Conference Challenge #1: Voice or Point of View?

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Okay, folks, there’s only eight weeks until our Creating Sparks: Kindle the Fire of Imagination conference, so you know what that means. It’s time once again for our . . .

Eight-Week Conference Challenge Series!

And yes, maybe we are insane by doing May Mid-Grade Madness next week as well as this, but we’re writers! Writers are supposed to be insane! Being insane is fun! Besides, we have to do something with all those crazy voices in our head.

And the person who wins this year’s raffle basket is going to be very happy when they see what’s inside. We’ve already scored a copy of Knuckle & Potty Goes to Happy World AND Jeri Smith-Ready is donating three paperback books from her SHINE series, which Publisher’s Weekly said in their starred review is a “… a fully satisfying read, with well-developed, believable characters. Smith-Ready changes the world completely by simply changing our ability to see.”

That’s just the beginning . . . more goodies will be added, so let’s get right to it by first reviewing the challenge rules!


Those who complete the challenges will get raffle entries for a super awesome delectably stuffed goodie basket and the winning ticket will be pulled at the July conference on Saturday.

– Completing FOUR of the EIGHT challenges will earn ONE entry.

– Completing SIX of the EIGHT challenges will earn TWO entries.

– Completing EIGHT of the EIGHT challenges will earn THREE entries, woo-HOO!

Once again, we’re doing this strictly by the honor system so you don’t have to submit your work unless you’d like to share with the class. (We love sharers!) You are required, however, to leave a comment in the challenge post saying you have completed the task for the entry to count.

Each participant will also have to tell us whether they are attending the conference on only Saturday or Sunday or both days. If the winner at Saturday’s drawing is not present because they’re a Sunday only attendee, they will receive their prize on Sunday. If they are a no-show on Sunday, then a new winner will be selected.

If you miss a week, you will be allowed to make it up. All that matters to us is that you do them honestly and completely, but you still must leave a comment in the original challenge post. (Links will be provided in each challenge.)

If you are a writer and illustrator and complete all eight writing and drawing entries, you will receive six entries. (For you non-drawing writers like me, stick figures do not count!)

Don’t forget that all May Mid-Grade Madness participants who complete their challenge will also receive four entries!

And now that the official ho-ha’s have been addressed, let’s get going!

Our first challenge is being provided by the lovely Bobbie Pyron, author of A Dog’s Way Home and The Ring, a Booklist finalist for the Utah Book Award and what Publisher’s Weekly said is “Well written . . . Mardie’s character will hook readers.”

At the conference, Bobbie will be giving a presentation called, My Life as a Dog: A Year of Magical Thinking, and will discuss how she managed to slip into the skin of a dog to create Tam’s chapters in her book, A Dog’s Way Home.  Learn about the need to embrace the magic of writing and creating, especially when writing the first draft.

Take it away, Bobbie!


Which comes first: voice or point of view? They are both intimately tied. Here’s a little exercise to help you play with both! Take each of the traditional fairy tales below and write a 500 word or less re-telling of the story from a completely different POV. I’ve suggested some possible substitutes for the traditional viewpoint, but feel free to come up with your own:

• The Princess and the Pea: tell the story from the POV of the pea, the Queen, a mattress.

• Cinderella: how would the glass slipper tell this story? One of the “ugly” step sisters?

• Little Red Riding Hood: tell the story from the basket’s POV! Or how about the grandmother? Or the lumberjack who comes to the rescue?

Get your timer read and set it for 30 minutes. Ready, set, write!

And now for our . . .


Since our writers are writing from different points of view, why don’t you sketch out the cover for their twisted fairy tales? Or sketch out a character drawing of the main character.

Have fun!

And don’t forget, everyone, to register for the conference as soon as possible. Spots are filling up at record speed so you don’t want to miss it! And you know how I feel about critiques. The sooner you submit them, the better!

Happy writing and drawing, everyone, and good luck to all our challenge participants! 🙂

Here’s links to all the challenges:

Conference Challenge #1 – Voice or Point of View?

Conference Challenge #2 – Why do you love it?

Conference Challeng #3 – Give yourself a WooHoo!

