July 15, 2013

Summer Short And Sweets...Again :)

Howdy folks!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

I was thinking...  It's been a while since we did a Short & Sweet, so how about we do one today?
badge created by Loni Edwards

(Hmm...  I've just noticed the Summer Short & Sweet badge says 2012... well, no matter, we're writers, we have good imaginations, we can imagine it says 2013 :))

We'll make it really short and sweet, because I know we're all crazy busy, and it's summer, and we really need to get to the beach or the pool or the lawn sprinkler ASAP in this heat :)


Here is the challenge for today:

Make up a character by answering the following questions:
1) boy or girl?
2) human or non-human? (animal, alien, monster, etc.)
3) age 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7?
4) lives in city, country, ocean, underground, or outer space?

Got it?  (You can use as much or as little of this as you like - it's just to help you imagine your character a little bit.)

Okay.  Now here's the thing about this character.  He/she has just gotten a pet.  But not just any pet.  Your character did NOT get a dog, cat, fish, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, snake, bird, mouse, rat, or iguana (or any of what are considered usual/common pets.)  Oh no sirree bob!  Your character got something else entirely!  Pick an unusual and/or outrageous animal to be your character's pet.  (And if you want to be surprised, or can't think of anything at this hour of the morning, pick a number from 1-12 and go with the corresponding animal below.)

1. elephant
2. zebra
3. tiger
4. otter
5. kangaroo/wallaby
6. ostrich
7. giraffe
8. lemur
9. porcupine
10. penguin
11. camel
12. gazelle

Now.  Write the opening 1-5 sentences of a children's story in which you introduce your character, tell us what pet he/she has, and WHY this is a problem and/or WHAT he/she plans to do with this pet.

For example:

Jenevieve had always wanted an elephant, but when one arrived on her front porch two days before kindergarten she found herself in a bit of a pickle.
Mom worked at the hospital.
Dad worked at the firehouse.
Jenevieve would be at school.
Who would take care of her elephant?

Feel free to write as much as you want :)  I hope it will spark a fun idea for you.  And if your idea stalls out, perhaps someone else's will give you inspiration :)  My mind is off and running :)  I'm envisioning Jenevieve interviewing potential babysitters, looking for a playgroup or daycare for her elephant, coming up with a list of activities/amusements to keep him occupied while she's gone, or thinking about how she might sneak him into kindergarten.... :)

Have fun, everyone!  I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Happy Monday and Happy Writing! :)


  1. This is a cool game to play. I love your example Susanna. Having an elephant show up on your doorstep could certainly cause problems.

    I'm trying to finish off my first draft this week, so I won't have a chance to play. I'm still thinking about the possibilities of pets. Hmmm. Maybe a hippo. One almost escaped from the zoo during the recent floods in Calgary. Now that would have been shocking.

  2. What a fun Short & Sweet! Okay, here goes:

    For Emily’s birthday, Uncle Alfred sent her a baby giraffe.
    Emily named her Cocoa.
    Emily loved Cocoa.

    And Cocoa loved Emily.
    But raising a growing giraffe in the suburbs wasn’t easy.
    It wasn’t so bad when Cocoa annoyed the squirrels.
    Or when she got stuck in the pet door.
    But when Cocoa ate Mrs. Abercrumble’s prize geranium,
    That’s when the trouble began!

  3. Ooh! What a fantastic idea! A hippo that escapes from the zoo! I might have to write that one (since I don't htink it would make good fodder for an NA novel :)) Good luck finishing your draft!


  4. I LOVE it, Cheryl! I don't know why some topics seem to really appeal, but everything I think up or you guys think up for this game sounds like it would make a really fun story! :)

  5. Thank you, Susanna! It must be because you're such a good thinker-upper. :-)

  6. I only think up the prompt - you think up the good stuff :)

  7. Your Short and Sweets are always a wonderful way to get my imagination going...though it doesn't go anywhere fast before my caffeine fix. LOL!

    I'm pushing my stalled brain up a steep hill here...

    Zach ran out the front door so he wouldn't be late for the school bus. He was in such a hurry that he didn't see the little blanket wrapped package on the step until his little fieldmouse feet tripped over it and he landed on his little fieldmouse nose.

    He peered into the package as he rubbed his nose. "A baby cat!" he gasped. "But...but...we're mortal enemies!"

