Analysis Fall Writing Frenzy Week 4

Hi Math is Everyone and Fall Writing Frenzy Friends,

Whew, these analyses of the Fall Writing Frenzy winners have been so wonderful! And I’ve really enjoyed getting the author insights as well, so much extra fun together! If you missed the first three weeks of Analyzing the winner’s work from Fall Writing Frenzy 2020, check out the first week here, second week here, and third week here!

Every week I will try my best to share 5-8 pieces from the Fall Writing Frenzy Winners that have something similar, a theme, if you will. (Figurative gold star if you get the theme in your comment ;))

Please use the comments to share what you think is working for the pieces and why, and you even what you think can be improved if you notice anything. Then you can respond to each other’s comments and of course come back to the blog on Fridays for interviews and giveaways!

Please make sure to be constructive.

We want to learn and grow together in a safe environment. 

For example, if you think a piece was rambling (something I often do lol) please don’t say, “They’re rambling forever, can’t they just stop?” Try, “It seems to be a bit on the wordy side, maybe consider cutting out certain parts.”

Thanks for joining in the conversation!

Now off we go! 

Brown Princess

By Ana Gascon Ivey


I see the world as a canvas of colors 

White boys, white heroes

Black boys, black saviors

White girls, white witches

White girls in black stitches.

But I am not white or black,

I am brown.

Brown like the center of a sunflower stretching toward the sun.

Brown like the cinnamon my abuela sprinkles over tres leches cake to give it sabor. 

I gaze at the mirror and see my canvas,

my radiant brown skin

lighting up my bedroom with power,

illuminating myself with self-love. 

I twirl in circles, dancing to the beat of my Latin ancestors.

They say the color of my skin does not define me, but they’re wrong.

It is who I am. It is my superpower.

It’s the color of my Papi’s smile as he crowns me with a tiara. It’s the color of my Mami’s fingers as she zips my white dress.

It’s the color of my people’s sweat and blood as they raise their fists to fight for my future.

Brown is the color of hope, promise, and courage.

I see my world as a canvas of color,

Brown boys, brown girls

brown dreamers in a black and white world.


By Aixa  Perez-Prado 


Brujita Boo prepares her brew, 

A bit for her, a taste for you, 

Putrid potion full of snails,

Cucarachas, dirty nails, 

Sapo tongues and lizard tails.

Adds growl of perro, scratch of cat, 

Murcielago and whiny brat, 

Gooey, slurpy, zombie brain, 

Earwax, mocos, tummy pain, 

Relampago and hurricane. 

Brujita sips her steaming stew, 

Wings spring from Brujita Boo. 

Fly her over bats with fleas, 

Espantapájaros in trees, 

High above the siete seas. 

Until her wings turn into scales, 

Her piernas, spiky dragon tails. 

Diving deep beneath the waves, 

Skulls and bones in creepy caves.

Explorando pirate graves. 

Then she rockets to the moon,

Where she hobnobs with a goon,

Werewolves prowl ‘round Saturn’s ring,

Hocus pocus snip life’s string,

Los fantasmas dance and sing.

Come and taste Brujita’s brew. 

There’s enough to share with you. 

Take a sip, it’s not too hot, 

Goes down smooth, like slimy snot.

Pura magia in the pot.

You could turn into a bat! 

Momia, ogro, ghost, or rat, 

Ven, come closer, it’s for you.

Bubbling, burbling, magic brew,

Guaranteed Brujita… 


The Haunted House

By Kirsten Leestma


“Hey, Frank!”

“Yeah, Bob?”

“Let’s go to a haunted house.”

“We ARE the haunted house, Bob.”

“Yeah, I know, but don’t you ever get tired of being spooky?”



“I’m a skeleton. I’m very good at being spooky. Also, baking.”

“Come on, I know just the place. Verrrrry spooky. It got a five-star rating on Gulp.”

“Oh really, Bob?”

“Really. My bones are already shaking.”

“What could possibly scare us? We are professional skeletons. The best in the biz.”

“That’s true, but I promise this place will really rattle you, Frank!”

