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The Teddy Scare: Version 4

by The Bar Stward 

Posted: 29 October 2009
Word Count: 671
Summary: I've done another rewrite. I've made it a bit simpler and gave the story more scope for interesting illustrations. If by chance it ever did see publication, I am imagining a 32 page book, with double spread pages. Each paragraph below would either feature on one page, or run along the two. Let me know if you thing it is worth pursuing, and be honest, I really don't mind, better than wasting my time.

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Version 4

Once there was a little girl called Aimee, who had a scruffy old bear whom she loved very much. His name was Patch and he had been with her forever, but he was quite old so Mommy always had to stitch him back together.

Together Aimee and Patch would have the most wonderful adventures every day; their imagination could turn even the most normal thing into something fantastic. Of course that is why it is so brilliant being a little person.

Aimee and Patch the washing room wasn't just a place full of dirty washing, no, to them it was a humongous mountain to be conquered.

And a cardboard box wasn't just something the new television came in, but to Aimee and Patch is was an interstellar spaceship, to take incredible journeys through our Solar System, to visit all of the planets, and to visit the people who lived there.

Best of all, the garden was not just some grass at the back of the house, it was a magnificent jungle waiting to be explored, full of strange creatures that only she and her tatty old bear knew about.

(Note: In the last picture you see Patch getting muddy and a bit torn)

One afternoon, when Aimee had just eaten all of her dinner, she raced to her bedroom to get Patch to join her on a new adventure, but to her shock and horror he wasn’t on the bed where she had left him, in fact he was nowhere to be found at all!

Had Patch gone exploring without her? No he wouldn’t do that, she thought, it is just not fun without each other. Then Aimee noticed a piece of white fluff on the floor, and then another, and another. There was a trail which wasn’t there before, and so she followed the pieces of fluff out of her room, along the landing, down the stairs and OH NO! The trail led to the scary black door under the stairs, and inside Aimee could hear a terrible grumble!

There is a monster under the stairs,’ thought Aimee ‘and he must have taken my teddy bear!’

Was Aimee scared? Yes she certainly was and she almost ran off, but then she remembered poor Patch. Would he leave her, no he would not!

Aimee decided she was going to rescue her friend and teach that horrible monster a lesson while doing so, and she had the most brilliant plan.

Aimee snuck into the washing room and found her Daddy’s pile of foul socks. They were the most terrible, smelliest, old socks in the whole wide world, but Aimee needed them for her super idea and so managed to hold her nose and take as many as she could carry. She raced back to her room and there she made a surprise for the monster.

If a monster is going to be stealing my teddy’s, thought Aimee, let’s see how he likes this, and at the end of her bed she put the whiffiest, smelliest, pongy teddy there have ever been. Aimee had turned her Daddy’s dreadful socks into a teddy bear.

That night Aimee waiting in her bed for the monster to come and pinch her trick teddy and when he did, the terrible smell would make him faint and then she could go and rescue poor Patch.

Aimee waited, and they waited, and waited until, oh no, she fell asleep. However, when Aimee woke up, the stinky sock teddy was gone, but back in its place was Patch. He looked very clean and he was nicely stitched back together.

Horray, Aimee shouted, my teddy is back. Obviously the monster didn’t like Aimee’s stinky surprise at all and didn’t want any more.

(Note: The illustrations would show that it was Aimee mother who took and cleaned/fixed Patch. While Aimee is imagining a horrible monster has taken her bear, in the background you will subtly see it is Mom who have taken him to repair/wash )

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Comments by other Members

NMott at 11:49 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
I would suggest gettin rid of the 'To an adult...' lines, and try to keep it from the child's (or teddy's) point of view. When an adult is reading it to their own child, it would feel odd to asy 'To an adult...' because to the child they will be 'mummy' or 'daddy', not an 'adult'. Plus, the adult view point is unfashiopnable in childrens fiction these days.


As for whether it's worth pursuing, as with learning to write in any genre there is a steep learning curve and it all depends on whether you're willing to work at it.


Just to add, when submitting picture book stories to agents, many expect 4 stories per submission.

The Bar Stward at 14:03 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
So you would suggest it is not worth just contacting an agent with the completed story, with the front page artwork (to showcase the proprosed style), in order to see if they believe it is something that could get published?


