Monday, 31 October 2011

PiBoIdMo - I'm EXCITED!!! And I'm Issuing myself an additional challenge!

PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) kicks off tomorrow and I'm excited!!!

As a new picture book writer, the ideas have already been flowing thick and fast.  I am looking forward to adding (at least) another 30 ideas in 30 days.

With my idea-generation-confidence sky high (given my fertile newbie imagination), I have decided to extend the challenge for myself.
Each day during the month, I am planning on issuing a PiBoIdMo writing prompt for my fellow participants. If you want to receive the prompts (or just want to see if I can complete my challenge), just follow me on Twitter (@GaryMasskin) or check back here on my blog.

I'd love to hear back if it helps ignite an idea or two... feel free to leave me a blog comment or Twitter mention.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Ode to Lunch

Yummy yummy in my tummy
A monster sandwich
to match a monster hunger
Monster hunger bugging me
Can’t survive on snacks and tea
Looking forward to my lunch
What’s in store, I have a hunch

Not just any lunch will do
Satisfy my taste buds too
Ask politely ‘Tum, wassup?’
‘Monster sandwich, conjure up!’

Have not eaten one for many
Years gone by, not eaten any
Surely I’ve been missing out
Now my daughter has some clout

Like a scratch unto an itch
Pesters Gran for a sandwich
‘Make it huge, as huge can be
That’s what we shall have for tea!’

‘Fill it with all kinds of stuff
Don’t go easy, teeth are tough
Load it up with meats and spreads
Fancy cheese and many breads’

‘Philly, butter and Nutella
Vegemite is also stellar
Capers, onion, salmon smoked
Add pineapple - I’ll be stoked’

‘Meat delight with every bite,
Somehow it just tastes so right
Even ox tongue, on a dare
Tasty, swiss and camembert’

‘For some beetroot and an egg
Please, oh please, don’t make me beg
Mayonnaise, a can of tuna
Could you make it ready sooner?’

‘Layer fruits and veggies too
Nothing (almost) is taboo
Carrots, honey, sweet sultanas
What the heck, just go bananas’

Mind if I have a few nibbles?
Juicy! Down my hands it dribbles
Every bite, a brand new taste
Makes me want to eat with haste

Peanut butter… crunchy munch
Mustard pickle… munchy crunch
Monster sandwich satisfies…
What a grand old lunchy lunch!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Mathematical Gymnastic Linguistics

I'm a pestic what?!?
Who would have thought that coming up with a story and then making it rhyme was the easy part? 
I am currently working on a re-write of Chasing Tail and am mostly focussing on getting the rhythm consistent.  When talking about rhythm, one enters a whole new realm.  A whole new language.  The linguists have made up lots of funny sounding words and even taken common words from the English language and given them new meaning, just to describe… <drum roll please> how the English language works.
Navigating the shores of diphthongs, triphthongs, schwas and demi-syllables (linguistics)… and the stormy seas of iambic, dactyl, anapestic and trochaic patterns of feet in lines of trimeter, tetrameter, pentameter or hexameter (mathematics)… one must also be somewhat flexible (gymnastics) in order to bend the words into coherent verse (let alone a complete story).
Needless to say, I’ve just developed an even stronger appreciation for the likes of Theodor Geisel (aka Dr Seuss) who was obviously a grand master mathematical gymnastic linguist.
Just for the record, I am aiming for rhyming couplets in anapestic tetrameter for my re-write.
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
And be damned how many syllables the dictionaries claim are in the word “smile”; I’m counting it as two beats J

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Here's hoping "Scruffy McPaw" translates well into Greek

Whilst thinking about how long, realistically, it would take me to establish any kind of name in the picture book industry, I got to thinking about my target audience and which generation(s) I'd be writing for.  I hadn't realised that according to some, my 4 year old DD only snuck into Generation Z by a couple of years.

So then I was trying to think what comes after Generation Z?  I thought that perhaps, Generation @ would be appropriate. Alas, looks like I am about 8 years behind the times on that one... apparently Generation @ is an alternative suggestion to Gen Z, as are Generation I (Internet Generation) and Generation Text... thanks Wikipedia.

 So what does come after Gen Z?  Apparently, the agreed name is Generation α (For those that don't speak physics or mathematics, that's an Alpha - as in the first letter of the Greek alphabet). 

Generation α

The unfortunatley-not-so-exciting reasoning is explained here.  

They will presumably be followed by the very imaginatively named Gen β (hopefully not too full of bugs - sorry, software engineering joke) but I digress.

They say that the attributes and qualities of a generation are not known until they have had a chance to make their mark.

So what do you think, what will Gen α be known for in 20 years time?

Saturday, 1 October 2011

In honour of the brand new Dr Seuss book

It's been 20 years since Dr Seuss passed away, yet his stories still enjoy massive popularity.  Today, a new book of his work is being released in book stores:

I felt very proud when I was told by a member of my writers critique group that the following excerpt from my Chasing Tail story reminded her of Dr Seuss:

He chases them high,
He chases them low,
He chases them fast,
He chases them slow,

He chases them big,
He chases them small,
If they wiggle or waggle,
He chases them all.

So, inspired by the comp at I thought that I would put together a short ode to my favourite Dr Seuss book:

The Cat in the Hat
Entertains just like that
I love fun with Thing One
And you too Thing Two

Dr Seuss
Is on the loose.
That cat in that hat
Rocks my caboose!

What do you love about the Dr Seuss books?