Conference Challenge #4 – Speed Plotting

Conference Challenge #5: The Reverse Book Trailer

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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23 Responses to Conference Challenge #1: Voice or Point of View?

  1. Laura, I believe you could make having wisdom teeth pulled-woohoo fun. Thanks for all the fun you bring to the pre-conference.

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Aw, thanks, Teresa! My soon-to-be graduating son would beg to differ, though. I nearly had to duck-tape him to the chair this morning to finish his announcements!! There was no finding a woo-hoo for that one! 😉

  2. Of course, I accept your challenge. I think I’m going to tackle it AFTER the mid-grade madness challenge, though. I may be insane, but I can only do so much at one time!

    Meanwhile, I have my fingers crossed that the conference won’t fill up before I find out our official moving date (I’m hoping that I’ll be here mid-July and not already on our way to Albuquerque)!!

    • Laura Bowers says:

      I was hoping you’d participate! You have your Rock Star title to protect. 🙂 We’re keeping next Wednesday’s challenge very easy. Still, I plan on tackling all the challenges mid-June because otherwise – my head will explode!

      Hope you will be able to make the conference! 🙂

  3. Julie Dietzel-Glair says:

    Done! I took your idea of writing The Princess and the Pea from the pea’s POV. I’m not ready to share yet but I love how different the story is from that POV.

    Also, I had recently purchased “Writing Picture Books” by Ann Whitford Paul and had read the chapter on POV only a few days ago. I feel like I’m taking a class and the lessons have taken a practical turn. How fun!

    I’ll be attending both days of the conference.

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Awesome!! Congrats, Julie, for being the first one to complete a challenge. Way to step up! 🙂

      And I haven’t heard of Writing Pictures Book. I’ll have to check it out, thanks for the tip!

  4. Sue Poduska says:

    I’m working on it. But the subject is a secret. I seem to be channeling an interesting character. Oh, good. A new voice in my head.

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Ooo, a secret, I love it! And there’s always room for yet another voice in the heads of crazy folks like us. 😉

      Congrats, Sue, way to keep up that Rock Star status! 🙂

      • Sue Poduska says:

        I noticed many of your suggestions were inanimate objects, so I bucked the trend. I think you can figure out this story and the POV.

        Confessions of a Fairy Godmother
        By Sue Poduska
        Honestly, that Cinderella is the most unappreciative child on the face of the earth.
        I’ll admit she was in a bad situation. Her father was gone and her stepmother was bad news. Then there were those two stepsisters. What a pair!
        Cinderella was a sort of live-in maid. She did need a fairy godmother, or maybe a backbone. To hear her tell it, though, she was more like a slave. She cooked, she cleaned, and she never had any money or any fancy clothes. And she didn’t like her stepmother.
        The day the ball was announced, I was checking up on the girl.
        “What up, Cindy?” I asked.
        “Same old same old,” she said, continuing to stir the big pot of stew.
        “You really are clueless, you know.”
        “What do you mean?” She looked up hopefully, like I had some juicy gossip.
        “The prince is having a ball to find his future mate and everyone’s invited.”
        “Oh, that. I thought I heard a murmur upstairs. But I can’t go. Not with all the chores and no clothes to wear.” Back to stirring.
        “Silly. That’s why you have a fairy godmother. A few waves of the wand and he won’t be able to resist you.”
        “I guess. But what do I know about being a princess?” She’d moved on to sweeping the pantry.
        “Plenty. Trust me. You want to go to this ball.”
        I had to convince her to become a princess! Finally, we had a plan set. I would come the day of the ball, wave my wand to finish her chores. One more wave for her gown. And waves to transform a pumpkin, mice, and a rat for her transportation. Boy, was my arm tired.
        As she prepared to hop in the pumpkin coach, I told her to leave the ball by midnight. My spells have a tendency to go poof at the end of a day.
        “Sure. I know,” she was off.
        At midnight, I gave up waiting for the coach to return. Instead, I saw her walking home barefooted with one shoe in her hand.
        “Where’s the other glass slipper?”
        “I think I lost it inside the castle. What a great party. And I adore that dreamy prince. No wonder so many girls are after him. When do you think they’ll do this again?”
        When she caught her breath, I reminded her this was a one-shot deal.
        “Oh. Probably never see him again.” And she trudged to her bed.
        The morning light brought news that the prince was looking for the girl attached to the lost glass slipper. Cinderella was once again clueless, so I told her to hall herself up to the front door when the prince’s minions arrived. Without me, she’d still be making bread for lunch.
        As you can imagine, it ended happily, but I got nothing for my troubles. Nothing.

