Analysis Fall Writing Frenzy 2020, Week 6

Hi Math is Everyone and Fall Writing Frenzy Friends,

This is the sixth week of analyzing the Fall Writing Frenzy winners’ work from 2020! Thanks for sticking with us and doing some amazing learning and growing together! To check out the week 5 analysis, go here!

I missed posting last week but I’m so excited to dive into these stories together this week! 

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. 

 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! 


Ever & Oak

By Amy Flynn

https://www.amytheauthor.com/blog/fall-writing-frenz

@Amy_TheAuthor 

Ever and Oak basked in the heat of the sun.

They giggled at scampering squirrels.

They hummed along to the birds’ songs.

Ever tickled Oak with a sprinkle of pine needles.

Oak tickled back with her lush green leaves.

The best of friends.

Weeks passed.

The sun went to bed early and woke up late. 

The birds’ songs faded as they soared south.

Ever tickled Oak with a sprinkle of needles.

Oak responded with a volley of acorns.

The best of friends.

Days passed.

The wind cooled.

Squirrels nestled into their burrows.

Ever tickled Oak with a sprinkle of needles.

Oak dropped her yellow leaves.

“Missed me!”

Ever sprinkled more needles.

Oak sighed deeply.

“Oak?”

Ever needled her again.

Oak did not respond.

Day after day, Oak fell into a deeper sleep.

Day after day, Ever waited.

He protected her from the icy wind.

He supported her bare, snow-covered branches.

He hummed her favorite bird songs.

Then one morning, as the first rays of sun peeked through the clouds, 

Ever heard a gentle yawn.

Disbelieving, Ever shook his branches, 

showering Oak with a sprinkle of needles.

Oak responded with a burst of buds.

The best of friends.


The Autumn Parade 

By Katie Grant Watson

@KtGrantWatson

The Evergreen Forest prickled with excitement. Their branches danced and dipped in celebration. For these trees, it was the best time of year!

Squirrels skittered and scrambled for a safe hold. Chipmunks chattered around restless roots. Tree tops swayed as they all vied for the best view. 

“Here they come!” called one. It had finally begun!

THE AUTUMN PARADE!

First marched the Birches, with yellow and orange-hued hats reaching high as the sky.

Next danced the Willows. Their golden robes draped behind them, dropping jeweled leaves in their path.

Then lemony Gingkoes skipped along, young and determined to make a good first showing!

And for the grand finale, the Maples and Oaks strode through the wood, side-by-side. Their fiery red finery warmed the forest with its crimson glow.

As these last autumn trees trailed into the distance, the Pines and the Firs and the Spruces sighed happy sighs.

They collected keepsakes from the passed parade. Tiny trinkets to cherish in the coming cold months. They decorated their green and brown walls with the splendid season’s colors. And they waited, patiently impatient, for the next autumn to arrive.


Autumn

By Bonnie Kelso

@BonnieKelso

The path to Preston’s art studio 

is a narrow ribbon of dirt weaving between 

blackberry bushes and pine trees.

Wide-eyed cats stare 

as curious neighborhood dogs 

push wet noses into my empty hands. 

Finally, 

the crooked house by the creek. 

I walk inside, 

welcomed by the scent 

of sawdust and paint.

On the pegboard hangs folded art paper, 

printed leaves, 

familiar, 

but at the same time, 

different. 

In the corner is her name, 

not mine. 

Autumn

All these weeks, 

I thought I was the only student. 

I never realized how special it felt to be here, 

until now. 

Have I been replaced?

Who is Autumn? 

Is she clever? 

Pretty as a scarlet maple leaf?  

I feel like the dry crumpled one, 

smothered and crushed 

between sheets of fresh paper. 

Tossed aside. 

Forgotten.

“Hi, Summer!” Preston says cheerfully, 

“Come meet my new student.”

It’s her! 

She is vibrant and full of artistic promise.

Tears well up in my eyes.

As I turn to leave,

she grabs my hand and gives it a squeeze.

“Friends?” she asks. 

I am pulled to the table next to her. 

Our hands slide into the gooey golden paint 

and I feel special again. 


The Rainbow Tree

By Brenda Whitehead 

https://www.brendawhiteheadwrites.com/post/the-rainbow-tree-a-fall-writing-frenzy-contest-entry

@BrendaW_Prof

The day I saw the Rainbow Tree,

I could have stared all day.

The ruby red,

The flaming orange,

It took my breath away.

