Storystorm Restart

Topics: Writing
Storystorm 2020 logo

This year the blog has languished. The submissions have sputtered out.

I have a variety of excellent reasons that are so painful I don’t want to get into them. Some of them happened to me like life does. More of them came from inside like the no-good-who-do-you-think-you-are goblins who growl inside all of us.

In the middle of all that happened, I clung to writing and drawing like one of those float rings in the movies.

Speaking of life rings, have you seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Where he jumps out of a helicopter into the freezing Atlantic? And skateboards in Iceland towards a volcano? So ridiculous. And I think the people who made it saved me last year with their crazy story.

Here it is in case you missed that one or are thirsty to see it again like I was this morning:

I also met a wonderful aspiring kid lit illustrator at a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators event in Seattle. Leslie hooked me up with Tara Lazar’s fantastic Storystorm–the January event where picture book writers and others commit to coming up with one story idea a day for the first month of the new year.

Because of Leslie and Tara, I now have a journal full of way more than 30 ideas to start off 2020. I even played with Troy Cumming’s exercise for letter writing on the 16th day.


Write a letter (or series of letters) between two characters. These characters should be as different from one other as possible.

For instance:

  • The giant is writing a letter to Jack about this beanstalk ruining the resale value of his castle. (What’s the giant’s handwriting like? And imagine the size of his postage stamp!)
  • The hare is writing to the tortoise demanding a rematch. (What’s the hare’s writing-rhythm like, vs. the tortoise’s?)
  • A professional baseball coach is writing to the world’s greatest pitcher, who happens to be a second grade little-leaguer. But the second grader is NOT interested.

I picked the last one, inspired by some kids and coaches I have known over the years. Working to get the voice and the handwriting was especially delightful. I found an angry hippie letter for the coach, some handwriting analysis experts, and one of my older kid’s notebooks with his made up Pokemon characters in 3rd grade handwriting.

Letter from a coach trying to recruit a talented kid pitcher Part one of the kid's refusal to work with the kid Part two of the kid's refusal

January was dark and stormy and full of ideas for me.

May you find your own stories in the storms-


About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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