Writing Exercise #8/Conference Challenge #4 – What If?

What would Jane Eyre do if she had to save Mr. Rochester by traveling through a tesseract to a distant planet, as in a WRINKLE IN TIME?


How would Harry Potter battle cancer, both emotionally and physically, if he took Toby Steiner’s place in DEFIANCE?


How might things have turned out if any one of the cows from CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE lived in the same barnyard as Wilbur in CHARLOTTE’S WEB?


Susan, you have got to stop writing these challenges during Happy Hour. Your crazy comes out.

Hate to break it to you, friends – I’m as sober as a judge. And maybe a bit crazy. But that’s what these exercises are for – to let it go, go a little crazy, and write. To explore the ‘What If?’.

Okay…so you want us to write a new novel?

Of course not! I may be crazy, but I’m not sadistic.

I want you to write flap copy (aka jacket copy). You know, those three or four paragraphs on the inside flap of a book cover that sells the story. It also includes author information, though you don’t have to do that part unless you want to! Grab a few books and read the flap copy to give you an idea of how to write one. Also, check out the blogs Pen and Prose and  A Publisher’s Perspective for pointers. And just for fun, read Flap Rules.


Writing Exercise #8/Conference Challenge #4

Take a character from a novel or picture book – anyone you choose – and put him or her in another book. How would that character handle the conflict of the story? What limitations would they have? As you can guess, the possibilities are endless. Now, write the flap copy for that new book.

Illustrating Exercise #8/Conference Challenge #4

Illustrate the cover for the above book.

Let your mind go and have fun!!


Conference Challenge #1

Conference Challenge #2

Conference Challenge #3

About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
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19 Responses to Writing Exercise #8/Conference Challenge #4 – What If?

  1. Sue Poduska says:

    This could be really good for getting to know your characters and for spotting holes in your plot.

    I was imagining Scarlett O’Hara in the Hunger Games. I was giggling before I got through the flap copy.

    Scarlett O’Hara has been transported to Panem and is chosen for the Hunger Games. How will she defeat her opponents? Will she think about that tomorrow? Will she ever be hungry again? See her charm the pants off her sponsors. Watch her use that hoop skirt in ways you never considered.

  2. Miranda McClain says:

    A spell gone horribly wrong. A sudden burst of light, and instantly Elphaba is no longer in her dark tower somewhere in the south of Oz but standing in the middle of the bustling streets of Regency London. Unexpectedly with out her precious Grimmerie, Elphaba seems lost beyond belief, that is until she meets a handsome stranger, the amiable Mr. Darcy.
    Darcy is enchanted with the strange, yet lovely green girl and finds himself quickly forgetting the charms of Miss Elizabeth Bennett. Only with the unforeseen assistance of Lady Catherine De bourgh, who realizes having Lizzie for an in-law is immensely preferable to one who is green, can Elizabeth hope to regain the affections of her Mr. Darcy.
    This delightfully, quirky tale will have you routing for both heroines as they discover the true meanings of love and friendship.

  3. Jenny Sokol says:

    When Mouse from Goodnight Moon wanders into the night in search of adventure, she meets a dapperly-dressed mouse named Stuart. Awed by Stuart’s tales of sail boats and fancy cheese, Mouse runs away to live with the Little family.
    After a near fatal mishap operating the Little’s microwave, Mouse begins to rethink life in the fast lane with her charming beau. Thoughts of the old lady whispering hush pull at her, forcing her to choose between Stuart and her past. Readers will root for Mouse as she faces the age-old question: Can a mouse ever really go back?

  4. Sarah M says:

    I have to start this by saying I was influenced by my 14 year old sister and the movies the books were turned into. It’s the next cult teen classic, haha.

    Bella from Twilight in Harry Potter:
    Something was wrong, very wrong. The weather was right. Rainy, like I remember Forks, but everyone seems to have an accent (not a terrible thing right??) Not only do I have no idea where I am, but something is very wrong with my vampire love, Edward. Everyone keeps calling him Cedric and he doesn’t know me anymore. What has happened to everything?? Where am I? And what is going on with my Edward? How will I ever make this right…

  5. When Harold survives a tornado, he discovers that he has been transported to the magical land of Oz. His purple crayon may be the key to finding his way home. Lions and tigers and bears are no match for the fierce guard-beast that comes to life with a scribble of Harold’s purple crayon. Even the wicked witch’s flying monkeys can’t penetrate the force field Harold sketches. He will make it home by bedtime, but the Emerald City may never be the same.

  6. Pingback: Conference Challenge #8: Preparing for a successful conference! | As the Eraser Burns

  7. Pingback: Writing Exercise #12: Quote it up | As the Eraser Burns

  8. After a particularly nasty row with his wife, veterinary surgeon James Herriot finds himself standing in front of the drawing room couch with a pillow, a blanket, and an empty stomach. What follows is a dizzying trip in and out of weeks and over a year to a verdant land filled with creatures Herriot never encountered in university, but who bear remarkable resemblances to his inlaws. It will take all of James’ considerable talent and mettle to quiet their terrible roars as he performs dentistry on their terrible teeth. Through his ordeal, Herriot will learn that some creatures, whether great or small, are even more frightening than his wife with a bee in her bonnet. But when it is time to sail back to the quiet comforts of home, will he be able to escape the beasts he has come to love?

  9. I appreciate, result in I found exactly what I was having a look for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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