I've changed the 'to an adult' parts as recommended.

Issy at 15:03 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Scott,

Have been giving your story (the earlier version) a lot of thought. Definitely go with it, it's a charming idea, and any picture book story is going to take numerous attempts to develop it anyway.

The illustrations are going to go a long way to selling it, and I very much like the picture of Aimee on Flickr - in girly pink but with an expression about her that gives her a strong will which is so in line with the story.

And your daughter will love it,especially when she is older, if you produce a book based on her!

Anyway, down to business, and please do ignore anything that isn't helpful or annoying or is just plain daft.

1) What the story is about. For me it is about love making Aimee brave. Small children have lots of fears - I can remember some of mine vividly - and they are looking for ways to deal with them in this big world they've come into. Aimee faces her fears and deals with the monster herself. That is terrific.

(I might have got this wrong of course, and scratching below the surface of the story, it could be about something else entirely:
about loving something or someone whether old or wet or untidy; about rescuing teddy, as a child would be rescued by the parent, so making life and home warm and safe; about lost and found, a variation on the lost child and how he or she would feel frightened.)

2) I think it is key to work out what actually the story means, to give it depth and to plan the Wow! moments around they most important scenes of the story.

If it is about Aimee being brave then the key scenes are going to be her horrific imagining of the monster, and how scary that is, the point at which she decides to go into battle, (not sure how that could be shown in an illustration as it's not "concrete")the washing machine monster (could you draw it as a monster so that the reader thinks there is in fact a real monster, perhaps half hidden by the dirty washing and in the dim area of the cellar?)the return of Teddy and the picture, (I would recommend the last single page so that the reader has to turn over to see it and that it doesn't detract from Aimee's bravery in facing her fears) of mum feeding the washing machine with smelly sock or sewing up a teddy for the sibling or something like that so that the child is left safe in the knowledge that the parent is doing the protecting and there is no monster.

(Sorry, am going to have to dash out - will continue when I come back)

The Bar Stward at 15:11 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
The way I've got it planned is that I will make it clear Aimee is imagining what she thinks has happened. She follows the trail of fluff to the door and hears the rumble and then I will illustrate her imaginaing a monster in their with her pair, while subtly in the background I would show the mother going towards the door with a washing basket, with the bears arm sticking out (little clues but not giving the story right away)

The parts about her flying around the planets and going into the jungle would give me a great chance to create some very vivid pictures. As it is a picture book, the images will be telling the story as much as the words, but obviously you need a strong story first to work from.

I'm hoping to complete the picture over the weekend (after I've finished my design site new webpage) and when I do so I will show it to you all.

If I do proceed with this, I would work out a storyboard of what the illustrations would be, so when I contact an agent I can send them a PDF which will have the story, the cover art and the proposed illustrated pages.

NicciF at 15:15 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Scott

Its been very interesting to see how this changes and develops. It's great to see that you can read a variety of opinions, decide which ones ring true to you vision for the story, and then, very quickly, come back with changes.

IMO stick with it. It had the potential for a charming story, and you've got the talent to illustrate it yourselve.

I'm rather a newbie at writing for children myself, so I will leave the technical stuff and advice to other. Just wanted to say don't give up.


The Bar Stward at 15:18 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
It's definitely a new style for me, Memoirs is about a brat who lives a very dodgy, adult content, life style and my other project in waiting, Harmonies Journey, is hopefully going to be quite haunting and epic. I can write these big, long stories easily, but trying to shrink my ideas into less than a 1000 words have proven a lesson.

NicciF at 15:54 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Scott

I know what you mean about things being a lesson, except mine's the reverse. Isadora started out as about 1000 words. It was very basic and personal having been created for my 3yr old goddaughter who'd recently discovered every girl has a fairy and every boy a pixie. I'm having to learn how to take those very rudimentary bare bones and create a story that a wider audience will enjoy.

These might be rather daunting journeys we're embarking on, however, I have to say I'm loving every minute of mine.

Memories sounds facinating. When I have a spare moment or 3 (ha ha laughs hysterically) I'd like to go and have a look, if that's ok with you.


