Summer Short And Sweets – Week 8 The Final Week!

I can’t believe it.  Didn’t we just start Summer Short & Sweets?  And here we are, August 24th, purple loosestrife blooming, lots of kids already back in school – although not mine – and this is our last official day of SS&S!

badge created by Loni Edwards
Before you get too sad, though, let me tell you that, due to popular demand, we will be continuing Short & Sweets in some incarnation on alternate Mondays henceforth… or once school starts, anyway 🙂  I’m thinking around September 10…
Meanwhile, we have today.  And today is SO exciting!  I’ve been planning it for 2 whole months and trying to keep it a secret and let me tell you, it’s been excruciating!!!
For today’s Short & Sweet we have a picture prompt, and not just any picture prompt.  This one was painted specially for the occasion by the incredibly talented Heather Newman, whom many of you know from 12×12 and/or her blog, Heather Newman Illustrations.  Heather is an amazing artist, writer, homeschooler, cowherd, and Phyllis hostess.  She also just opened her Etsy Shop and I encourage everyone to go have a look at all her wonderful offerings.  Please also feel free to leave compliments on her painting in the comments once you’ve seen the prompt if you are not left completely speechless with awe 🙂
Are you ready???
Your challenge for today is to take a good look at the picture below.
Image copyright Heather Newman 2012
Woweekazowee!  That is some picture isn’t it?
Now, in the comments, you may write your choice of the following:
1.  A pitch for a children’s story, any level (please specify PB (picture book), ER (early reader), CB (chapter book), MG (middle grade), or YA (young adult)) based on the picture, in the manner of Short & Sweet Week 6
2.  The first 50-100 words (or more or less – whatever gets the creative juices flowing) of a children’s story, any level, (please specify PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) based on the picture.
3.  The last 50-100 words (again, more or less is fine – whatever works for you :)) of a children’s story, any level (please specify PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) based on the picture.
4.  Choose a character (there are at least 10 possibilities!) from the picture and introduce us to him or her – who he/she is, where he/she came from, how he/she got into this situation – a character sketch of sorts.
5.  Choose a character and give us a one paragraph synopsis of the story told by the picture from his/her point of view.
6.  The title of the story told by this picture – give us a good one! 🙂 (and again please specify level)
7.  A poem following the rules from Short & Sweet Week 3 based in some way on this picture.
One added thing for you to think about:  next Friday, August 31, will be our Summer Writing Contest!!!  (I know!  The mind reels at the excitement!!!)  And guess what?  It will be based on this picture!  So any of you who would like to enter the contest can get a head start on your thinking this week by participating in the Short & Sweet.  Just so you know, the contest will be for a children’s story of 250 words or less based on the picture and incorporating the some special key words, but I’m not telling those yet 🙂  Full details of the contest will be posted Monday.
Now then, back to the matter at hand – today’s Short & Sweet.  Pick whichever of the 7 options above inspires you most.  I’m hoping with 7 options and that amazing picture you will find something inspiring 🙂
Here is a small sample from moi (and when I say small, I mean what with all the traveling I totally ran out of time, so talk about off the top of your head! :)):
#1 (a pitch for MG)
Grenadier, who would carry his knight anywhere, must cross the moat to save Cythrigg, the last dragon of Cyfarr, but finds he is unable to penetrate the magical fire surrounding Castlewellyn.
#6  (a possible title for a PB)
Bathtime For Balkazar
#7 (a poem)
I am a raven
Black as moonless night
With powerful secrets
Watching, waiting
For the prophesied moment
Spying on the forbidden castle
Holding the truth close
Keeping safe the golden key until,
As from the mists of Avalon, a new prince rises.
I am a raven.
Happy Writing, everyone!  I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!  As usual I’m sure we’ll all have story ideas coming faster then we can write them down sparked by our own responses to the exercise as well as everyone else’s.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday for Oh Susanna and the contest announcement!

89 thoughts on “Summer Short And Sweets – Week 8 The Final Week!