The yellow shining like the sun,

The green still peeking through.

And at the top?

A purple crown.

The one hue missing? Blue. 

I knew right then I wanted one—

I knew the perfect spot.

I sowed the seed,

And as it grew,

I shared my every thought.

But I was small, and didn’t know

That trees are slow to grow.

As seasons passed,

I soon forgot

That rainbow seed I sowed.

But still that rainbow seedling grew,

Unnoticed in the field.

Until one day,

My tears were hot—

I wanted them concealed.

So out I ran, and there it was.

It took my breath away.

The reds and purples,

Greens and golds.

It beckoned me to stay.

I climbed into the leafy limbs,

I hid among the hues.

And as I cried,

And shared my thoughts,

I added in my blues.

The day I found my Rainbow Tree,

I found my fall retreat.

For when the storms 

Of life bring tears,

The rainbow is complete.


The Unthinkable Path 

By Krista Legge

@kristalegge

WOW! What an intriguing path.  

A road so perfectly smooth, trees so picturesque it takes your breath away.

What do you think the rest of the path looks like?  Why don’t we create it together?

Close your eyes.  

        Think about the path.  

                Visualize it.

Do you see your path?  Good, let’s go!

Start down the path.  

        Are you walking? Riding a bike? Driving a car?  

Sharp turn up ahead!  What will you do?

Great job, that was close!

Here comes a big bump!  How will you stay on the path?

Whoah, that was quick thinking!

Oh no, what is that up ahead? A dark tunnel in the middle of the path!  What is the plan?

Impressive.

Where’s that rumbling coming from?  A herd of deer across your path! STOP!!

That was close.

Holy HOLE!  

Hmmm, how are you going to move forward?

Awesome idea!

Whoosh!  Leaves and branches swirling and whirling. TORNADO?! HOLD ON!

You made it!

Wait, what happened?  

        Oh, no! 

                The path is incomplete…

That means YOU need to create the rest of the path!

I know you can do this!

I can’t wait to see the path that you create!


I can’t wait to get this discussion underway about what we can learn from these creators and their pieces!

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

PS who’s excited about Storystorm next month? And Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas this month?

45 thoughts on “Analysis Fall Writing Frenzy 2020, Week 6

  1. These are all so lovely! I can see why they are winners. All of them!!! I couldn’t get Ever and Oak out of my head. You know its a good story when it you come back and read it again, and find it equally delightful.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hmmm…taking a stab here. I’m smelling scents, hearing a whoosh, seeing pigments and hues, some brilliant, some subdued, seeing sawdust and leaves, meandering and wondering down a path, a lot of nostalgia, a few tears. I’m seeing Autumn go out in a blaze of glory. Impatience for it to return. Applause for all the writers!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ever & Oak By Amy Flynn

    This was one of my favorites overall from all the entries into this year’s contest. Wonderful, wonderful friendship story! It has to become a book someday.

    My favorite bit:

    “Day after day, Ever waited.

    He protected her from the icy wind.

    He supported her bare, snow-covered branches.

    He hummed her favorite bird songs.”

    I’m telling y’all–my heart just grew 3 times larger.<3

    My one, ever-so-small comment would be to take a 2nd look at the word "Disbelieving." It kind of popped out as not quite fitting into the word choices & feel of the rest of the story. Maybe it's not a "kid" kind of word? I'm not sure. Plus, Ever & Oak would've grown up together in the forest & he's seen Oak go thru these changes. Maybe he *knows* she'll wake up but he's always a bit on edge each winter until he sees that she is actually doing it.

    Anyway, I'm overthinking it. LOVE this piece so much. Great job, Amy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! What a great analysis, and if you have more word space, showing oak’s decline a bit more can help, it didn’t make sense that ever was disbelieving when he projected oak for so long so so expanding on that can help too, but this was also one that I almost put in the characterization theme too because they both pop off the page as great characters, also almost went on lyrical because the descriptions are amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ever and Oak is one of my favorites also. I like the repeated “the best of friends” thread running through. Like Carrie, the word “disbelieving” seems out of place to me but otherwise It’s lovely.
    The theme I see in them all is trees and leaves. I thought it might be how deciduous leaves change through the seasons but the last story doesn’t fit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! The pieces that we have been reading/analyzing are all incredible.

    “Ever and Oak” was delightful! I liked the manner in which the description of the changes that occur was written. However, the friendship between Ever and Oak did not change!

