Thursday, March 31, 2011

Writing Comedy with Hollywood Concepts

There are two types of genres that I love to write, comedy and horror. I often blend the two together in my stories. I find they work really well twisted around each other and for the most part I feel there needs to be a bit of absurdity to the horror. It relieves the tension before you get slammed with some spooky. As I am currently working on adapting some of my middle grade stories into script projects right now I thought it would be great to share a these comedy concept exercises that great late Blake Snyder, author of the Save the Cat screenwriting books had to share.

If you are wanting to write a comedy for middle grade or YA maybe these exercises will help and launch you into a whole new world of possibilities that you never considered.

1. The Switch – This comedy starting point has antecedents in stories like “The Prince and the Pauper” and the movie, Trading Places. This is the comedy story where two opposites swap situations for some reason: a bet, an urgent need, or a mistake. It can also include the switching of a device or object, e.g., Taking Care of Business with Jim Belushi and Charles Grodin. My experience with the Switch is a movie called Big, Ugly Baby! — best described as an “alien switched at birth comedy.”  ACTION STEP: Draw this symbol: <--> on the top of a piece of paper. On one side list the “Prince,” on the other the “Pauper” to show OPPOSITES. Find two sets of people most at odds, then have them switch (and give one the upper hand), but both need to learn the “lesson.” Then in the middle section, write ideas for how these two would actually switch places or cross lives; the gimmick of how the switch is made is your title!


2. The Fish Out of Water – This is a “Fool Triumphant” tale about someone who, in his own pond, is less effective or average, but by going to a new body o’ water becomes a star: Legally Blonde, Miss Congeniality, Beverly Hills Cop. Here’s the way I come up with these. It’s my favorite idea-generating tool. I call it “The T-bar Method” and it’s simple.  ACTION STEP: Draw a big T on a piece of paper and label one side “fish,” the other side “water.” Make a list of fish; try to be specific. (Use the heroes of Miss Congeniality and Legally Blonde as examples.) Then ask yourself where would that fish feel most out of place? What pond would they be most out of place in? Write that on the “water” side of the T. Make sure too that the “problem” you set up in the beginning is solved by the end. What is the problem?  It’s the deficit the hero must overcome to be whole. It will also be the theme of your movie, e.g., the relationship between the beauty contestants and Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality helps Sandra overcome the problem of being a “tomboy” at the beginning of the movie.



3. The Rom-Com with a Twist – Everyone is looking for a romantic comedy (rom-com). But they’re hard to come up with! Why? Nowadays, there are no social strata. Anyone can fall in love with anyone or have sex with anyone at will. Not like the old days of My Man Godfrey or Pillow Talk! Your job: Come up with what is keeping the lovers apart, e.g., geography in Sleepless in Seattle, the Internet in You’ve Got Mail, living with one’s parents in Failure to Launch. The gimmick that is keeping the two separated is the movie, the title, and the complication! And “the complication” is what makes all rom-coms work. But how can you come up with a new one? Start with what is separating the lovers — then figure out who they are.  ACTION STEP: Draw two vertical lines on a piece of paper. Label the middle column: “The Complication.” Label the other two “Him” on the left and “Her” on the right, or vice versa. In the middle column figure out the thing that is keeping two people apart (ironically also what’s keeping them together!), then figure out the opposites on either side of that complication. For example, if “politics” is the problem, make her a Republican and him a Democrat.


4. The Magic Spell – In my new book, this will be the chapter titled “Out of the Bottle,” and there are all kinds of curses, body switches, and magic spell gimmicks to choose from. In these tales we also most easily see the difference between the Empowerment and Comeuppance tale. The former is seen in The Nutty Professor, Click, and Bruce Almighty; the latter is in Liar, Liar; Shallow Hal; and Freaky Friday. But the message in both types is the same: Be careful what you wish for! Your job, after thousands of years of magic stories: Come up with a new one! It can be done. Click introduced a new magic wand and was a hit for Adam Sandler.  ACTION STEP: Write at the top of the page: “If I had a magic wand and could grant myself any power, what would that be?” Then on another piece of paper: “If there was a curse cast on me, what would be the worst one?” Then beside either the power or the curse write a list of the least likely person that would get that magic. One piece of magic per movie please, and once you set up the “rules” of the magic, make sure you stick to them throughout.