  1. This Kid Reviews Bks says:

    It took me a while, but here it is!
    #6: Dragon!
    #1: Prince Timothy just doesn't get that Princess Violet doesn't need rescuing. Cuddles, Violet's pet is a bit unusual, but he is completely harmless! Timothy thinks differently. Will he ever realize that a princess in a tower doesn't always have to be saved?
    (Beginning Chapter Book)

    I am sad that SS&S is over. It was so fun… Goodbye good friend… 😦

  2. pennyklostermann says:

    First off…Heather!!! You! Are! One! Talented! Artist! The picture is amazing!

    There are so many possibilities!!! I'm going with a title for a poem or PB.

    Tangled Tales of the Twisted Tree

    By the way, Susanna, do we have to stick with what we chose today for the Summer Writing Contest or if we are further inspired by Heather's exceptional artwork, (which I know I will be), can we go in a completely different direction? She has such wonderful details that it has inspired several thoughts….several ideas!!!

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    These are great, Erik! i hope you're going to write this beginning chapter book – it sounds like something lots of kids would like to read! Thanks for being such a valiant participant in SS&S, and don't be too sad… summer may be ending, but Short & Sweets will be back 🙂

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I know! Isn't she amazing??? LOVE your title – so many possibilities! And NO, you certainly don't have to stick with anything. This was just to get the creative juices flowing. You can write whatever you want. The contest rules are going up in tomorrow's post and there are other requirements (evil cackle :)) so they may take you a different direction anyway 🙂

  5. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Posted by me but actually from Cathy!

    I am a firefox.Wiser than a parliment of owlsWith world-weary soul and infinite patienceWatching, waitingFor the foolish, careless humans,Taunting the hungry dragonStalking the sulfur smokeLike a smoldering fuse, I am a firefox.

  6. Tracy Campbell says:

    I persevered and crossed the finish line. Phew!

    #6 – The title

    Hot-headed Harold And His Hissy Fits (PB)

    #1 – The picture book pitch

    When a hot-headed lad finds his older sister locked in a
    tower, he has a hissy fit. Now Harold must steal the golden key from the
    ornery hag’s raven, slay the dragon, and rescue distressed Rampina
    before the dark knight claims her for his bride.

    Thank you, Susanna. The challenges were fun, intriguing, and tough. I look forward to participating in future ones.
    Heather your artwork is lovely!

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I love this Tracy! It sounds like a great story… although you're a better woman than I am if you can fit all that into a picture book 🙂 Thanks for another great entry and congrats on finishing all 8 🙂

  8. Jarm Del Boccio says:

    My pitch:

    Princess Philomena is caught in the clutches of the evil dragon Dyra, who hates anyone with a pure and innocent heart.  Many courageous young men have failed to rescue the virtuous girl from the dragon, because underneath their armor lies an ungrateful and proud heart.  Will Phillip the Brave and Benevolent cross the chasm and slay the ugly beast, rescuing the princess from a life of adversity?

  9. Kim Murray says:

    This was the fastest summer EVER. My kids school start next week. I'm a little happy and a little sad. Oh well…onto the prompt. I LOVE this picture. I'm so in awe of illustrators. Great job, Heather!

    Why is it that every prince in the kingdom thinks all he has to do to find his princess is rescue some beautiful maiden in a castle? It’s, like, so typical. The whiny girl with the lovely, long locks cries out, boo hoo, from a third-story window and every one of those silly princes trots up on his trusty horse to figure out how to cross the fiery moat and slay the demonic dragon preventing him from reaching his beloved.

    Puh-lease. Beauty is only skin deep, people. These girls in the castle? Materialistic, miserable, morons!

    Of course the princes never notice me. Why would they? I'm an old hag with a frightening fox by my side. Completely unapproachable! And that’s exactly how that dim-witted dragon wants it.

    Well, I’ve got to get these princes to notice me. I’m the princess, people! Only problem is I have this stinkin' one-hundred year spell to deal with. But, listen, I’m not about to walk around looking like warmed over oatmeal for another century. No way. No how. I’m going to get my prince and live happily ever after.

    Or die trying.