“Fine, but I need to be back in an hour. I have a pumpkin pie in the oven.”

“Here we are! Oh, I don’t think I can go in!”

“Bob, this was your idea. This place doesn’t look spooky at all!”

“Read the sign, Frank.”






I Need A Hero

By Karen Pickrell

I came dressed for the part. I take my role very seriously. How am I supposed to save the world with this ragtag team?

Who’s in charge of wardrobe here? Who ever heard of Captain America with a blue beaded necklace and a dinosaur bucket?

And who cast this leading lady? This super model princess towers over me. She’s twice my size. What kind of crazy casting agent assigned these parts, anyway?

Goth girl and little witch, get rid of the pink shoes, for crying out loud. You’re making us look soft.

Army dude, wipe that smile off your face. You’re supposed to look menacing. How are we superheroes supposed to be taken seriously? 

And cat woman, make up your mind. Are you a cat or a cowgirl? Don’t look at me like that. Lose the flowery boots and the attitude. I don’t have time for this.

Look like me, team! Look tough!

Ugh. Forget it. Stand aside. I guess I’ll have to save the world myself with my plastic ninja sword.


(a poem for two voices)

By Tina Mowrey


Tonight, I’ll go out.

                                                                I’d rather stay in.

My costume looks great.

                                                                This book makes me grin.

I say, “trick-or-treat”.

                                                                We turn out the lights

The candy piles up.

                                                                The popcorn’s just right.

Some goblins and ghosts.

                                                                A movie with Mom.

Carved pumpkins aglow.

                                                                It’s perfect and calm.

My friend’s haunted house

                                                                My dad’s pumpkin pie.

It’s scary, but fun.

                                                                This evening flies by!

I see the last house.

                                                                I look at the clock.

I pick up my pace.                                                

                                                               The door, I unlock.

“Brianna, i’m here!”                                                

                                                              “Hooray! Come inside.”

The best stop is last.

                                                                My friend has arrived.

We sit on the floor.

                                                                She dumps out her loot.

This Halloween night

                                                                 Is best spent with you.           



by Nicole Loos Miller 


He gasped, taking his first breath in over a year. 

Halloween. She must be close.

He flexed his fingers, smiling. Soon he’d be able to move his whole body, if only for one night.

Ten years ago, she’d been playing with her homemade wand in the cornfield. The green spark surprised them both – landing on the scarecrow’s chest, igniting a beat within his heart.

Now, she was eighteen. The farm had been sold. It would be their last night together before he was torn down, his fields paved.

Dried cornhusks crunched underfoot as she approached. He climbed down, limbs awkward with disuse. 

His heart ached as her green eyes pierced through him. She was different this year – taller, face thinner. But that same mischievous smile sent a tingle across his burlap skin. 

She reached out and nestled her fingers between his.  

“I missed you,” she whispered.

His reply caught in his throat.  

She laughed – a bright, silver sound.  

His heart beat like a caged bird. 

“I made a wish,” she said, leaning close. She smelled of cloves and fallen leaves. 

Her lips on his. 

A spark. 

But this time, it spread. 

He was alive.

For good. 

Thank you all for joining us for the Week 3 Analysis of the 2020 Fall Writing Frenzy winners by sharing in the comments. I’m looking forward to learning and growing with you! Please remember to share on Twitter and come back next week for more analysis!


Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

PS. If you haven’t heard about our free Kidlit Holiday Dance Party, check it out and we hope you join us!

42 thoughts on “Analysis Fall Writing Frenzy Week 4

  1. Brown Princess-
    The specific examples in the piece and beautiful language bring it to life. 

    Brujita Boo- 
    This was one of my favorites. Aixa has such a fun voice and I love the Spanish interspersed. The rhyme and rhythm are so well done and the language…evocative and disgusting in the perfect way. I’d love to have this in my collection when it’s a picture book!

    The Haunted House –
    What a fun surprise ending…I was pulled in and curious. I also like the wordplay – especially “this will really rattle you”.