5. The Bet – You see this done a lot, e.g., How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. This may sound artificial, and often is, because at any moment we in the audience are thinking, “Just tell her/him about the bet!” — yet it remains a wonderful starting point for a comedy premise.  ACTION STEP: At the top of your blank piece of paper, write “Google.” This will remind you to use the Internet to find some “outrageous bets” and see where this search leads you. Also query friends and relatives about the most unusual, most outlandish bet they ever made, e.g., “The Contest” episode of Seinfeld. A list of such bets is the starting point for your movie; now also include the equally outrageous participants in the bet, and a time limit for it.


6. The Buddy-Buddy – This is the most popular movie spec right now; Wedding Crashers and 40 Year Old Virgin really paved the way for R-rated comedies starring two guys. This includes the cop buddy genre — which needs a shot in the arm! Put two guys in an unusual situation and you really have a good chance to sell that story. But how can you make it new? ACTION STEP: Go back up to your Fool Triumphant T-bar page and make the “Fish” two people! Wedding Crashers is a good example; the filmmakers did not need to have two guys to make that movie work. But by having it be a buddy movie, they gave each of the guys an adventure — and someone to talk about what’s happening! Do likewise, for every fish out of water story, there’s a buddy version of it.

7. The True Life Tale – I keep a file of stories from the news. One I saw recently concerned a bride kidnapped by her parents, who didn’t want her to marry her fiancĂ©. In real life, the parents are now in jail, but in Hollywood that pitch is now making the rounds at the studios. Why? Because even though it happened in real life, it’s a hilarious starting point. We should all keep a manila folder file of newspaper clippings of funny stories that strike us as such. Whether you use each of these stories as a movie idea, or use elements of them in the scripts you’re working on, they’re great comedy thought starters.  ACTION STEP: Get a manila file and start scanning your news sources today!

8. The Invasion of the Jerk That Came to Dinner aka The Interminable Time – These are stories about experiences that never seem to end, situations where we are forced to put up with inconvenience, either a boring friend, an overbearing relative, or a very long car ride. Recent examples include: Meet the Parents; You, Me and Dupree; 4 Christmases and The Break-Up.  ACTION STEP: Think situation. Ask yourself, and list, where you’ve been stuck in life: in traffic, in an elevator, in a relationship, in a family situation, or at an event that never seems to end. From this situation create a hero whose only goal is to get out of that situation and who or what is stopping them. 


9. Long Day’s Journey into Jokes – This is from my category called “The Golden Fleece,” based on the myth of Jason and the Argonauts; it is mostly about road stories. There are a lot of funny (and obvious) ones from this group, e.g., Road Trip and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. But there is a much simpler way to generate ideas that put our heroes on the broad highway!  ACTION STEP: Go to Leonard Maltin’s book of 3000 movies or Ebert and Roeper’s if you’re from Chicago, read through it, and add the phrase “on the road” to any title. This is how several movies I have come up with have gotten written, including a spec I co-wrote that is best described as “Home Alone... on the road.” I also recently heard of one that was pitched as “Grumpy Old Men... on the road” that sold and got made, and I can see the poster just from that description! This concept is a fun game and can really generate funny story ideas.



10. Spoof! Scary Movie is a big hit, Date Movie got made, and variations on the mock-documentary like Spinal Tap are often good. So, where is yours?  ACTION STEP: Pick an institution, movie type, historical event or period, improbable biography, or fake news story — and make fun of it by lampooning our preconceived notions of what it is. It’s taking something we see seriously and poking fun at it. How about a movie that combines Gladiator, all those Ray Harryhausen stop-motion Hercules classics, and the recent Troy and AlexanderI “sand and sandal” movies? That’s the spoof I’d love to see. So next time you read in the trades that a spoof sold, you can say what we who aren’t working on our comedy loglines always say: “Why didn’t think of that!?” Or maybe get to work on yours - right now.