  8. This is fun!
    Here is my short and sweet:

    Mimi the lion has a pet kiwi. You know, those birds from Australia with the big beaks. The problem with Kiwi the Kiwi is that whenever he walks around he stumbles over his own feet because his beak is so heavy. Mimi plans to get a stroller for him, but how could she get one that’s the right size?!?

    ~Neighbor Girl :)

  9. This is a great exercise. Thanks for posting it.

  10. Glad you like it, Rosi! I hope you'll share whatever you come up with :)


  11. Your uncaffeinated brain is doing just fine, Teresa! :) Sounds like trouble is afoot...! :)

  12. That is an excellent question, Neighbor Girl! And I'm wondering how Kiwi is going to stay in the stroller without his nose making tip right out of it onto the ground?! Thanks for joining the fun :)

  13. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJuly 15, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Jimmy Shoemaker lived in Gregson City in an apartment with a room at the tippytop. Jimmy loved Madagascar. He went there once a year with his parents to help the endangered animals and to plant trees.

    But trouble all started when the package arrived.

    It was a ringed-tail lemur! Jimmy's favorite lemur! With a necklace that said:

    To: Jimmy

    From: Uncle Don

    Hope you like this gift!

    But the apartment didn't even want people to have HAMSTERS...


    I think I already have an ending - once Jimmy solves the problem, he gets another package from Uncle Don! ;)


  14. I love it, Erik! It's very clever! I like what sounds like a circular ending... :) There are ringed-tail lemurs at our nearby zoo (I think their names are Norma and Nathan, but I can't quite remember - I'll have to ask my daughter :)) and they are cute, though not quite as friendly as the black and white ones :)

  15. I am not very sure so I will leave that up to Mimi. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way that a kiwi's nose will be heavy wherever it is.

    ~Neighbor Girl

  16. Great idea Erik!Thank goodness I don't live in a place that doesn't allow hamsters. That we be tragic! My hamster is hard enough to take care of (yes, that's right, a hamster that is hard to take care of), I can't imagine a ring tailed lemur.

    I love the black and white ones though.

    ~Neighbor Girl

  17. Jacob raced up all five flights of stairs to his
    apartment. Tomorrow was his 8th birthday and he was having a big
    party with all of his school friends. Blocking the doorway was an enormous crate.
    Could this be the present he was expecting from his father, a photographer away
    on an expedition to the Antarctic. He slid past it...brrrr...he could feel the
    cold through the holes that were poked in the wood. Jacob put his eye right up
    close to one of the holes.

    Yowie!!!! Jacob jumped! An eye was looking back at

    Wait a minute! There were all kinds of stamps and labels
    on the box...sender: Paul Simmons...yes that was his father. But the name and
    address of the person who was supposed to get it was hard to read – the label
    had gotten messed up.

    Jacob stepped back to think. The box is at my door.
    The label says it is from my father. Tomorrow is my birthday and I am expecting
    a present from him. This must be for ME! Jacob ran to the kitchen to get the
    special scissors Mom used for cutting up a whole chicken from the store when
    she wanted to make fried chicken for picnics. Thinking about that made Jacob
    hungry, so he grabbed the peanut butter and jelly sandwich Mom always left for
    his snack.

    Using the strong shears, Jacob cut through the metal
    bands that were holding the crate together. One by one, the bands came off. One
    by one, Jacob lifted away the wooden planks. And one by one, five baby penguins
    waddled out into the living room.

    Five baby penguins! What was Dad thinking? How would
    five baby penguins survive in Miami, Florida? Jacob knew he had to do something
    fast. Running to the bathroom, he started filling the tub with cold water.
    Running to the kitchen, he grabbed ice cube trays from the freezer and emptied
    them into the tub. Running to the living room, he scooped up one baby penguin
    at a time and carried it to the tub. And then he sat down on the edge of the
    tub, eating his peanut butter and jelly sandwich while he watched the little
    penguins splashing happily in the water. I
    don’t think Dad meant to send me five baby penguins for pets, Jacob
    thought. So where are they supposed to
    go...and where is my present? Like a detective in search of clues, Jacob
    went back to the living room to look at the crate and labels more closely.

    What fun, Susanna! I couldn't resist...and now have a new picture book story idea...or maybe early grade chapter book. Thank you for always inspiring me.:)

  18. Absolutely LOVE this, Erik! You are a creative genius!

  19. Hey! You can't just stop, Vivian! Who was supposed to get the five baby penguins and what is Jacob going to do with them and what is his real present??? :) I'm glad you were inspired! This is like a combination of the Short & Sweet and the recent mystery contest! Thanks for sharing!!