The Bar Stward at 15:54 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
I didn't really wanna cut Zac out of the story but adding him in added a lot of unnecessary paragraphs. However, I'm sure I can still add him in the illustrations, as a silent character in the background watching what is going on, perhaps either missing his own bear, a second little story in the background if you know what I mean


Memoirs does seem popular and I've got some hopes for it, but it is not at all gentle, lol. I started on Writewords years ago (you can still find my original membership in the directory under 'Scott'). When I first came on I was just starting to write (this might have been as far back as 2003), and I've always considered this site as an education, its like going to college!

ShellyH at 16:03 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Scott, I think this story is great. I know there are many teddy stories out there, but I do think this has something different - with the monster under the stairs element. Your illustrations are fab too, I'd love to be able to draw like that. I know little about the picture book market so others will be able to help you more, but I'd certainly carry on with it.


Issy at 16:39 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
Hi Scott,

Your call as always. I just wanted to point out that by introducing the safety net of the parent being behind the disappearing teddy too soon, meant that the reader would not experience fully what Aimee is going through.

The more I think of it the more I like the idea of the jungle and maybe this could be developed.

3) Things come in 3s in pic books so the three bears were great. But again the idea of 3 adventures might well be the stronger storyline and stronger pics.

4) Down to the nitty gritty of the wording and whilst the words have reduced really well, I feel they need to be much simpler and direct.

This is very presumptive and if you may never speak to me again...

1stdouble spread

Aimee and Patch like to explore the jungle

(Illustration of them both - reader has to turn the page to find the jungle. Alternatively, first page could finish on the word "explore" so that page must be turned to find out what they explore. )

(A third alternative would be to have the jungle pic there in the 1st spread but am a little apprehensive if that would work well as we need to understand the "ordinary, normal" world first.

2nd double spread

(Pic of back garden jungle, showing big tears in clothing.)

But they get their clothes torn.

They like to explore...

3rd double spread

the river

(pic of them down by the pond getting wet)

But they get wet

They like to explore...

4th double spread

the desert

(or if there is a muddy boggy place even better)

(pic of them in the sandpit very dirty)

But they get very dirty

5th double spread

(pic of them tattered trailing to the back door)

6th double spread

(several small pics perhaps)

Patch sits at the bottom of Aimee's bed.

Mum washes Aimee's hair.

Dad mends Aimee's clothes.

7th double spread

Aimee's bed is empty. Patch has gone. There is a trail of white fluff on the floor.

8th double spread

There's a monster under the stairs. He'd taken Patch.

"I'm going to teach that teddy thief monster a lesson!" says Aimee.

Sorry - seem to have gone on a bit! Please ignore if have gone too far.

5) I think the immediate present tense would suit this story and pinning it down to very specific events.

6) I also think if the book has been fully designed before submitting, so that the editor has very little to do but be amazed then it will present a very professional touch. It would be great if you could decide even where the words could go on the page for the greatest artistic impact. Great fun.

7) Would recommend that a text only version, a pic only version and a combined mock-up is sent in. You have a very definite advantage in that they won't have to pay an artist 25k for 3 months work to illustrate it.

Wish I could illustrate mine. Can never totally get my world over in words. Keep meaning to go to classes or get some on line course under way, but I get so into my writing, I don't quite manage it.

All the very best with this, and my apologies if this is all irritating. Lovely story. Could do lots of different things with it.

Issy at 17:47 on 30 October 2009  Report this post
Now I've thought of a possible flaw - the previous version set up the monster through the disappearing teddy bears, whereas in this version only the one disappears.

Not sure if this is a major problem, or one that could be dealt with by having the baby lose toys the same way - but there isn't too much space to combine both story lines.

It could be done by having one teddy for each adventure and then they disappear - depends how many pages are needed for the smelly sock bear as this is vital.

Issy at 03:57 on 31 October 2009  Report this post
What a relief, thanks for responding so generously Scott, I thought I had gone too far, and have been beating myself over the head ever since. I know what it is like when people take over my story, which is kinda what I did.