It really is amazing how much of an industry standard these are. We see them all the time, but they work when crafted well. Hopefully these will help kick start that comedy or horroromedy that you have had itching to get out like a hungry symbiote. Good luck with the writing!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Celebrate with Walden Pond Press



Celebrating 500 Twitter Followers! 

In celebration of passing 500 followers on Twitter, WALDEN POND PRESS is running a short Tweetstakes to commence Thursday, March 17, 2011 at noon and end Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:59pm. One winner will receive a complete set of Walden Pond Press books (complete list below), several of them signed by their authors! Simply follow @waldenpondpress on Twitter (www.twitter.com/waldenpondpress) and retweet the following message:

RT @waldenpondpress - I want to win a complete set of Walden Pond Press novels!

One winner will be selected on Monday, March 21st and contacted via direct message on Twitter. Remember, you have to be following @waldenpondpress for us to DM you! Good luck!

Winner will receive one copy of each of the following:

Hardcovers:
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Max Cassidy: Escape from Shadow Island by Paul Adam
The Billionaire's Curse by Richard Newsome
The Last Words of Will Wolfkin by Steven Knight
Finding Danny by Linzi Glass (signed copy)
Guys Read: Funny Business ed. by Jon Scieskza (bookplate signed by Jon Scieszka included)
The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander (bookplate signed by Chris Rylander included)

Advance Reader Copies:
Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky (bookplate signed by M.P. Kozlowsky included)
The Emerald Casket by Richard Newsome
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (bookplate signed by Anne Ursu included)

This will be the first of several sweepstakes we will run via Twitter over the coming months, and the prizes will just get better and better! Stay tuned to our Twitter account to be one of the first to find out about our give-aways!

Complete rules for our "500 Follower Tweetstakes" can be found below:

500 Follower TWEETSTAKES -- Official Rules
SPONSOR

This promotion (the "Sweepstakes") is sponsored by Walden Media, LLC ("Walden Media"),
1888 Century Park East 14th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067.
ELIGIBILITY

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

To enter, using your Twitter account
1) Follow @@WaldenPondPress
2) Tweet or retweet the approved message. The entire message, including
exact link, hashtags, and @reply, must be included to qualify. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON.
Multiple entries from one Twitter account and single entries from multiple Twitter accounts held by
the entrant are automatically disqualified.  Automated means of entry and entries by any means which subvert the entry process are prohibited and all such entries will be void.

The Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia eighteen (18) years of age and older, excluding employees and immediate family members of HarperCollins or Walden Media, LLC, and its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, assigns, advertising, promotional and fulfillment agents, attorneys, and other representatives and the persons with whom each of the above are domiciled. Offer void  wherever prohibited or restricted by law.

Each entrant in the Sweepstakes must be the rightful holder the Twitter account. In the event of a
dispute concerning the identity of the holder of the Twitter account, the holder will be deemed to
be the person who owns the email address that was used to register the Twitter account. The
Twitter account must be opened prior to the commencement of the Sweepstakes. 

ENTRY PERIOD
The Sweepstakes will commence on March 17, 2011, at 12:00 noon (ET). The last entry will
be accepted March 18, 2011, at 11:59pm (ET).

SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION OF WINNERS
One potential winners will be selected by a random drawing from among the eligible entries.
Winners will be chosen by no later than ten days following the end date above. All potential
winners will be notified by Direct Message via Twitter. If a potential winner does not respond to
the notification within three days of delivery, an alternate winner will be chosen. If a potential winner is not following @waldenpondpress on Twitter and therefore cannot receive a direct message, an alternate winner will be chosen.