    “The Autumn Parade” Once again colorful changes were noted as well as anticipation and waiting among “friends”.

    “Autumn” Colors and change as well as friendship were seen throughout this piece.

    “The Rainbow Tree” Spoke of nature, color and friendship. I particularly like the use of the word “blue” which can also denote sadness.(I could be totally off track with that thought 🙂 )

    “The Unthinkable Path” This was a very engaging piece. The “path” was changing and encouraging, friendly words..”I know you can do this..” were spoken.

    There seems to be a common thread of change, sometimes colorful changes, as well as creating and maintaining friendships!

    Enjoy this special time of year!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thanks!

    I am looking forward to Tara’s “Storystorm”. I have my journal ready to go!
    Even though the holidays are always fun-filled but hectic, I look forward to Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas” as well!.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. EVER & OAK – clever use of names (esp. given the word count limit)! Love how some lines repeated, showing how some things remain constant in friendship even as the individuals and their relationship change. Such a beautiful friendship depicted in so few words!!

    THE AUTUMN PARADE – like a real life parade, that chunk where the parade was happening really stood out and was extraordinary! Incredible word choice (to personify and differentiate the characters) and love how the introductory STEM concepts would make you want to learn more about the trees in the parade.

    AUTUMN – how special! It makes the reader think and feel with equal gravity.

    THE RAINBOW TREE – I remember reading this on submission day and being wowed. My favorite thing about this is that kids and grown-ups will read this so differently. It could be one of those stories that you love as a kid (cause rainbow tree!!!) then grow up and realize what it was really about.

    THE UNTHINKABLE PATH – very cool. Love that it’s interactive and incredibly exciting! So many surprises. Something kids will definitely enjoy and I’d imagine even get creative with in succeeding reads (deer turns into their favorite animal, etc). Just a question for Krista on the meaning behind ‘unthinkable’ — I read it 3 times but still couldn’t quite grasp it (to me, it’s more a ‘thinkable’ path than an unthinkable one)!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As always love your analysis, especially the adult and child versions of tree and autumn making you think and feel, I totally agree! I’m excited to hear Krista’s thoughts on unthinkable and I just adore this, helping people see the different ways to creativity ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for the feedback. I went back and forth with the title, but I landed on The Unthinkable Path because to me unthinkable means – Contrary to what is probable, something that is out of the question; and that is what this path is meant to be. When I think about “paths” that people and kids take in their lives, those comfortable, probable paths, that is the opposite of the path I want them to create in this story.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh my gosh I got goosebumps reading this! Thank you for sharing, Krista. Really appreciate it PLUS it makes me appreciate the story in a different way! The last lines take on a whole new meaning. It ends the text, but begins a new story. ❤ What a great thought to leave with kids!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My guess on the theme – something about time, everything takes time to create and grow.

    Ever and Oak – I could hear the sounds of the forest as I read this one. It brought all my senses to life. And I was connected to the characters and felt relief when Oak finally responded.

    The Autumn Parade – I could see children enjoying this story, the excitement of the animals and who doesn’t love a parade. The description of the animals were well written, as I could visuals each one and their excitement.

    Autumn – I loved the uniqueness of this story for this contest. It was not about the seasons, or the outdoors, but children and the use of their names. And I love any story about friendship.

    The Rainbow Tree – the ability to show this story in words was wonderful. And the last lines are very powerful and made this story memorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As a nature lover, I was drawn to all of these stories. I see them all as using the seasons as a way to structure. And they all do it differently – focusing on all the seasons, just one, or some but not all. It’s been a great study for me to try things in different ways. Thanks, Kaitlyn,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I love that! When you all find such cool ways they’re connected that I didn’t even intend, it’s the best, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying experiencing other ways to do things, it’s why the first advice for being a writer is to read, read, read. You’re doing great!

      Like

  9. My guess on the theme is that they are all personifications of autumn. Each takes on a new form. The visuals I see when I read these are intense!

    I was tickled to see the stories I was paired with. Really, all of them were just lovely.

    I love the conversational feeling of old friends with EVER & OAK. They are real live characters jumping off the page, even though they are firmly rooted to the earth. The buzz of activity around them adds to their aliveness. Beautiful word choices, Amy. I mean, really. You are a wonderful writer.

    In Katie’s AUTUMN PARADE I can see all the colorful trees marching their way through the woods. What a visual delight. I almost would hate to see this one illustrated because there is no way it could match the visuals I am getting in my head when I read it. It almost feels more like an animated song.

