When writing for children, take a LEAP—write a story that teaches (LEARN), captivates (ENTERTAINS), AND gets the child to do something (PROVOKES).
Welcome to the Winners Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we’re celebrating Rebecca Loescher whose entry Leaf Me Alone came in Second Place in our Fall Poetry Contest!
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
My entry was submitted to the Fall 2022 contest, which was to write a 16-line fall poem.
How many writing contests have you entered?
I’ve entered six writing contests.
Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
The title of my poem is Leaf Me Alone! It’s written in the complaining voice of the dead-leaf frog, who has no use for fall’s bold leaf colors, which attract attention…the one thing it doesn’t want. A dead-leaf frog is all crinkled and blotchy, and, well, it looks just like the dead leaves where it hides, in camouflage. So, Froggy stays gratefully content to look plain old ugly…and live.
What inspired your winning entry?
Naturally, for a fall contest, fall’s brilliant leaves come to mind, but, if I were to incorporate them, it needed a twist. A poem of mine about the dead-leaf frog came to mind, and I revised it to create humor with Froggy’s reactive tone.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
I love the challenge to write a poem with a line limit. For me, it’s a delicious, heady exercise that can only improve and hone one’s “wordsmithing” skills. I welcome the agony eagerly, understanding well the meaning of the statement (forever with inexact attribution), “If I’d had more time, I would have written less.”
How did the critique in the Winners’ Workshop help you?
Suzy did a particularly careful job critiquing, the most effective result being that of the insertion of a hyphen in “dead-leaf frog,” the main/only character, making the term more readily understood by the young reader and those of any age…and I totally agree and will use this subsequently! Thank you, Suzy!
Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your “day job”?
I’m retired from teaching in my preschool. I write mostly in winter, and enjoy my fun “summer job,” delivering my several independently-published picture books on the island where we live in summer. I enjoy doing book signings, readings, and author visits there.
How long have you been writing?
I have been for about 12 years.
What will you do with your piece now that it’s been recognized?
I will submit this poem to some of the children’s magazines I have published poems in regularly.
Any fun plans for the prize money?
I want my prize money to count by sending it to aid those in desperate need and under oppression.
What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I feel the “active body, active mind” concept is very helpful here. I’m up and moving a lot, and think this is much more productive than to sit at a computer, trying to come up with ideas. For me, writing in rhymed verse always energizes my brain, spurred on by the creatures playing in my head.
If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children’s literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?
When the Littles have a garage sale (when the Bigg family is away on vacation, of course), I would go in hopes that they had a tiny book about cats for sale to give to my literary cat.
Anything you’d like to share about your IFW experience?
Oh wow, where should I begin? ICL’s contests are top rate super! I love their well-chosen themes which challenge writers to stretch and grow in various aspects of the craft. The weight of ICL’s reputation, plus the way the contests are designed so professionally, including their wonderful webinars, together make their contests a valued effort. And a big thanks to Kelli P. for her fun, enthusiastic hosting of the webinars!
Will you be our next contest winner? Discover our current writing contests here!
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