PRIZES
There will be one grand prize winner who will receive: one hardcover copy of each the following Walden Pond Press titles: Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell Boyce, Max Cassidy: Escape from Shadow Island by Paul Adam, Finding Danny by Linzi Glass, The Last Words of Will Wolfkin by Steven Knight, The Billionaire’s Curse by Richard Newsome, Guys Read: Funny Business edited by Jon Scieszka, The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander; one Advance Reader Copy of the following Walden Pond Press titles: Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky, The Emerald Casket by Richard Newsome, and Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. A Walden Media reserves the right to substitute Prizing info TKa cash payment of equal or greater value for the prizes.

All prizes will be awarded, provided there are as many entries as prizes. Only one prize will be
awarded per individual, family, or household. All prizes are non-transferable and cannot be sold
or redeemed for cash.

CONDITIONS
By participating, entrants affirm that they have read these Official Rules, agree to be bound by
them and the selection of the winners, which shall be final, and waive any right to claim ambiguity
in the Sweepstakes and/or these Official Rules. All federal, state and local tax liabilities arising
from this Sweepstakes will be the sole responsibility of the winner. Acceptance of prizes
constitutes permission to use the winner's name, tweet, likeness, biography, and prize won for
purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity without additional compensation, except where
prohibited or restricted by law.

The entrants release, discharge, and hold harmless Walden Media and its parent, affiliates,
subsidiaries, assigns, attorneys, representatives and agents, including advertising, promotion and
fulfillment agencies, from any and all liability or damages arising from the administration of the
Sweepstakes and the use or misuse of any prize received in this Sweepstakes, including, without
limitation, the following: (i) late, lost, incomplete, delayed, misdirected or unintelligible entries, (ii)
any printing, typographical, administrative or technological errors in any materials associated with
the Sweepstakes, and (iii) any damage to the entrant's computer, related equipment, data files,
and software resulting from entrant's downloading of information regarding the Sweepstakes or
participation in the Sweepstakes.

Walden Media reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify, cancel or suspend this
Sweepstakes should a virus, bug, computer problem or other causes beyond Walden Media's control corrupt the administration, security or proper operation of the Sweepstakes. Walden Media may prohibit you from participating in the Sweepstakes or winning a prize if, in its sole discretion, it determines that you are attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Sweepstakes by cheating, hacking or employing other unfair practices or by abusing other entrants or the representatives of Walden Media.

ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE WEBSITE OR
UNDERMINE THE OPERATION OF THE SWEEPSTAKES MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF
CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS, AND, IN SUCH EVENT, WALDEN MEDIA RESERVES THE
RIGHT TO PURSUE ITS REMEDIES AND DAMAGES (INCLUDING COSTS AND ATTORNEY'S
FEES) TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW.

Any dispute arising from the Sweepstakes will be determined according to the laws of the State of
California, without reference to its conflict of laws principles, and the entrants consent to the
personal jurisdiction of the State and Federal Courts located in the State of California
over them and agree that such courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all such disputes.

THE ODDS OF WINNING DEPEND UPON THE NUMBER OF ENTRIES AND THE RATE AT
WHICH THEY ARE RECEIVED.

For the names of the prize winners, e-mail your request to waldenpondpress@gmail.com no
earlier than 3/19/11, but no later than 3/25/11. You may also send a self-addressed
stamped envelope (postage not required from Vermont residents) to Walden Media, 17 New England Executive Park, Suite 305, Burlington, MA 01803 during the time period above.

This Sweepstakes is conducted solely by Walden Media, LLC and is not sponsored or otherwise
affiliated with Twitter.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The FEAR of writing Pt. 2

Tapping into the childhood fears and experiences are always great fodder for writing. Facing those terrifying moments head on is a way to deal with them and wonder if it was all in our imaginations or if it was real. When I was writing screenplays I tapped into a lot of childhood fears. One of them was and still is ghosts. No matter how many times I see a ghost hunter show or a found footage movie of the door opening on its own I still get tingly flesh. Fellow Bree Ogden client, Kelsey Ketch and I continue our conversation about about fear and writing. But before we dive in, let us set the tone with a little video.