  5. Pingback: Conference Challenge #2: Why do you love it? « As the Eraser Burns

  6. Pingback: Conference Challenge #3: Give yourself a woo-HOO! « As the Eraser Burns

  7. This sounds like fun! What a great warm-up for the conference–and what a great challenge for a newbie like me. Here you are:

    Pandora’s Box

    The pressure was sometimes almost intolerable; troubles swirled around me, humiliation and frustration; sorrow and longing; need and want and countless others. In the dismal and stuffy confines of that box, the constant ebb and flow of their greedy demands, their ambitions, their evil plans, clamored for escape, rapping on my sides and straining at the hinges and hasp that kept me closed.
    Outside I knew there was warmth of the sun and the caress of the wind. In season, the rains fell, leaving the air clean, refreshed. By the Winter Solstice, snow piled up in a blanket of bluest white and I dreamed the long nights through. Summer brought birdsong and so many perfumes, the sticky sweetness of magnolias, the heady scent of roses, the spiciness of daisies, all surrounded by the fragrance of long meadow grasses.
    It is true. I thought the world a paradise, a paradise I could only dream of.
    I had existed from the beginning of time as had my fellow prisoners. While they struggled for freedom for their mischief, I found a corner of quiet where I could ease the discomforts all around. As they strained to burst into the world, I encircled them with my calm and quiet.
    And all was well—for a time.
    Eons passed and the gods created humans for this paradise of my dreams. Haephestus the craftsman was charged with making woman; Athena the weaver clothed the beauty that Aphrodite gave her. The messenger Hermes blessed her with the music of speech.
    They named her Pandora.
    Then one day the mortal Prometheus stole fire from heaven. He claimed an element that belonged only to the gods. Zeus, king on Olympus, exacted his revenge for this insult. Zeux sent to Prometheus the woman Pandora. She brought with her a girt, the box that had been my home since the beginning and told that it was ever to remain shut. Yet the gods have given her one more gift: curiosity.
    One day the inevitable happened. Pandora lifted the hasp and ever so gently raised the lid. The humiliations and frustrations, sorrows and longings, the needs and wants and countless other ills streamed through that small space like a thunderbolt exploding from a cloud of black.
    Pandora struggled lower the lid, lock the box but it was too late. There was nothing left in those confines but I.
    I rapped gently, so very gently, to ask Pandora to give me my freedom too and slowly, fearfully, carefully, she raised the lid a second time.
    My name is Astrea. They call me “Hope.”

  8. I did it! I wrote all three stories (Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Princess and the Pea) from different perspectives. So far, I only have one of them up on my blog. (I’m saving the others for later this month, when I know I’ll be crazy busy with moving stuff and won’t have as much time for blogging.) Love the 30-minute time limit! It really helped me to just have fun writing and turn off the internal editor 🙂

    Here’s a link to my blog post, in case you’re interested in reading it 🙂

  9. Miranda McClain says:

    I finally finished this challenge. I chose The woodcutter from Red Riding hood, The footman stacking the mattresses from the Princess and the Pea, and the fat rat with whiskers who gets changed into the coachman from Cinderella. This was a lot of fun. Thank you!

  10. Pingback: Conference Challenge #4 – Speed Plotting « As the Eraser Burns

  11. Pingback: Conference Challenge #5: The Reverse Book Trailer « As the Eraser Burns

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  16. Joy Heyer says:

    While procrastination is my usual m.o., this time I honestly did not know about the challenges until yesterday. So, instead of staring at the messes to be cleaned, I ignored them and thought of different POVs for the three stories. I chose the pov of the castle maid in the Princess and the Pea,the Duke who is tasked with searching for the foot that fits the slipper in Cinderella, and the wolf in Red Riding Hood. I also drew the covers for each of the three stories. My 8 year old was very interested in what I was doing and later came to show me 4 stories she had come up with and sketches of the covers. What an inspiration.

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