    I Need a Hero-
    Hahaha. I know a kid like this! Well done capturing the disappointed superhero and the silliness of halloween costumes. 

    This Halloween Night-
    I like the introvert/extrovert contrast and how they come together in the end. This was a fun read.

    I didn’t know where this one was going, but I enjoyed the surprising journey and sensory language. These were my favorite lines. “Dried cornhusks crunched underfoot”, “she laughed – a bright, silver sound”, “His heart beat like a caged bird”, “a tingle across his burlap skin”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such great thoughts! Which parts were the best beautiful language for Brown Princess? Aixa blows me away always too with her ability to comingle both languages and rhythm with ease . Hahah great point on the rattle you line. I need a hero definitely captured the image in the funniest way. The introvert/extrovert is such an important point and yet they are the best of friends, love it. The tingle was one of my favorite lines in Alive as well, as the green eyes line, swoon!


  2. These lines are all so beautiful in Brown Princess “Brown like the center of a sunflower stretching toward the sun.” “Brown like the cinnamon my abuela sprinkles over tres leches cake to give it sabor.” “my radiant brown skin”, “I twirl in circles, dancing to the beat of my Latin ancestors.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brown Princess:
 I love how Ana used language to convey a sense of celebration, light, and hope: “radiant brown skin,” “illuminating myself with self-love,” “twirl in circles,” etc. There is so much strength and warmth conveyed – I can’t read it without smiling.


Brujita Boo:
 I envy anyone who can rhyme and this bilingual rhyme blows me away! The rhyming is so beautiful and consistent but the words are so Halloween-creepy (“gooey, slurpy, zombie brain” – ewwwww!). Aixa clearly has a way with words!

    Haunted House: 
I loved the puns (“five-star rating on Gulp”), the dialogue format, and the fun twist of an ending! I love how much personality was conveyed and how much insight I felt like I got into their relationship despite the short word count.


I Need a Hero:
 Such a fun voice! I can absolutely picture this narrator and love the sense of confidence and the disdain at their fellow trick-or-treaters. The plastic ninja sword at the end definitely made me laugh. Very clever.

    This Halloween Night: 
I remember reading this when Tina posted it on her blog and sighing in satisfaction at the end. I love how these two friends celebrate Halloween so differently while maintaining such a strong connection to each other. There is no friendship “but” or “despite,” just joyful appreciation of one another just as they are. Also, as someone who has always preferred blankets and books to going out, I loved the message that there is no “right” way to celebrate. 

    Thanks so much for sharing these each week, Kaitlyn! They are so fun to re-read and dig into!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes yes omg yes! I love your insight, the positive words I Ana’s piece are such a beautiful reason that this piece is inspiring, and I have the same feelings about Aixa, she just blows me away. Haha great choice for the haunted house piece, that cracked me up too! And right?! I Need a Hero was one I had to offer a critique to because omg that voice was hilarious and spot on. And yes Tina’s dual voices and no right way to celebrate is just so beautiful. Thank you for your wonderful piece too! Please share any insight about your inspiration or how the story came about with us!


  4. A lot of these amazing pieces seemed to be about identity. Ana’s Brown Princess was incredible in the way she set out a world of black and whites but instead of going to gray, she goes to brown and then weaves it back to black and white with a new possibility. Aixa’s Brujita Boo really stood out for her invocation of imagery but also the way she used the two languages so interchangeably that it really invited the reader to go in and out with her. Kirsten’s Haunted House and Karen’s I Need A Hero were so delightful, I loved the twist ending in Haunted House and I love the narrator in I Need A Hero as a kid who’s really a bit of an adult inside too. Tina’s This Halloween Night really blew me away. So impressive! Writing for two very distinct personalities, one of them in rhyme-with a word count limit is incredible. Alive was so beautifully and lyrically written. It reminded me a bit of of the Wizard of Oz (on a more mature level) and for that reason, Carrie’s Red Legend piece from week 1. I liked how it flipped the script of a female saving the male enchanted character with a kiss. Well done everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I love identity being the theme here! It was my exact intention but it’s very close to why I put them together and I like your theme even better, to be honest! 😉 I love the beautiful way you talk about Ana’s Brown Princess, I agree I adored how she focused on the positive of the world instead of the negative, but the way you worded it was so eloquent. I’m just as wowed my Aixa always! Ha I didn’t think of I Need A Hero narrator of being adult like too, but that is totally one way of looking at it with all that hilarious pessimism haha yay for twists too! And I totally agree, how Tina could write two distinct voices so well in so few words is amazing:-(, and I agree on Nicole’s piece, definitely wizard of oz, coming to life story but with very eloquent language and a fun romantic twist. Great analysis, my friend!