DM: Many of my nightmares bring me back to a specific location where I spent many years as a child. To this day I feel very strongly about the possibility of a dark presence living with my family in this house. Not a malevolent entity but a heavy dark feeling that I was being watched. Most of us have a sense of when someone is looking at us or trying to get our attention. In my nightmares I always return to what I will call the Wooten House. The tri-level white house on Wooten street surrounded by a deep cement ditch on two sides. For a time my bedroom was upstairs in the back part of the house that looked out to the back yard. In the backyard was a large ominous tree. Does anyone remember the tree in Poltergeist that attacked the kids?


Yeah, that tree lived in my backyard. It was twisted and thick and had plans for me, I know it. During thunder storms I would stare out at that tree and pray that it wouldn't come to life and want to devour me like a Twinkie. That is what an over-active imagination does to you. These days I know what a gift that imagination is to have.

But it was some of the incidents upstairs that haunted me. Waking up to find the lights were on. Taking a bath and always looking over my shoulder at the door because I could swear someone was looking at me - but the door was closed. There was also this feeling that someone was walking up the stairs behind you when you made the short journey up the six stairs to the next level. Many times I would run up the stairs and charge toward the bedroom like a baseball player running for home plate.

Being a latch key kid I remember those nights that my parents worked later and as the sun was sinking into the horizon I would get an overwhelming feeling of dread. On those nights I would go outside and sit on the porch because I felt safer there. Now they have a grip of shows on television about people trying to explain those unknown things that we fear.

Kelsey: Spooky!!! I think I’ll just curl up with my pillow and quiver.

I was never really scared of ghosts when I was younger. We even lived in a haunted rental when I was six. Though, it wasn’t terrifying. I could sense two different spirits. One was sweet. She just followed my family and me around the house (especially into the kitchen). Sometimes I would just catch her out of the corner of my eye as I was dozing off. The second spirit, a man, was more unsettling. I never saw him, but he carried a lot of negative energy. So you knew when he was around. The feeling seemed to be especially strong in the bedroom doorway, like he was leaning on the frame watching. It felt like the air was just sucked out of your lungs. The tension would build around you, making you jump at the littlest thing. He definitely did not want us around. I have to say I was glad when we left that house.


Six months later, I was just starting at a new school/daycare. It was October and the school was getting ready for Halloween. Our aftercare teacher decided it was a good time to gather us for a ghost story: Bloody Mary. Yes, the legendary spirit that died a terrible death, buried alive with her fingers all bloody from scratching at the wooden coffin. Now, she seeks revenge on anyone who’s daring enough to call out her name while looking into a mirror.


I was so freaked by the story! I mean, I had just moved from a haunted house – how could I ignore the legend? And though I never called her name, I had looked into a mirror one night and swore I saw a face behind me, just floating there. I ran into my room, pulling the covers over my head. After that, I wouldn’t look at a mirror at night for years for fear Bloody Mary would come and kill me. I never took ghost stories lightly again.

DM: Bloody Mary was a great urban legend! To this day I still have not tried saying her name into a mirror. I mean seriously, how old am I!? (Don't answer that). A movie called CANDYMAN came out back in the 90's and it was loosely based on the myth of Bloody Mary. That movie creeped me out and yet I watched it several times. After all it is much safer to watch someone else deal with it on your TV. 


I think Kelsey and I both find it cathartic to write about these fears whether they are direct telling of these stories or just launching points to bigger stories. Embracing those fears and giving them a big hug and slapping them around like a hockey puck in your story brings your writing to a more personal level and the reader will feel more connected to it. Are you facing any fears in your writing? We would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The FEAR of writing Pt. 1


Fear is one of the strongest emotions that we have as human beings. As writers, fear is a powerful aspect of writing for several reasons.
  • We are driven by fear that we don't have enough time to write and tell all the stories that we would like to. Fear of time.
  • Once those stories are unleashed upon the world we fear what our young readers will think. Will they like it or loathe it? Fear of acceptance
  • Many of our stories for children and young adults are based on primal fear. The what if factor. What if that dark shadow in the corner comes for me. Fear of the unknown.
Fellow Bree Ogden client, Kelsey Ketch and I are going to talk about fear and how it affected us as we grew up and how it has shaped us as writers.

