Welcome to the website of writer Erin Boatkicker

Erin Boatkicker is a young writer with grand fantasies of using a handful of words to change someone’s life. She’s constantly busy and sometimes even surprises herself by how much time she can find to write. She’s a university student majoring, unsurprisingly, in creative writing, as well as working two jobs, learning to drive a car, planning a wedding, and dealing with her crazy but mostly lovable family. Right now, she's put all her other writing projects on hold and is focusing entirely on Only Make Believe, a novel she started for NaNoWriMo 2010. She hopes to have the first draft finished before November 2011.

Friday, February 18, 2011

On a short Story

Remember me talking AGES ago about a little story called Mr. Buttons?

Well I finally finished writing it. I edited it down to fit into NPR's Three Minute Fiction contest. I went to submit it. Re-read the submissions guidlines and came across these horrible words.

entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 23, 2011.
I looked at the date and time on my computer. "January 24, 2011. 2:02 a.m."

I wanted to cry, or die, or throw something. TWO HOURS! I MISSED THE CONTEST BY TWO HOURS! Well, if you want to be REALLY specific, two hours and three minutes.

I'm taking a film class this semester, a production class. One of our assignments is to make a short, 3-5 minute film. Three minute story can be translated into a three minute film, right? I'm going to make it so. Mr. Buttons will soon be a short movie. I can't guarantee the quality of any of it. I'm new at this. But Damned if I'm not going to do something fantastic with Mr. Buttons, and do it soon. It'll take some editing to turn it into a movie script rather than a prose piece, but it'll work. I've already got it halfway done.

Fairy Tales

Lately I've been going back to the hundred-times abandoned Fairy Pumpkin Adventures story. Clever title, no? I think I need a new one. Yes, the story is about fairies and pumpkins and adventures, but that's a crummy title.

I was 7 or 8, maybe 9 the first time I started writing this. It's a childrens story. It's a GOOD story, even now. I think, finally, I will finish writing it. Finish editing it. Submit it somewhere. I'm not sure yet where I'll submit it, because I'm not sure yet exectly what it is.
The story, the characters, I know all of that. But the writing itself, what I would classify it as? What it's target age-range is? Well CRAP!


The story is light. A fairy tale more Disney than Grimm in style. It's main character is an 8 year old girl. Are 8 year olds still interested in fairies? I was a weird kid, at 8. I watched both Sesame Street and The Nanny on tv. There was no in the middle. It was either "baby stuff" or "grown up stuff"

I don't know what 8 year old's like. I have two little sisters, and I remember them being 8, but I can't, for the life of me, remember whether fairies were acceptable, or too babyish.

And then comes the whole trouble of the writing style. I could easily make the main human character a few years younger, if 8-year-olds aren't into fairies. But I think the style that I have the story written in, so far, is too sophisticated for an 8 year old. I've been doing my research, reading kids books. Sometimes, I think it's fine, other times I wonder if it's written a little too "adultly" (why yes, I DID just make up a word. GO ME!) If the writing is too advanced for the average 8 year old, should I keep it anyways and hope that the parents will read it with them, or that the kids are advanced? Do I leave it alone and hope that older kids pick it up and read it, despite being older than the main character?

And then we get into labels. I don't know what to call it, how to categorize it. I don't know whether to submit to magazines, or publishers (or agents, whatever). I feel a little lost. If I send to publishers, are kids books genre-sorted, reading-level sorted? I can't even seem to find that information anywhere. Does each publisher do it differently? I don't even know what any kids magazines are, so I don't know how I would submit to them, if I wanted to..

The story isn't finished yet. Length will have some factor on where I might consider publishing (I wont send a novella-length story to a magazine) but I still feel so lost. I understand how Y.A is done. I understand how regular adult books are done. I don't know about children's.

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