  5. BROWN PRINCESS: “Brown like the center of a sunflower stretching toward the sun.” Love the contrast this line provided. Black and white felt so restrictive and these words stretching out the text visually and in imagery was a beautiful way of unfurling the story. So happy to see ‘brown’ in such a positive light! It was a brilliant way of tackling a heavy word.

    BRUJITA BOO! is so much fun to read in a witch’s voice! Also wonderful story movement. Love how it circled back to the beginning — just how witches brew their potions in a cauldron!

    THE HAUNTED HOUSE was soooooooo funny! Those puns packed a punch! And what a twist!

    I NEED A HERO was so funny too! What a delightful way of pointing out the silliness of kids when they put their own costumes together. So authentic!

    THIS HALLOWEEN NIGHT was so well-constructed. Amazing how each side had its own personality but they blended seamlessly together into one story.

    ALIVE – so much mystery in this one! How am I creeped out and swooning at the same time?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha Dazzle, we always see eye to eye, I love everything you shared, especially the stretching words, stretching the meaning of brown from something restrictive to something big and powerful and eloquent, yes yes yes! And Aixa circling like the potion, that blew my mind, very good eye! and haha I was creeps out and swooning too, but after a few more reads to acclimate myself, I really just love it


      1. YES to multiple reads and having new details pop up or feeling differently than the first time you went through it. These pieces in particular, are quite deep! Can’t wait for the theme reveal — they’re always so hard to guess! Huge honor to be seeing eye to eye with you ❤ And happy I'm not alone getting creeped out and swooning!! haha

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Right? More reads can change our minds (psst that’s why we have multiple judges, because we’re all not infallible as we are all human, so we all compensate for each other as necessary) and I think the fact that Nicole’s piece is a bit odd also makes it more worthwhile z everyone is always looking for the next thing and odd is often how different starts right??

          Liked by 1 person

  6. This one is a bit harder than the last 3. To be honest, I am not really sure what the theme is. They all seem to have a sense of self. They also also use wonderful language to convey this, though each does it in a different way. I enjoyed the poetic wording of Brown Princess and realy liked the poem for two voices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! This one is a bit harder and so far everyone is so close and dancing right near it (though I like identity even more so maybe you ladies get two gold stars? Lol) I’m so glad those two really stuck out because they are such different approaches to what we normally see; you have an eye for special for sure!


  7. I guess I initially saw hope/acceptance in many of these well-written pieces. Of course when you start with “The Brown Princess” its strong words of empowerment and hope set the mood for the rest of the stories that follow. “This Halloween Night” relates how each speaker is content with the choices made. “Alive” brings a couple back together, offering hope for the days to come.

    I remember reading “I Need a Hero” when it was first posted and can still see the image associated with it. So cute. Hope is a stretch – but the narrator definitely feels empowered/hopeful that she can accomplish the task. Then “The Haunted House” and “Brujita Boo!” don’t quite follow that theme. So as I am pondering, a common theme perhaps of identity starts to form – in that each knows who they are and what they want could describe each of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. BROWN PRINCESS Ana uses beautiful language to convey positivity and empowerment; “Brown like the center of a sunflower stretching toward the sun” and “my radiant brown skin lighting up my bedroom with power, illuminating myself with self-love,” are two examples. Such a hopeful piece, I love it!

