Monday, 16 September 2019

Getting Side Tracked • Lynne Garner

A week or so ago I came across a video taken by a guy who regularly sets up a trail camera in woods near to where he lives. As I watched I knew I wanted to use it as a basis for a new picture book story. As I watched I took notes but knew I also needed to do a little research. 

A gift a few years ago - fab little book
As my new story will feature animals I know little about, they were my starting point. Although my animals will talk, I believe their lives should bear some resemblance to the real ones. Unfortunately, the issue is when I  research I get side tracked. As per usual I found a couple of facts I needed plus a few I didn’t. For example, did you know a baby racoon is called a kit or a cub? Also, female racoon with her young is called a nursery – I do like collective nouns.

Of course, this side tracked me and I had to find out if nursery was used as a collective noun for other animals. After a while I discovered a nursery is also used for a group of Coati. Happy with this I forced myself back on track and continued to research the topic in hand. 

Fact: a hedge is just bushes, whilst a
hedgerow is a mix of bushes and trees.
Once I’d researched the animals, I needed to research the types of trees my characters would encounter. This was when I stumbled on something very dear to my heart, supporting our environment. Somehow and I have no idea how I moved from trees of the US to the UK. This is when I discovered there are two places you can obtain free trees and hedging kits. Coincidentally I'm 'into' hedges and hedgerows at the moment due the book I’m reading A Natural History of the Hedgerow. 

The first organisation giving away free tree and hedging packs is The Woodlands Trust (click here for more information).  Schools and community groups can apply for their free packs. 
So, if you’re connected to either why not let them know about this great initiative and encourage them to apply.

Also, the government have £10 million put aside to fund the planting of 130,000 trees as part of their Urban Tree Challenge Fund. They are now accepting applications of interest from individuals (like minded neighbours who want to improve their street or local park), local authorities, charities and NGOs for trees to be planted 2020/2021. The scheme is being administered by the Forestry Commission (click here for more information).

Even after allowing myself to be side tracked I managed to find the information I needed. And I’m pleased to say my latest picture book story is in its third draft. Just a little more tweaking and my next task will be to research a suitable publisher. With fingers crossed I’ll get less side tracked, but I doubt it.   

Blatant plug time

Love a short story? 

Then check out my short story collections - available in paperback and ebooks versions (most ebooks are available at the low price of 99p/99¢ each):

Hedgehog of Moon Meadow Farm (10 stories)

Fox of Moon Meadow Farm (10 stories)

Ten Tales of Coyote  (10 stories)

Anansi The Trickster Spider (ebook £1.49/$1.49 - 16 stories) 

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