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1 Story Ticket: Campfire Stories

posted Jan 6, 2018, 11:34 AM by crystal carroll
A new year and a new book. A children's book.

It grew quite naturally out of stories that I've been telling my friends kids while camping (or okay, sometimes when we get together). The title comes from how this storytelling works. It's important to set a limit on the number of stories or I'll end up telling story after story (err... this may have happened one trip). Each child gets one or two story tickets (don't tell them they are index cards). When they turn in their ticket, they get to choose who is in their story (name and what). I then tell them a story based on what characters they picked. Unicorns. Goddesses. Robots. etc.

I write the characters names on their ticket (this is the only way for me to remember the cast) and draw some quick images as I tell the story to show what's going on.

About halfway through the summer last year, I started taking pictures of the tickets once the story was done with the idea of writing up a few of them in the winter. After finishing Clay of Many Colors, and a brief holiday writing exchange, I wrote these stories and worked on the illustrations to fit the stories based on my ability to draw squares and circles in layers (Ah, computer drawing is a wonderful thing). Admittedly, they're a bit longer and more complex that what comes out in the moment. 

The first story: Sparkles!!! (which my editor tried to correct because multi exclamations isn't grammatical) is a mashup of a number of stories I told the first summer. I think I told 12 stories all with characters named Blue Sparkles or Red Sparkles or Rainbow Sparkles. There were a lot of sparkles.

The adventure of Princess Werdystyle was also a story from the first (unticketed year). I just love that a kid came up with that name and a dragon named Crimson Sparkles. Naturally, she had to be a Viking princess in search of the World Serpent. Have I mentioned that nothing much dangerous happens in these stories. There's a lot of tea and coco and cookies. Adventures are going some place. In this particular case, the drawings involve a certain amount of tracing, because there's no way I could draw the feathered serpent or the world serpent without a Meso American carving and a photo of the world respectively to work off of. I was also glad to see some images of mermaids wearing clothes while wandering the net, which gave me an idea of the image of the merfolk playing a game.

The story about the tree who dreamed of being a cloud was an idea (and line) that occurred to me when looking at a cherry tree in cherry season, and I saved to tell the kids when the moment came.  I wasn't expecting a child to ask for Plant Girl and Tree Girl, but when you're handed a perfect opening, you take it.

The Topsy Turvy story is really one of many stories I've told where I have characters body swap or transform. Generally when I get a cast of 10+ characters from a kid. It's a simple way to create tension without worrying them about anyone being in danger. BTW this is based on knowing my audience. This particular story includes a place for a kid to draw themselves and their own name into the story. This is because the girl asking for this story included herself and her mom's names in her story, and I let her pick what happened when the kid and the mom switched places.

The robot story has been changed from the original characters. One little boy asks for characters thoroughly in copyright. The story about the non-gendered robots (they're robots - they are not boys, they are not girls, they're bots), I drew based on images on the net of Afro-futurism & Samurai, because I am really looking forward to Black Panther. 

The low flying star is actually something I thought of outside of the children's story time, but it seemed like a natural to include.

Check them out and read aloud to a little one. 

Now onto the next writing project (and a little reading).
There will be an Amazon Kindle version, but they're still working on converting the images.