12 x 12 in 2012 on 12/12/12 — an End of Year Celebration!

Picture book manuscripts galore! Picture book manuscripts as far as the eye can see.

When I signed up for 12×12 in 2012, hoping to write 12 picture book first drafts in 12 months, I really had no idea if I’d be able to do it. It seemed unbelievable to write that many unique drafts, while trying to keep up with revising other manuscripts, blogging, and all the things one does in one’s “other” life.

I did it. (I will have at least 14 picture book drafts by the end of December.) WE did it. Some of our 400 cohorts did just a few, some did more than the suggested 12, ALL are successes for doing what they could. So today we’re celebrating. (Click on the image above left to learn more.)

There’s a blog party going on all around the globe! When I thought about what I wanted to do on my blog to celebrate this wonderful first year of 12×12, and to express at least some of my gratitude to Julie Hedlund, “the founder of the feast,” in Dickens’ words, I decided that the best thing to do would be to write a story. And so I have done so. In keeping with the tenets of 12×12, it is a first draft. (And as a word of both explanation and celebration, Julie’s picture book app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, will be released for iPad very soon. You’ll understand why it’s important to know that when you read my story.)

Julie’s Brilliant Idea

Ideas kept popping into Julie’s head like popcorn in the big glass case at the movies. She thought her head might explode! She needed to make stories with her ideas — FAST! (A group of ideas is called a BRAINWAVE.)

When she went to her room to write her stories, her little brother made airplanes with her story papers. When she sat on the porch, the wind blew the papers away. She couldn’t sit on the swing and write at the same time. She needed a special story-writing place.

There was a huge box in the garage. Julie dragged it into the backyard, and Dad helped her cut a door and two windows. It was perfect! Almost.

Sitting in the middle of her huge writing place was lonely. Julie ran and asked Becky to come over. Becky asked Susanna. Susanna asked Beth. Three more Julies showed up. Pretty soon there were twelve kids in that big writing place, and there were ideas bouncing off the walls!

Then more kids wanted to come in with their ideas, but there was no room. Julie wanted them to write their stories, too, but where could they sit? Erik, Marcie and Genevieve (with help from Cupcake) found another box and slid it up right beside the first box. They cut a door between the boxes, so everyone could talk to each other.

More and more kids came. More and more boxes got added, each with twelve kids inside, all thinking up stories as fast as their thinkers could go. (A group of writing friends is called a JOY.)

At first, when Julie wanted to talk to someone in one of the other boxes, she just had to go outside and call the kid’s name, but soon there were so many boxes side by side or end to end, that she couldn’t even see the end of the line.

“I know!” said Tina, who was in one of the far, far away boxes. “We can send messages back and forth in notes. Everyone can read them and add what they want to say.” (A group of messages is called a KINSHIP.)

One day, there was a thump, thump, thump on the side of Julie’s box. There was one more box being put into place. The line had gone all around the world and back again! Twelve times twelve times twelve times twelve, all around the world. Ideas galore! Stories everywhere! Friends all over the place! (A group of twelves is called a BRILLIANCE!)

All because Julie had an idea.

*   *   *

Thank you, Julie, and thank you, all the wonderful people in 12×12 who have become my friends and colleagues through this amazing year. Here’s to you all! Here’s to us! And three cheers for JULIE!

P.S. I so wish I could have mentioned every one of your names in my story — please forgive me for not doing so!


79 thoughts on “12 x 12 in 2012 on 12/12/12 — an End of Year Celebration!”

  1. This story is BRILLIANT, Beth! So fun, and I’m sure Julie H. will love it!! Again, have a superb birthday! I’ve had fun participating on some of your blog treasure hunt!

  2. Beth…this is absolute BRILLIANCE! I just love your story…you are soooo clever! Have a beautiful birthday…and look forward to another amazing year of writing and joy! Congrats on completing 12×12. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Vivian! It was such fun writing this story. I’m so glad people are enjoying it. And 12×12 was an amazing gift all year.

    1. Thanks, Carrie. I’m not counting this story as one of my 12×12 PBs — it’s a special add-on extra. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, I’ve been having an incredible day!

  3. Fourteen! That is great. I’m so glad I met you through 12×12 and connected with your Children’s Book Hub. You are one of my favorte peps from 12×12 Beth. Keep going strong, Beth!

  4. Your story today has really touched me – I am picturing all these writers as younger versions of ourselves and all those boxes and windows and all the fun! Love it! Love it! Love it! And Julie has provided us with a song to keep in our heads today too! Ahhh….

    1. Julie, it’s so funny you should say that. I had the same visual of kids chatting back and forth sending messages and giggles. You’re right. A touching story.

    2. Thank you so much, Julie! I had fun with that story. I’m glad it was meaningful for you! And other-Julie’s song is a riot!

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I don’t know where all the words come from… they just spill out of my head sometimes. I’m glad you stopped by, too! Hope you’ll visit again!

  5. Oh my goodness, Beth! I am speechless. This story means so much to me – THANK YOU! I am going to print it out, frame it, and hang it near my desk.

    This is, I think, the best characterization of what 12 x 12 is really all about. A group of writing friends is a JOY, and a group of twelves is indeed a BRILLIANCE!

    And one Beth is a bright shining star! <3 <3 <3

  6. Beth, you GENIUS you!!! That was a loveable fun story! I felt the thrill mount with each added box…you tagged the whole experience in that sweet tale.
    Thanks for all you have contributed through the years with posts and encouragements and your fun voice among all the happy chatter.

    1. Thank you so much, Damon! I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks also for your incredible words, and for the birthday wishes!

  7. Wow, you’re amazing Beth! The spirit of this community is in your story. “A group of writing friends is called a Joy!” Indeed, Beth. Indeed. Happy birthday JoyBeth! tee hee.

  8. Brilliant, Beth! Such an amazing story. If my arithmetic is correct, I believe that is draft 15 for 2012?

    Happy Birthday!

  9. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your story, Beth! What a great idea, so cleverly executed. I love the whole concept of how it went all around the world 😉 I think my favorite line is “A group of writing friends is called a JOY!” What a tribute to Julie and to all the wonderful friends we have made and all that we have accomplished in 2012!

    1. Thanks so much, Susanna! I had such a good time yesterday, writing this story. And I had such an incredibly good time this morning with your treasure hunt! A group of writing friends is indeed a JOY! A joy forever, as a matter of fact! 🙂

  10. What a brilliant story! Such a wonderful ode to Julie and 12 x 12. It really sums it up so well (in picture book form!). What a clever cookie you are! And happy birthday!! How lucky you are to have your birthday on blog party day 🙂

  11. What a fun story, Beth. I love the ending – very touching. This was a perfect way to end the year of 12 x 12 in 2012. It has been a pleasure reading your 12 x 12 and Children Book Hub comments throughout the year. Thank you for sharing so much with our community.

  12. This is a great story…thanks for sharing it with us. It could be another of your PB manuscripts (or the idea for one). congrats on your successful completion of 12x12x12 too.

  13. WOW! I got a little teary too, reading the story and all the comments. But, I always knew, way before, you could write stories and make them your own. This was brilliant, way brilliant, cleverly executed as always!
    Here’s looking forward, to 2013!

    1. Thanks, Carter! So many wonderful people of all sorts of names in that line of boxes that stretches right around the world, and you’re one of them! So grateful for everyone in 12×12!

  14. A group of writing friends is called a joy–love it! And so true! And I love how you worked in an ode to Julie’s book app in your story–;-)

    Congrats on 14 mss–may they all reach publication in 2013!

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