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"Zizi and Zulie"

Exercise #50 : "Zizi and Zulie"

This is an exercise in plotting. Assume you are writing a children's story. Zizi and Zulie are miniature dachshunds. One day they dig their way under the fence and escape into the next door neighbor's garden. The neighbor is a very lonely old lady. She takes Zizi and Zulie into her kitchen and feeds them and pets them. All afternoon they watch TV together. But then, when Zizi and Zulie's owners return home from work, the neighbor cannot bring herself to return the dogs. What happens? In outline form, plot the rest of the story.

Oh, outline form. I love outlining. It makes me feel like I'm actually getting something accomplished. haha Yay for bullet points! The only thing I'm kind of worried about for this one is that children's books and I don't really see eye to eye. To be completely honest, the young mind completely evades me. We simply do not understand one another.. Either way, time to start!

And START!!!!!!

I. Zizi and Zulie's owners come home
....A. Lonely old lady sees them drive into their garage
.........1. Instinct tells her to put the dogs in her bathroom
.........2. She contemplates whether or not she should say anything.
....B. Neighbors notice their dogs are missing
.........1. They look all over the house
.........2. They look all over the back yard
.........3. They visit the neighbor on the right side of their house
.............a. No one's home
.............b. They look all around that house but find nothing
.........4. They visit the old lady's house
.............i. At first, she doesn't answer the door
.................a. She is still torn about how she's going to handle the problem
.................b. She hides in her bedroom in hopes that they'll just go away
............ii. The neighbors start to look around her house, calling for the dogs
...........iii. The dogs hear their owners and start to whine
...........iv. The old lady tries to muffle the sounds
............v. The neighbors hear the dogs and come back to the door The old lady comes to terms with the fact that the jig is up
..........vii. She answers the door
.........viii. They come inside, and the old lady gives them the dogs.

5 minutes up. Man, I'm usually so good at outlines! Oh well. I think I let the fact that this was supposed to be a children's book outline get to me and affect my writing. Darn. Good thing this was a writing exercise and not a real outline. If it was, I'd definitely be scrapping it.

If any of you have written children's books, I'd love to hear what you would do with this story arc.



Laura Eno said…
What cute puppies!! Ok, now I'm going to take over this space to answer your questions on the last post. #fridayflash is a story, any genre, of under 1,000 words. Simple, right? It can be much shorter than that, too. Mine are often 200-300 words. (you mean, you haven't been reading mine??!!) The full list gets posted on Saturdays at and I know you've seen plenty of tweets as examples of how to spread the word.
Stef Howerton said…
haha Yes, Laura, I have read yours! I've just seen so many different variations as far as length, topic, etc. that I got confused and a little overwhelmed. :)

Thanks for the info! I may just participate this coming Friday......

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