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Spying on the Grade Above You and Recipe for Good Surprise-Building

     Katie leaned her head against her locker and groaned.
     "Really? Your horse bucked you off?  Right in front of the judges?" Hannah stuffed her books into her locker.
     Katie nodded, rubbing her headed against the locker.  "I'm thinking about including 'my personal experience in aerodynamics' in my spring science project."
    "Wait!  There's a spring science project?" Hannah slammed her locker door shut.  "How come I don't know about a spring science project and you do?"
     Katie swiveled her head to one side, maintaining contact with the locker, and grinned at her friend.  "Because I have an older sister and you don't."
     "And she was in Mr. Goven's science class last year."


     I dropped in on Anne Elisabeth Stengl's blog on Saturday to see if she had posted any word of the F.E.R. progress.  I want to know what the winners are doing now.  Call it "spying on the grade above you," but I have hopes of winning next year...or the year after that...or...  And I can be better prepared if I know what I am getting into.  So I was absolutely delighted to hear that Anne worked hard all month with her team to flag necessary edits.  And I was excited to know that her winners now have roughly a month and a half to make all the necessary changes to their stories.  And it was thrilling to hear how the artists are working on each title page as we speak.  It all sounds like so much fun to me.

      Anne also dropped some word about the next contest...but not really.  She isn't giving away any new information -- no hints.  But she did say that she's working with the designer for the cover art for the next Five Something Something contest.

     I like the way she balances surprise with reveals.  If she says too much, you lose the suspense.  If she says too little, you either implode or lose interest.  I don't WANT to lose interest.  So it's sheer delight to me to hear little hints dropped.  Or to have some mention made.

     When I was little, one of the best things about Christmas was the anticipation of the gifts under the tree.  Every day, my little sister and I would crawl under the tree and count the packages with our names on them.  We didn't try to guess what was inside -- that would have ruined the anticipation and surprise.  But we had to count them.  Not that it mattered how many there were...or even which one had the most (we were almost always even).  It was just one way to stay connected to the delights awaiting us.

     Anne gives us an expected reveal date.  Even if it is not a specific date, we know she won't string us along forever.  And she carefully refrains from saying too much.  And yet she drops little tidbits that keep us involved.  That, my friends, is a recipe for success.


  1. I'm so excited to see what the new fairytale retelling "prompt" will be. It's actually very painful waiting for the announcement. I both hate and love the suspense. I have some guesses, but I have no idea whether anyone of them are the actual fairytale.

  2. Yes, it's hard to wait. Any idea when she will announce it?

  3. Ana! I accidentally deleted your comment!!! I'm so sorry! But I was excited to hear that you think she'll announce it on June 1st. And participating in the cover reveal sounds fun!


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