One common fear that Kelsey and I share are the fear of spiders. Like most people in the world we get the heebie-jeebies from our eight legged freaky friends and what they are capable of. Fear of the unknown.

DM: When I was young, around nine years old I remember falling asleep in the basement of my aunt's house during the summer and waking up to find a large brown spider sitting on the middle of my chest starring at me. All eyes on me. I was completely paralyzed with fear. If I move, it will move. What if it runs toward my mouth or up my nose? What if it bites me? Every scenario of doom passed through my brain within ten seconds. With a sweep of my hand I pushed it off and up into the air. It managed to attach a thread of web to my hand and dangle as I jumped around screaming bloody murder. Finally, I was able to shake it loose and it crawled toward the fireplace and vanished. Did I ever sleep on the floor again? No. Never. To this day I have nightmares of spiders attacking me. When I am having anxiety it takes form of spiders in my dreams.


Kelsey, tell me about your spider incident while I shiver over here in the corner.

Kelsey: Eeeech! That was creepy, it really made my skin crawl! Holy moly!

Like you, I was around nine when my spider incident occurred. I was sitting in the living room when I noticed a large, reddish spider crawling along the ceiling. I remember its form perfectly, about one inch long with a large bulbous abdomen. I frantically pointed it out to my mum. I was too scared to squish it myself, especially something that size. Besides, at that age, I probably wouldn’t be able to reach it.

My mum stepped up onto the coffee table and slammed a piece of tissue on top of the spider, forcing it into the popcorn ceiling (she never got the stain out of the ceiling). She applied pressure until she finally heard a pop under the tissue. But, once she let it go, the body fell onto the coffee table right in front of me, still alive. Its legs and fangs flailing wildly as it seemed to try to crawl towards me. The only thing slowing it down was the fact that its abdomen was completely flat, squished beyond recognition.

I screamed, falling back into the couch. My mum jumped off the table, scooped up the creature, and quickly threw it into the toilet, sending it down to its watery grave. My adrenaline continued to rush through my system. All I could think about was its flailing legs, and the fangs! I could see its fangs! Lashing in the air as it seemed to scream! It should have been dead! It's lower body was completely gone! There was no way it should have been alive!


DM: It's amazing how a tiny moment leaves such a huge impact. But let's focus on this one moment in a million of moments that we have growing up. What a great catalyst to launch a story or give to your character. The fear of spiders is universal but the moment is captivating, especially to a young reader. Capturing universal fears and making them personal is what takes the good writing to great writing. Capture a moment of fear that you experienced and work it into your story. Give the reader something to keep them on the edge of their seat.


What scares you? We want to know! Please come back and join Kelsey and I as we continue to talk about fear and writing. We promise to make your skin crawl with delight.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crow Toes Flies No More - RIP

Incredibly heartbreaking news that makes you want to cry. My favorite children's literary magazine is stopping the presses. I only wish I had the backing to help them or even take over. This is such a sad day. Here is the press release from their website.


The Final Word
Monday, February 28th, 2011 – My name is Christopher Millin. You may or may not know me as CTQ’s Christopher. I am also the creator and publisher of Crow Toes Quarterly. I am stepping in for The Narrator today, because he doesn’t quite know how to put this into words. So I will try for him. After more than four years and after sixteen unbelievable issues, we have decided to stop the presses, turn off the computers and set the crow free. To be more precise, we have decided to bring our little adventure to an end. This decision was not made lightly. In fact, it was made with a hundred and twenty pounds of rocks on our backs.

Crow Toes Quarterly chose to stay pure, my friends... to make it all about the words and the art and not about selling someone’s shiny new toy (yes, we strayed a few times, but it is only human nature to try new things). And though our stance (and the lack of money this stance brings in) may be one of the big reasons we are bringing this to THE END, it is not something we would have changed.