    BRUJITA BOO! I’m so impressed with Aixa’s ability to create this fun/gross ex: “goes down smooth like slimy snot,” and oh-so-clever rhyming, bilingual poem. So creative and well done.

    THE HAUNTED HOUSE this was a punny good read, had me smiling throughout. Nice twist at the end. Very funny!

    I NEED A HERO I had to smile at this one; we all know that kid who takes Halloween costumes very seriously haha, no room for poetic dress up licensing here. The beginning, “I came dressed for the part. I take my role very seriously” and the ending, “I guess I’ll have to save the world with myself with my plastic ninja sword,” are terrific! Spot on, so great.

    THIS HALLOWEEN NIGHT I loved Tina’s poem when I read it during the contest. I often feel torn myself about going out sometimes. I was almost expecting the stay-in friend to capitulate and go out, as I expected the trick-or-treater to beg her friend to come out, and maybe even tease her for being a baby staying in on Halloween. The friends accept each other as they are – true friendship. And to rhyme?! So well done Tina, I really love this.

    ALIVE This one is so unique. I wasn’t sure what to make of it after my initial read. I love the lyrical language and the creativity of the plot. “Dried cornhusks crunched underfoot as she approached.” I hear it! “…same mischievous smile sent a tingle across his burlap skin.” And I really loved her kiss makes him alive. Nice ending.

    Theme this week? Accpetance/love/kindness? I’m clearly at a loss haha. Another great batch of work this week 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. haha the theme seems to be the hardest part this week haha and I totally agree with all this especially the point about empowerment with Ana’s, true accepting friendship for Tina’s, and I wasn’t sure on my first read of Alive either, but it really is beautiful, right?


  9. So if I had to guess why all of these were paired, I think it is because the endings are all so strong. Some flip your expectations (Brown Princess, Alive), some are surprising (This Halloween Night, Brujita Boo), some are funny (I Need a Hero, The Haunted House).

    They were all a wonderful treat to reread and think about what made them shine.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Is the theme for this week voice? Or maybe final lines? I was drawn to the last line in each of them.

    Brown Princess: This was beautiful. I felt like each line was so descriptive and thought-provoking that it could be a story within itself. And that last line! Gorgeous. I definitely read this one through a couple times.

    Brujita Boo: “goes down smooth, like simy snot.” I love this line in an ‘ewwww’ sort of way. I also kept picturing the amazing illustration potential here. I know kids would love it.

    I Need a Hero: This kid is hilarious. I don’t remember what the photo was, but I pictured the narrator as a toy making comments on how all the other toys are dressed while a child happily creates the scene. Very Toy Story.

    The Haunted House: This one’s mine! Thanks so much for including it this week! I’ve enjoyed reading about the process of other writers so here is mine for this piece. After looking through the photos, the one with the skeletons caught my eye because it looked like they were just two pals walking away from a house and going about their day. I thought about what conversation they would be having as they left their day job (or night job in this case, I suppose!) Since it was Halloween themed, I wanted to think of something a skeleton would be scared of and my dog gnawing away on her bone in front of me locked it into place!

    This Halloween Night: Oh I want this to be a book so bad! I love the two separate voices and personalities. It reminds me a lot of myself and my friend growing up. This would be perfect in a classroom and as a way to say it’s okay to celebrate however you want!

    Alive: Wow! I got total Wicked vibes from this one between the scarecrow character and the last line of ‘for good.’ Loved the line “a tingle across his burlap skin.” I would love to see this story keep going and expanded as YA!

    Thanks again for doing this, Kaitlyn and posting each week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh voice is VERY close! I totally agree Ana’s story is gorgeous and Aixa’s is so awesome. I Need a Hero was the picture with all the kids wearing different costumes. Thank you for all your awesome insight on yours as well; your characterization was SO wonderful and hilarious! I want Tina’s to be a book, too! I hope it happens. Defintely Oz and Wicked vibes for Nicole’s! Thank you for sharing your story and your insights!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. All of these are delightful to read aloud. I agree with the others that identity seems to be the common thread. So much to love about all of these. I love the two voices and last cozy image of THIS HALLOWEEN NIGHT. Nicole’s story ALIVE blew me away. LOVE the magic and romance in it. BROWN PRINCESS is lyrical, lovely, and powerful. BRUJITA BOO has so many fun details and an LOL ending. The humor of THE HAUNTED HOUSE really made me smile (especially “Also, baking”). The voice is I NEED A HERO is engaging, as are all the images of different costumes. I enjoyed rereading these winning stories. Congrats again, authors!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Drum roll please!!

