa loves a list, and we love to share why we write for kids, we wanted to share with you a Kid Lit Top 10 Countdown. 

Ten Reasons to Write for Kids

10. Eternal Youth. YA Authors actually get to say things like "totes cray-cray" and "OMG - BFFs 4eva," listen to teen pop, dish about the latest Miley Cyrus video, and call it research. The rest of us run the risk of looking like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused - past our prime, still hanging on to teendom for dear life. (Wait, that movie reference ages me, doesn't it? Oh well...)
9. Angst, Angst Baby. Speaking of teens, YA Authors also get to tap into all the drama and angst that we're supposed to grow out of post-high school. Let's face it, sometimes it's fun (therapeutic?) to throw a temper tantrum in our head and carry on and on about how unfair life can be, and how we'll just shrivel up and die if our best friend all of a sudden disses us or we wake up with the worst hair day ever. 
8. Willing Suspension of Disbelief be Damned. In high school, we were told to consciously turn our thoughts away from real world limitations that would change literature - think Frankenstein or Lord of the Flies. Pretty unbelievable. As adults, we read fantasy and know exactly what is made-up. Young kids? They just believe it all. If you write about fairies or leprechauns, they believe you and are able to create, in their minds, a new world even more magical than you could have imagined. And they will believe they can go there!
7. Illustrators Rock. How often do writers get artists to draw their stories? Picture book authors get to see how their verbal dreams are interpreted with pen and paper. Such a cool way to connect and see your story through someone else's eyes!
6. Character Loyalists. Kids are nothing if not a little bit one-track-minded when it comes to life. They are fiercely loyal. And that is a good thing for kid lit writers, all the way from early reader through YA. If you can create a character that resonates with your audience, you're golden. Think Ramona Quimby, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Ivy and Bean, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Harry Potter. These particularly persuasive petite readers will convince their parents to buy every book (in the name of education, of course), watch every movie, pick up the merchandise, and chat, chat, chat with friends about how great your characters are.
5. Bigger Calling. As a writer, you are not just making up a story. You are helping kids appreciate reading, writing and literature. You are turning on their imaginations where they can travel and dream and get excited about history and science. You are bringing stories to life. You are helping them turn off the electronics and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. And that is huge.
4. Raise Awareness. As a kid lit writer, you can subtly fit an important theme into your book, and engage a child's mind to think about how to handle the really tough stuff. Think kindness, or standing up to bullies, or accepting every person, or keeping the earth clean, or letting kids know they can make a difference. You can even help them work through loss, new siblings, cross-country moves, divorce - anything a kid might need to process. 
3. Build Confidence. Ever notice how parents disappear in most children's books? Kids in books aren't told how to lead their lives, they just get to lead them. Kids are the heroes and the leaders in their stories. Books build up a child's confidence to take risks, try new things and dream big.
2. It's FUN! Kid lit authors get to play every day, from creating new worlds and characters to dressing up in silly costumes to attend school readings. There is nothing better than the chance to play in a kid's world forever!
1. You are a Hero. Do you remember when you were a kid and an author came to your school to read his/her story and autograph your book? Do you remember that sense of admiration and mystery? That wonder and creative spirit? You are now that hero. Embrace it!


Learn more about Story Sprouts at
Join the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles at 

Find Nutschell at:

Find Alana at:


  1. Great reasons to write for kids. Congrats to Nutschell and Alana!

    1. Thanks Natalie! No doubt there are many, many, many more reasons too. :)

  2. Another great post, Alana! Love this one!
    Natalie, agreed. Thanks so much for your support!
    Lisa, big thanks to you for hosting us today. Hugs all around!

  3. If Ponce De Leon had only known this was the true Fountain of Youth we'd be reading his wonderful Spanish YA/MG stories to this day. Actually, I'm loving the hero part. I always wanted to be one of those. :-0

    1. Nice to be a hero every once in a while! :)

  4. Oh, what a fun list! Congratulations Nutschell and Alana. Story Sprouts sounds like a super idea.

  5. Love this list! Number 10 had me cracking up. :) So excited or Nutschell and Alana. Story Sprouts sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ha, Jess! That one made me smile as I was putting the list together too. :) Glad you enjoyed!

  6. This is such an exciting and useful release. Wishing lots of luck for this book.