You see, Crow Toes Quarterly was created out of a love of “playfully dark” children’s literature and the delightful artwork that often accompanies it. It was created to showcase the amazing artists, poets and authors out there who aren’t being recognized by major publishers. And I think we succeeded in showcasing some of the greatest writers and artists in the world (even if you’ve never seen their books on the shelves at Chapters or Barnes & Noble).

I look at the pile of stories sitting in front of me waiting to be read... to be published, and it breaks my heart that most of them never will... But putting out a magazine like CTQ with essentially a staff of one (even if it’s only 4 times a year) is a time consuming and costly thing. If passion paid well, this magazine would be published till the end of time and I’d be living in a mansion on my own private island, but passion can only take you so far. My hope is that there are people out there who can take this concept and continue on with it. I can assure those people that there is more than enough quality content available to do something like this until the end of time.

So what will we do now? Well, I will return to my other (less costly) passion, writing, and I will work on getting my second novel in The Hole Stories published. It is called Fowl, Swine and Things That Send Shivers Down Your Spine and it is exactly as the title claims: terrifying and full of birds and pigs. If you’re interested in looking at it, please email me at christopher@crowtoesquarterly.com (wink wink nudge nudge). I will also return to the world of espionage from where I came. Oh, how I missed those spying days! The Narrator has signed on with a company that records readings of public domain books and posts them online for free. Ogilvy will return to the grape farm and learn the art of making great grape jelly. Our Staff Villain will be returning to his northern underground lair where he’ll continue to work on taking over the Internet. And Poinsettia will be doing what she does best... travelling around the world and writing about all her many travel adventures. Don’t you worry, the CTQ Staff will be just fine.

In the past four years, we have made a lot of great friends and it would be unwise for us to leave without thanking them for their support. Firstly, I’d like to thank Bonnie and John Millin, who helped us get off the ground. Without their financial contribution and unending support, we would’ve remained a great idea never to have been. I’d like to thank Richard and Jane Stapleton, for allowing us to use their home as our warehouse and mailing facility. I’d like to thank Laura Millin for her support through the highs and the lows of the magazine... for promoting the magazine whenever she could and for dealing with all the money stuff (and with me). She was (and is) an unbelievable woman! I’d like to thank BCAMP for helping us get our name out there during those early days and for teaching us the ins and outs of being a small Canadian publisher. I’d like to thank Magazines Canada for seeing something in us and pushing to get us into stores right from the get go. I’d like to thank Michael Sasi (M.S.T. Company) for being a great contributor over the years (starting with our very first issue) and for continuing to be a great friend. He is the type of author I envisioned for the magazine before I started soliciting submissions. I still consider our paths crossing some sort of otherworldly intervention. In that same vein, I’d like to thank Kristian Adam, CTQ cover artist (five times), M.S.T. Company collaborator and another good friend to come out of this. His artwork is awe-inspiring and again, exactly what I envisioned when I was putting the magazine together. I’d like to thank all the other authors and artists that have contributed to CTQ over the years. Your work will continue to inspire young readers for years to come. And it will continue to inspire me! Lastly, I’d like to thank the readers and supporters of CTQ. Without you, we would’ve disappeared after our second or third issue. Thank you for helping make CTQ the best darn children's literature magazine in the Milky Way (my humble opinion)! Thank you! Thank you!

We will continue to sell back issues until they’re gone...and until that time, the website will stay up. If you want a little piece of CTQ, make sure you head over to our online store and buy a few copies. There aren’t many copies left, so don’t waste any time thinking about it. And If you’d like to take stroll down memory lane (just watch out for the garbage bins on the right) and remember all the zany things that went on here over the years, head on over to The Narrator’s Blog and start reading. Ahh reading! It was reading that got us into this and now it is reading that will take us out.
Read always, my friends, and always enjoy!

Sincerly,
Christopher Millin

PS. Our back issues (issue 1 to issue 9) are on sale right now for only $5 each and our "special" print edition back issues are on sale for only $8 each. That price includes shipping, handling and all those pesky little taxes. Now is definitely the time to complete your collection or to start a collection for someone you know. For more information, put on your galoshes and head on over to our online store. It's not far from here.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE CTQ ONLINE STORE