As a creative person it is not uncommon for my brain to be filled with ideas, projects, stories and then suddenly nothing. Then it starts over again. Sometimes a get up while in mid-conversation with my husband and start gathering items for a creative photography project. Sometimes I load up the car and go for an adventure. Sometimes I sit at the computer and type all that is in my head as fast as I am able. It is a great gift that I am an excellent, and very fast, typist. (I must thank my parents for having an at home business run by the whole family that required monthly bills being typed, stuffed, stamped and mailed.) TANGENT!!
I’ve had a story swirling in my head in various forms for quite a few years now. Recently I stumbled across a Facebook post from a website called Hokustory (www.hokustory.com). At that time I was working with a variety of special needs children at all reading levels. I was also dual immersed with my own children’s struggles in school. Thrilled to find a free, online resource of high content, low reading level books for the learning disability/difference crowd was amazing. Even cooler, I noticed the website was holding a contest to increase it’s library of books. My first thought was to tell my 17 year old son (who is a phenomenal story teller) about the project. The stories had to be high content (for middle school and above), but also added the challenge of being written in simpler vocabulary with straight forward plot lines. My son was excited, checked out the website and came back to inform that he needed to be 18 to enter. DOH!
At that moment I had an epiphany — why couldn’t I write a story. I knew exactly what I would write. I knew the characters — as they had lived in my head for years. I wrote a story a few years ago about a little girl who was lost, stuck in her head, and came across a bag of marbles that lead her to her guardian angels. Her name was Ruby. The only problem (which was not really a big problem) was the story was not written for this target audience. I had to rewrite, rework, make relevant and reconstruct Ruby. The other challenge — I had two weeks to submit the story.
I wrote, edited, proofed — and told no one. It was personal enough that I wasn’t quite ready for the “you suck” syndrome many creatives experience. The contest announced four top winners. I was not on the list. Oh well. Time to move on. Maybe it just wasn’t good enough. A couple weeks later I received an email from the StoryShare Contest (the organization partnered with Hoku and Tar Heel readers) informing me that my story was selected out of 500 submissions. It was placed in the category “by a parent” and would be voted on for a sizable cash prize. I had to read the email twice, send a reply asking for verification before I could literally pinch myself and start to share my accomplishment with the world.
So, who is Ruby? Ruby is a middle school girl who struggles. My vision for the story was that she had an unopened tool box into her brain. Both her teachers and she didn’t know how to access her strengths. Meanwhile she floundered in full time special education because she could not access general education classes. The key to her brain falls within a bag of magic stones. They bring her to different guardian angels who show her how to unlock her strengths. As a result the world around opens up to her.
The winners of the StoryShare contest will be announced after March 21, 2014. I feel totally overwhelmed by the support I have received from friends, family, educators, friends of friends, and even some people I’ve only recently met. I’ve even begun to think about looking for a publisher for the story — and potential series about Ruby and her Magic Stones.
If you would like to read my story please visit http://www.storysharecontest.com. My story is listed in the “by a parent” category. If you love it please click on the heart in the upper right corner to vote.
If you would like more information about Hokustory (the amazing website encouraging all this writing) please visit their web page at: http://hokustory.com/contents/about