Any tips on picbooks from an illustrators point of view? Would so love to get an illustrated book off the ground (not exactly a picture book, but a story with pictures - have one that a local charity want to publish, but they are struggling on the art front - incredibly they have the marketing sussed out which is half the battle. I am still hoping I can do something myself, but as yet have not developed the skill. What I really want to know, is how do you produce that superb artwork that you have on Flickr? Did you go to art college or get a degree? I don't even know where to start.)

Will be totally thrilled if someone picks up your work and can relate to not doing it all until there is interest - that's why pubishers pay #25k to their established artists as it's going to take 3 or more months of their dedicated working time.

The Bar Stward at 16:34 on 31 October 2009  Report this post
I didn't go to college, well I went to sixth form and taught my teacher how to use a computer for art uses and showed the other kids in my class but even though I passed my a levels, I didn't go to uni as planned, I became a licensee instead (thus the inspiration for my Memoirs of a bar steward). I'm completely self taught, me and my brother use to compete for years to who ws the better drawer and it progressed from there. My dad had a friend who got us photoshop before it was commonly known bck in the 90's. If you go to my new webpage at www.scottevansdesigns.blogspot.com you can see down the right hand side how I do my designs, easier than it looks. Its just a dab of shadow and light that gives the big effect.

If you, or anyone, wants me to look at specific work and make any suggestions from a illustrators point of view, then just let me now, Ill be happy to do so. Remember, illustrators do not have to be amazing artists, its all to do with imagination and heart, I actually find it hard trying to draw more simply sometimes, but I do get asked that quite often as it is a popular style at the moment (the loose sketch style, that almost looks like its been drawn and coloured by a pre school kid)

Issy at 19:11 on 31 October 2009  Report this post
Thanks Scott. Had a look at your blogspot and was impressed. I am also quite heartened by your words, although I think you're being modest, you have plenty of talent there, and an eye to extract the detail.

I'm just about to start the novel writing month NaNoWriMo, and December will be sorting it out, but am now promising myself next January to give the drawings a go. It's cartoonising (if that's a word) ships and tugs from the 1930s, giving them a personality and emotions, and it's the only thing that is holding up the book.

NicciF at 08:36 on 01 November 2009  Report this post
Hi Scott

I've also had a look at your blogspot. As always I'm totally overawed by anyone who can draw (and you certainly can). I love stinkydog.com - what's that all about?

My sister is a reasonably good artist and is now a silversmith, designing her own jewellery. As for me, I can't draw a wonky line without help. I used to resent my sister's artistic abilities until I dicsovered that I could paint pictures with words.


The Bar Stward at 13:22 on 02 November 2009  Report this post
I'm currently teaching my 4 year old how to draw and she is very good, her teachers at nursury cant believe the stage she is at now but she's always watched me drawing and is always keen to copy. I make little books for her to copy and trace and I explain to her the fundmental elements (master circles and steady lines and that basically makes everything up). She begs me virtually every day to show her something new and I am happy to do so.

Issy, if you need a hand with any thing, just ask. My polished style is ideal for logos and web designs etc, but for book illustration you really don't need to be a Walt Disney, conveying warmth, emotion, charm, is key.

I still haven't finished the artwork for the Teddy Scare, but I'll have it done this week.


Oh and the Stinky Dog logo, it was for a sign company by me who were venturing into web design. I don't actually think they've done anymore with it (I'll have a check now actually). They called it Stinky Dog purely because they thought it would be rememberable. That logo was actually animated, just simple, the fly flying around his head and blinking.

NicciF at 11:00 on 03 November 2009  Report this post
hi Scott

Thanks for the info about Stinky Dog. As a name to remember I think they're onto a winner.

The stuff about teaching your 4yr old is very interesting. It's wonderful that you're nurturing this interest, and I hope it's something she remembers and cherishes for the rest of her life. It's a special connection that you'll have for ever.

My mum did the same thing with cooking and dress making. I'd watch and gradually as I got older I did more and more until the day I "flew solo". Thinking about it "thrown in at the deepend" is a more accurate description - due to mum being confined to bed, and me being the most capable, I cooked Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings, for the 6 of us, when I was only 9.

I now have the same kitchen table and made flapjacks with my goddaughter the last time she came to stay. The happy memories almost bought tears to my eyes.

Anyway enough of this sentimental stuff.


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