Blythe Jewell

I'm awesome.

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2

The Minute

Hi. I'm Blythe. I'm a writer and editor based in Austin, Texas. I'm taking this class because it's a precursor to the "Illustrate Your Story" class, which is what I really need to finish out my children's picture book.

I've already written and illustrated a book of humor poetry for adults, which I self-published last year (called Something Smells Like Pee (and other Classy Observations); it's available on Amazon and BN.com). The illustrations for that book were mostly an afterthought, though, and I need to focus a lot more on pictures for this next concept I have in mind.

My story is called "The Minute." I have the narrative worked out pretty well at this point -- a little boy learns what the true value of his time is, and realizes how important it is not to waste a single minute on things that are unimportant. I'm still working out the details and it needs some serious editing... I'll likely post a rough draft here soon, with updates as I polish it up a bit. I only have a couple of very rudimentary sketches done so far; I'll try to get those fleshed out a bit and post them, too.

I'm a writer, NOT a professional artist, so the illustrations are going to be the biggest challenge for me. For that reason, I probably won't spend a ton of time on this class before moving on to the next one. Just wanted to get a little background here before I really dive into the picture and layout part of this project.

With that said, I'm super excited! Thanks so much!

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Unit 1: Exploring Picture Book History

What type of picture book you plan on writing -- My book will be a type of Easy Reader, targeting a slightly older age range (5-10).

The title and book cover of one of your favorite picture books (modern or classic) -- I'm a huge fan of Shel Silverstein and Lafcadio is the book that first sprang to mind when I first started outlining my concept.

I also really like Hilary Knight's illustrations in the book Eloise, so I'll probably use these as inspiration, too.

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Unit 3: Writing Your Story

Optional: First manuscript draft (eek!)

I'm skipping Unit 2 because I don't need it for this project. I already have a story written and think my structure is pretty solid.

A rough draft of my story is below. It's meant to be very whimsical and sweet. It's based on an ongoing conversation I have with my son, who's now seven, about how much his time is worth, and how important it is not to waste it on things that don;t really matter in the long run. This conversation usually comes up when he's upset or angry over something, and was also reinforced last year when both of my gradnparents died. He suddenly became very aware of the fleeting nature of life, and I used the opportunity to remind him that "Every minute is precious" -- so it's important not to waste even one.

Comments and/or suggestions are welcome... but please be kind! This story is very near and dear to my heart.:-)  I'd especially like any ideas about the illustrations that should accompany the story. I have a million different (and very conflicting) ideas about the images that would best suit the story, and have no idea how I'll make this happen. Since I'm not a professional artist, any drawings will have to be pretty basic.

Anyway. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your feedback!

The Minute

A little boy came home from school one afternoon. He was very sad.

Some other boys had been teasing him that day, calling him names and saying mean things because he was a little different.

When he came home, he was still crying.

He told his mom what had happened. She put her hand on his shoulder and said, "Please don't cry. Don't waste one more minute worrying about those boys. They're not worth your time."

The little boy thought he knew what she meant, but he couldn't stop feeling sad. So he went outside and sat on his front step, still crying and feeling very alone.

Just then a tiny cloud floated into the yard, and with a quick poof! a Time Fairy appeared before the boy. Hovering over him with quick wings, she asked, "Why do you cry?” The boy explained about the bullies and said his mom told him they weren’t worth his time, but he wasn’t exactly sure what that meant.

“Would you like me to explain?” the fairy asked. The boy nodded. So the fairy flicked her wand and in an instant a tiny, magical box appeared in her hand. It held a 60-second clock.

She handed the box to the boy, saying:

“This is your minute. You can do anything with it that you like.
It belongs to you and only you can choose how you spend it.
But it's the only one you have, so you'll want to spend it wisely.

You can spend it out here alone on your front step,
feeling sad because someone hurt your feelings,
or lonely because you are different,
or angry because things didn't go your way,
or worried about what will happen tomorrow.

OR, you can spend it learning something new.
You can spend it creating something beautiful.
You can spend it having fun with a friend.
You can spend it reading a book, running wild outside, climbing a tree…
Swinging, jumping, laughing, dancing…
You can spend it with someone you love.

Now, boy, with all of those choices, and so many more, it's time for you to decide.

How will you spend your minute?”

Suddenly, the mean things that those other boys said didn't seem to matter so much. The boy only had one minute, after all, and he didn't want to waste it thinking about them.

No, he wanted to spend his one minute doing something that mattered.

Something special.

So he asked the Time Fairy: "Do you know of any other boys or girls who might be feeling sad right now?"

The Time Fairy thought for a moment, then told him of a little girl who lived down the street. She had been teased by some kids on her way home from school that very day, because she was also a little different.

The boy said, "I want to spend my minute with her. Can you take me there?"

The Time Fairy smiled, took the boy's hand and gave her wand a quick flick.  With another tiny little poof! she and the boy stood on the lawn of a house not far from his own.

On the front porch a little girl sat alone, crying.

The boy walked right up to the step, sat down next to the little girl, and gently put his hand on her shoulder.

“Don't cry," he said. “Don't spend another minute crying. It's just not worth your time." She looked at him through her tears and asked what he meant.

"Well, you see, " he said. "It's like this. Imagine that you have a minute. Just one minute, and nothing more. You can spend your minute feeling sad, or mad, or lonely...."

As the boy explained, the Time Fairy watched, and she knew that the minute hadn't been wasted. No, that minute had been very, very well spent.

And she had a feeling the next one would be, too. And the next, and the next, and the next.

And so, with a happy little smile, she turned. And with a poof! she blew away.

----The end.----

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