    In mine, the girls are the personification of the seasons.

    In THE RAINBOW TREE, Brenda brings the child’s emotional space right into the branches of the tree’s loving embrace. It’s like they need one another. Over the centuries people have had strong relationships with trees. She pulled in the emotions of that relationship right into her story. Well done.

    In Krista’s THE UNTHINKABLE PATH I felt like I was inside a video game. So creative and exciting.

    Each of these stories seem to contain a transformation of the typical autumn experience.
    Thanks for featuring these stories again on your site, Kaitlyn. I love the deeper dives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for diving into these, I hope you share screen more about what you were inspired by and anything else you’d love to share. I love your idea of theme, it’s not the one I chose but that’s what makes this even more exciting, you all find other beautiful ways they’re connected! I really loved your mention of the strong connection with trees and the video-game like aspect of Unthinkable! You know what’s so awesome about the Kidlit community is I totally feel you with the fact that words are more beautiful than can be Illustrated but I’ve seen so many artists take those images from in their heads and make them even more beautiful on the page, isn’t that so mind-blowing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yes, illustration adds a whole second layer to PBs. Thanks for asking about my story! This was the first in a series I’ve been working on about my own childhood memories. When I was five I used to walk to the other side of our small Appalachian Mountain community to visit a local artist, Preston, for lessons every week. In my pocket, I carried a crisp five-dollar bill for him from my parents. He had a shed that had been transformed into his art studio and that’s where we made leaf prints, banged odd pieces of wood together with a hammer and nails, and other random creative lessons. It was a magical portal where only I was given full attention (no little sister tagging along). I took it for granted until the day I met Autumn. She was a real person. I remember so vividly the feeling of being replaced. I worried that Preston liked her better than me and that I was no longer good enough. Of course, all of that was coming from my own lack of self-confidence, not from anything said by Preston or Autumn. I wanted to express those feelings in my story. I do plan to develop it further, as well as a few other memories that are so crystal clear in my heart-space. I was so excited when I was selected as a winner for this story. It was validating to know that I was writing about something worth sharing with a larger audience.

        Like

  10. Love all of these, and so appreciating the thoughts on my own piece! Hmmm…as for theme, I’m thinking “waiting.” Ever waiting for Oak, waiting for next year’s Autumn Parade, Summer waiting for a friend in Autumn, waiting for the Rainbow Tree to grow, and waiting to see how the Unthinkable Path unfolds!

    EVER & OAK–this is such a wonderful personification of the season change. I especially love Amy’s gift for kid-friendly language that still carries deep emotional undertones. For example, the line “The sun went to bed early and woke up late.” One suggestion would be to bring back the bird songs in the last scene, since that’s a bit of a theme throughout and would finish it off nicely. As always, lovely! 🙂

    AUTUMN PARADE–I love the rich color and spirited action of this piece–you can’t help but feel the forest’s excitement! It’s funny, as I was reading the last line I was anticipating a different finish–I assumed that instead of waiting for the next Autumn parade to arrive, the Evergreens would be waiting for the SPRING parade–all of the blossoms and buds when the leaves return. Maybe an opportunity to explore alternate endings? 🙂

    AUTUMN–this piece is so creative and mind-bending, I love it. The text itself may be a bit abstract for children, but I can envision illustrations that would bring this right into the child’s world. I adore the theme of a potential rival emerging as a friend, and the acceptance of change–keep going with this! 🙂

    UNTHINKABLE PATH–this one struck such a different chord from the others, so fun and interactive! My 3- and 5-year-old boys would have so much fun with a book like this. I can imagine this expanded for a PB, with even more twists and turns (oh, the fun illustrations and page turns!). A PB text could probably even drop some of the specifics (e.g., “A dark tunnel in the middle of the path!” or “A herd of deer across your path!”) and leave that up to the illustrator (perhaps with those lines in illo notes as an example of what could be happening).

    Thanks again Kaitlyn for this series! Although I can’t participate every week, I do enjoy reading the pieces and comments–always learning. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brenda, you are wowing me and we’re happy to have you ANYTIME you can, especially with these stellar analyses! Please share something special about your piece that we wouldn’t know. I LOVE all your suggestions about other great ways to end by circling back to he begining, heading into another season or adding extra fun analogies! I feel exactly the same about the Unthinkable Path, it’s why I put it on my winners’list immediately when reading it, it was already a pb in my head and I love that you hit on how abstract ideas, like in Autumn, can totally work for children especially with images! Such an important thing to remember that you can share more with kids than we sometimes think.