    The theme of this week waaaaaas….


    So many of you found very similar themes and even more awesome themes as well, so super kudos to you!

    All of these pieces really allowed us to get to know their character (and in such few words!)

    Here were my original thoughts:

    Brown Princess: Beautiful, inspiring.

    Brujita Boo: Brilliant, fun adventure, amazing rhyme in dual languages.

    The Haunted House: Hilarious.

    I Need a Hero: Hilarious, spot on, AMAZING characterization

    This Halloween Night: Loved it. Loved the dual voices, the juxtaposition of friends and how they come together in the end. I went aww.

    Alive: Different love story with scarecrow coming to life, good descriptions.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am impressed each week with these submissions. There is such variety and creativity in them all.

    Brown Princess is a powerful piece, and I necessary story to be told. I love the visual description of the color brown, using the center of a sunflower and cinnamon. It gives a sense of warmth. I read this story multiple times because there was so much to it, and I learned and visualized a different component each time.

    This Halloween Night – I loved the idea of the two voices to this poem. As I read it, I flip flopped my voice to really get into this poem. I felt the excitement of Halloween grow as I read through the story also.

    Alive – I think this is such a creative story. What a great idea, I was sucked in from the first sentence. I truly enjoyed this whole story; I would love to see this turned into a book.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow! Each week the stories are so impressive! I’ve just finished reading them as well as Kaitlyn’s theme reveal..characterization!
    Brown Princess – This was so heartfelt!
    Brujita Boo – Great choice for the final word “BOO”!
    Haunted House – Humor was fantastic!
    I Need a Hero – Super “Super Hero” story!
    This Halloween NIght – Use of two voices was great!
    Alive – Quite the love story!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a great group of entries!

    “Brown Princess,” By Ana Gascon Ivey – What a gorgeous entry. I feel like I am inside this girl’s head! Such a powerful last line, too. I love this one.

    “BRUJITA BOO!” By Aixa Perez-Prado – Wow! Perfectly disgusting! Very witchy. 🙂 Some of those images are hard to get out of your head after reading them.

    “The Haunted House.” By Kirsten Leestma – I love the fun banter between the two characters. And the ending is so great. I can see those dogs salivating. 🙂

    “I Need A Hero,” By Karen Pickrell – I love the drill sergeant leader voice in this. Hilarious! I think I know this kid.

    “THIS HALLOWEEN NIGHT” By Tina Mowrey – Awww, I love this so much. How it speaks to friendship and how we don’t have to be the same to make great friends. I love how it comes together at the end. When I’m reading, it feels like a zipper. Two paths converging into one. Very well done, Tina!. 🙂

    “ALIVE” by Nicole Loos Miller – Such a romantic piece. I love the sounds and smells woven in. And the surprise ending is lovely.

    Thank you, Kaitlyn, for re-sharing these entries. Such a pleasure to read through them and read everyone’s comments. I would have guessed that strong voice was the theme here. But, yes, characterization! Diverse collection here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy you’re enjoying the analysis, too! It’s been so wonderful, I think the guessing the theme is so fun because you all come up with even cooler ones than I thought of 😉 I love that you pointed out the sounds and smells in ALIVE as I don’t think anyone hit on that yet and the zipper analogy for the Halloween Night is perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

    By Ana Gascon Ivey
    “Brown like the center of a sunflower.” “Brown like the cinnamon my abuela sprinkles over tres leches cake.” Beautiful analogies! The image of “my canvas” makes me think of a priceless work of art. Great word choice!

    “Hope, promise, and courage” sends an empowering message. Nice job of circling back to the beginning and celebrating the color of her canvas and heritage.