  10. Renee LaTulippe says:

    I made it! I feel so honored to be among the “regulars.” 🙂

    Heather – LOVE. IT. The colors, the characters, the fiery pit of hell. Good stuff, lady! And you know I've been wanting to do a dragon poem based on your work, but it has NEVER come to me. I have three drafts about a dragon named Ida, all icky. Perhaps I can use the tidbit below as a starting point and finally bring this baby home. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Susanna, thanks for keeping us on our toes this summer, and I'm so glad our devious plot worked to keep the series going. If you're ever at a loss for a prompt, let me know – I'd be pleased to help you out with a nudge if I can!

    Since my poem doesn't fall into any of the above categories, let's say I'm in with my title (which could be poem or PB). 🙂


    Bubba has

    a bulbous snout

    from which he


    his fire out

    and out it goes

    a roar, a hiss

    that startles sweet

    picnicking Miss

    who stares alarmed

    at her singed hair

    ’fore Bubba binges…


    medium rare.

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I am honored to have you among the “regulars”! Thanks for being such a devoted participant! 🙂 I do actually want to ask you about that book you mentioned… emailing soon 🙂 And I LOVE your title and that is SOME POEM! Fantastic ending! 🙂 Thanks so much for another terrific entry!

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Kim! This is fantastic! I seriously hope you're going to write this, because I want to read it! I love the voice of your princess. Thanks so much for another terrific entry. It's been such fun reading your work this summer. I hope you'll keep visiting, and I hope to see a contest entry from you! 🙂

  13. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Ooh! I like it! I am so impressed and amazed by everyone's creativity. So many fantastic ideas here and I want to read all the books that people's titles, beginnings, and synopses have suggested! Thanks for playing along for all 8 weeks, Jarm!

  14. Karen Lee says:

    Thank You Heather for giving us such a beautiful painting and sparking our imaginations…
    With that being said, here is a little tidbit of a story…a pitch (PB)…
    'A Day in the Life of a Wizard'…
    As Gertrude simmered her pot over the fire, she warned Freddy, (her friend the raven),( because wizards do not have enemies), that this concoction may not sit well in his tummy…'It might change you'…Please, she said, do not be tempted by the beautiful smell to taste this…You will be sorry…

  15. Karen Lee says:

    Thank you Susanna for helping me stretch myself into new area's and inspiring new idea's…Much appreciated…Also, Thank You Heather for giving us such a beautiful painting and sparking our imaginations…
    With that being said, here is a little tidbit of a story…a pitch (PB)…
    'A Day in the Life of Gertrude'… 'a Wizard'…
    As Gertrude simmered her pot over the fire, she warned Freddy, (her friend the raven), ( because wizards do not have enemies), that this concoction may not sit well in his tummy…'It might change you'…Please, she said, do not be tempted by the beautiful smell and taste this…You will be sorry…

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Oh, gosh! Why do I feel certain that something untoward is going to befall Freddy?! I'm definitely hooked and wanting to know what happens! 🙂 Thanks for another great entry, Karen, and for being such an enthusiastic participant in SS&S! 🙂

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    So glad you ended up enjoying it 🙂

    Karen Lee wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Thanks Susanna…was fun after the initial uncomfortableness wore off…

    User's website
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  18. Pamela Courtney says:

    I'm sure the S & S for the summer is over. Nevertheless I still wanted to play. Heather, this is an amazing illustration. Oh how it stimulates the imagination. Ooh how amazing would this be for a group of After-schoolers?! Here's my pb pitch:

    Sir SuRupee, a sweet, gentle Knight, is no match for the fierce Piquant, the red dragon charged with guarding McCormick Castle. Guided by Cynomon a well-meaning, but clumsy enchanter, with astigmatism, Sir SuRupee and his phobic steed (who has a fear of fire) brave treacherous obstacles to rescue Princess ParS Lee SayAge, her hand maiden RowsMare E. and RowsMare's son, Tiehym. Savor the flavor of this spicy tale as this motley crew battle the fiery forces of evil. haha, an extremely long and over the top pitch.

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