  20. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJuly 16, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Well, obviously, they are better singers!
    "I like to move it move it" ;)

  21. It's too much fun! But now I have to go and clear out another closet. :(

  22. What fun ideas everyone has come up with!!
    Here is a simple framework for my story . . .

    Genny the giraffe lived on the Savanna in Africa. One day, she found a most unusual creature sitting under a Baobab tree, crying. This creature was small and tan, with two legs, and two big brown eyes. But, that was a problem: the creature was a girl! How could Genny feed her pet, when her neck and legs were too short to reach the leaves on the topmost part of the tree?

  23. LOVE this twist, Jarm! How clever! I think you should write this one! :)

  24. Short and sweet - love it.

    The screen door slapped shut as Curtis barrelled down the worn wooden steps to the yard. He'd seen the grounded gull from his bedroom window. Seagulls were always flying over the island's beaches and marshes, but Curtis had never seen one sitting on the grass. Something was wrong. He slid to a stop on the still damp lawn, and eyed the gull. As his Grandpa rounded the corner of the house, Curtis said, "I think our new pet just found us."

  25. This is wonderful, Michele! I really like it! So nicely written. I can picture the whole scene and I already feel that Curtis has a kind heart. I hope you keep going with it! :)


  26. Michele Adams NormanJuly 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Thanks Susanna - for both the invitation and encouragement :)

  27. You're welcome! I really do like it :)

  28. Here's mine:
    Proberta Gerber wanted a pet, but her dad was allergic to fur. And Mom's rule was a pet would have to be small and quiet. Proberta thought and thought. Cats, dogs, gerbils, hamsters, bears, and lions were out of the question. So were elephants, giraffes, and whales. She went outside to think some more.
    And what did she find?
    It had rained during the night and next to pets, Proberta loved mud. She took off her shoes, rolled up her pant legs.
    "Let the squishing begin!" she yelled. But stopped. There next to her big toe was the most perfect pet! It was small. It was quiet. It had no fur.

    She cupped it up. "Hi, Wormy. Will you be my pet?"
    Wormy snuggled into her hands. It tickled. Proberta giggled. She remembered last year's lunch box. "It would be a perfect house for you, Wormy. I'll fill it with mud and you can live in my room. And...."
    Proberta blinked and imagined her parents' faces. What would they say? How would they feel about a worm under her bed?
    "Well, Wormy, maybe they don't have to know."

  29. How fascinating, Erik! I like the combination of endangered animals and kids.

  30. Oooh, mortal enemies coming together! You've piqued my curiosity, Teresa.

  31. LOVE this, Linda! I sense a moral dilemma coming on when Proberta keeps her new pet hidden from Mom and Dad, and I'm wondering what will happen when they find out! Love Proberta's name and that she thinks a worm would make a great pet :)

  32. Cheryl, this has so much appeal. Very heartfelt!

  33. Wait. What? How will Jacob solve this? Who is the rightful owner? Wonderful set up, Vivian

  34. Thank you so much, Linda! :-)

  35. This is wonderful, Linda! I love the voice. And it has great potential for all sorts of fun happenings. :-)

  36. Thanks, Susanna! I wrote a version of this years ago and this S&S is making me rethink my little Proberta. BTW, on I5 North there is a sign for the 2 towns of Proberta and Gerber where i got her name.

  37. I can almost smell the ocean with this one, Michele! Hope Curtis can help the hurt gull.

  38. Oh, I love that! I love great road signs with unusual places or road names, or evocative ones like Fiddler's Bridge :)

  39. Thanks, appreciate it, Cheryl.

  40. oooh, Fiddler's Bridge. Nice. I love signs too. Plus driving is so boring.

  41. I really appreciate your kind words, Linda! I do love Susanna's creative writing prompts...they encourage me to stretch to write in new directions.:)

  42. Oh, this brings back memories, Linda. As a kid, I loved gardening with my grandmother...the earth was filled with squirming worms...watching them moving in the overturned soil was fascinating. I love your character's name! I wonder what will happen.:)

  43. I agree with Linda...I can see and smell and feel the entire scene! Great story.:)

  44. This is ingenious, Jarm! I love it.:)

  45. Oh my! Now I'm going to have THAT stuck in my head :)

  46. Whoa! Lovely twist. And am curious how Genny will solve this one!

  47. I never thought of the heaviness of a kiwi's beak! A stroller? A wheelchair? A skateboard? Hmm.

  48. especially if it escaped in the winter in Calgary!


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