    By Aixa Perez-Prado
    Love this bilingual poem. It reminds me of songs I love that are bilingual. I like the choice of Spanish and English words combined, instead of one part in Spanish and the other part in English.

    Slimy snot. Gross. Kids love gross. Fun rhyme, alliteration, and word choice. And the perfect Halloween ending—Boo!

    By Kirsten Leestma
    Love the voice of these two contrasting characters. What a great comedy team! A five-star rating on Gulp. lol “This place will really rattle you.” Nice play on words.

    Humorous twist ending. A dog shelter is a terrifying place for a skeleton!

    By Tina Mowrey
    Such a clever format with these side-by-side and intertwined stories. Two ways to spend Halloween night, going out and staying in, but woven into one story. It reminds me of the Fall Writing Frenzy performance piece, Cry Wolf by Janie Reinart.

    Sweet ending. Whether inside or outside, friends make everything more fun.

    By Nicole Loos Miller
    Magical! Makes me think of The Wizard of Oz and the picture book, The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry and The Fan Brothers.

    “Taller, thinner.” Nice details that show the passage of time and hint at the age of the girl. Well-chosen details to paint a picture of the girl without over describing her appearance. It reminds me of the tip Stephen King gives in his book, On Writing, about giving just the right amount of description while leaving the rest to the reader’s imagination.

    Perfect ending! So cool! Love’s kiss is powerful, like all the enchanting happily ever after fairy tales.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. yes, I love that you pointed out Ana’s circling back to the beginning! and such a great point with Axia’s too, it is like a song and the brilliance of merging the languages is what always attracts me to her work as well! and ha yes the characters fro Kirsten’s are SO on point. Love your comparison to cry wolf I thought the same, I was so shocked when I read cry wolf and LOVED the format and was BLOWN AWAY two different entrants thought of a similar way to approach (and as you can see, they both made it to the winner circles ;)) yes love the fan brother’s reference to nicole’s it does have that feel, you have such great anaylses, Karen I just love how you think, thank so much for sharing!


  17. I love getting a behind-the-scenes look at an author’s story. So, here’s my inspiration for I NEED A HERO, which is based on the image of kids in costume.

    When I saw the ninja kid in the middle of the photo looking so intense, it reminded me of one of my son’s childhood friends. Whenever he would put on a costume, he’d totally get into character and be super serious about it. He wasn’t playing anymore. It was the real deal. The rest of the group in the photo didn’t have that same “we’re playing for keeps” look.

    Initially, I noticed obvious things in the image, like the girl who was crossing her arms and standing apart from the group, but it wasn’t until I enlarged the photo that I noticed Captain America’s blue beaded necklace, the girls’ pink sandals, and the flowers on the cowboy boots. So, the idea of the main character being this serious actor, who is upset about wardrobe and casting decisions, started with the humorous costume choices.

    “Look like me team, look tough”, was inspired by a line from the movie, The Wedding Planner, when Massimo says to Matthew McConaughey’s character, “Run like a man, like me.”

    I toyed between two endings. Does he take the attitude of a warrior and inspire the troops? Or does he go it alone? When I saw the plastic ninja sword, I knew that saving the world himself was so in keeping with his voice and attitude towards the whole thing.

    I struggled with his confident, bossy voice at first, Was it too much? Would it be off-putting for a writing contest? But then it reminded me of Lucy from Peanuts when she goes off on the kids in the Christmas play, “Listen, all of you! You’ve got to take direction! You’ve got to have discipline! You’ve got to have respect for your director!” And then she tells Linus, “You’ve got to get rid of that stupid blanket.” Ok. If Charles Schulz can do it. I guess it’s ok.

    As I tried to think of a title, the song, I Need a Hero, that was featured in the movie, Shrek 2, came to mind, especially the line, “He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be larger than life.” That sentiment perfectly captured how my main character felt about this situation. This wasn’t a rehearsal. This was real life. And he needed a hero, a superhero on his team, if he was going to save the world.

    Liked by 2 people

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