      Like

      1. Ah, I forgot the part about my own piece! My inspiration for “Rainbow Tree” was my 5-year-old differently-wired kiddo, who sees and feels things so much more intensely than most. He was 3 and spotted a color-changing tree, and immediately dubbed it a “rainbow” tree. He also has a very special connection with nature, and is constantly climbing trees when he needs “space”–trees are his friends, and I can see this connection becoming even stronger as he grows. One of my goals in the new year is to rework this piece to see if it will work for a PB, so I truly appreciate all of the thoughtful comments and encouragement! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Gosh, I don’t know how I missed so many of these in October. They are each absolutely gorgeous, intriguing, inviting. From the imagery of Ever and Oak to the meta voice of the Unthinkable Path.. these each take me to the Forest for a sweet, stress-free escape.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The Autumn Parade: I love Katie’s descriptive word choices. The imagery they invoked was vivid and instantaneous.

    Autumn: There is such a fun connection here between the characters and the seasons. It is one that could be reread over and over, each time pulling out something new.

    The Rainbow Tree: SO CLEVER! I love, love, love it! Given the freedom to expand beyond the contest word count parameters, it could become a full-blown PB easily!

    Unthinkable Path: Just when you think all the fourth-wall-breaking books have been done, you read one like this. It would be a fun read with my littles and begs to be reread with the end changing every time!

    And, as to my own…thank you for all the kind, helpful feedback. This was a fun one to write and I’ve been working to turn it into a full story. I completely agree with the conflict of why this winter was different – why Ever hadn’t encountered this with Oak before and let’s just say when you have a tiny word count lots of backstory must vanish!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Better late than never! Finally getting to catch up on post holiday blog reading.

    EVER AND OAK – to start I just love the title and the clever play on evergreen. Their playfulness and childlike language ring so true, as do their ritual special games, like all best friends have. Favorite line: “The sun went to bed early and woke up late.” Completely charming story!

    THE AUTUMN PARADE – I love the personification of these autumn trees. Katie did an amazing job capturing their unique personalities with so few words.The maples and oaks really do feel like the matriarchs/patriarchs of the forest. So well done! And the pines, firs and spruces enjoy the parade just as much, although for entirely different reasons. Very clever.

    AUTUMN – I love Bonnie’s story. The personification (again – that could have been a theme this week!) of the seasons as girls was brilliant. And even though children often have those feelings of wariness, jealousy, uncertainty of the new girl, they are also so quick to easily make friends and shatter those doubts in an instant.

    THE RAINBOW TREE – oh my gosh I just love this. So sweet and powerful at the same time. I wish I had one! This would make a terrific pb.

    THE UNTHINKABLE PATH – is so creative! It’s like an exciting guided meditation, I love the creative doors it opens in one’s mind; I bet kids would have different answers and each reading. Really great!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. These stories are so incredible!

    Amy’s Ever and Oak is such a beautiful friendship. I absolutely love Amy’s word choices (scamper or squirrels, volley of acorns, sprinkle of needles, burst of buds) and the examples she uses to show their close frienship are perfect – relatable but unique to trees. The patient way Ever waits for Oak and rejoices when she wakes is so darn sweet – I got a little teary.

    Katie portrays the excitement of the season so expertly it made me want to show up too! I adore “danced and dipped”, “prickled with excitement”, “scampered and skittered”. This story oozes child-like wonder (Lemony Ginkoes skipped, tiny trickets to cherish) and the language – swoon (orange-hued hats, golden robes, dropping jewels).

    Bonnie offers such a unique perspective in “Autumn”. I never would have thought to personify a season and show it’s jealousy and insecurity. I love her evocative descriptions – narrow ribbon of dirt, the dry crumpled one, smothered and crushed, slide our hands into the gooey golden paint. Just beautiful.

    Brenda’s “Rainbow Tree” felt healing to me. I feel so comforted returning to the creek and woods I explored as a child and this story reminds us how intimately connected we are to the earth. I adore the ending – completing the rainbow with our sadness acknowledges and heals. What a cool concept and well executed story!

    Wow! Krista created a meta story. Is that the right term? This is so unique and cool. My kids would love to drive along this story path. This should be a picture book, don’t you think? I love the message to create your own path.

    Liked by 1 person

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