Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Susanna Leonard Hill is holding a Fractured Fairy-tale contest over on her blog:

Being a lover of all things fairy-tale-ish, I just couldn't resist entering my picture book manuscript 

If you like the story, please leave me a comment. I can't wait to get reading all of the other entries. 

P.S. The contest rules state that the story must be 400 words or less with NO illustration notes. Well . . . my manuscript was almost 700 words and had several illo. notes that I felt were very important to understanding the story. However, I knew I had to follow the rules, so after many hours (and seriously, hours) of re-writing and re-working I have this: 398 words and no illustration notes. I am pretty darn proud of myself and learned a valuable lesson in doing this exercise . . . that no matter how tight you think your manuscript is, chances are it can always be tighter, and no matter how bad you think you need those illustration notes, you probably don't and can write the action into the text instead. Peace out peeps!

by Elliah A. Terry

Toritos brothers were sound asleep
but Torito . . . was as perky as a cactus.

Naps are no fun, he thought. He twiddled his ears until he got a wonderful idea.

“Help!” he cried. “Theres a Gila monster under our bed!”

Torito’s brothers jumped so high, they bumped the ceiling. Mama burst into the room, broom in hand. Torito giggled.

“Torito,” Mama said, grabbing the stuffed Gila monster he’d hidden, “YOU are supposed
to be asleep.” She handed him the toy and left.

Torito and his brothers snuggled into their bed. Soon his brothers were sound asleep, but
Torito . . . was as restless as a tumbleweed.

Naps are boring, he thought. I know . . .

“Help!” he cried. “Theres a Gila monster under our bed!

Torito’s brothers cowered in the corner. Mama burst into the room. Torito laughed so hard, his sides ached.

“Torito J. Jackrabbit,” Mama said, grabbing the stuffed Gila monster, “YOU—”

I tricked you!” Torito teased.

Mama crossed her arms. “It isn't nice to trick. Now go to sleep.” This time she kept the toy.

Torito and his brothers snuggled into their bed. Torito was as tired as a tortoise.

He closed his eyes.


Torito tore off his covers and peeked under the bed.

He gasped.

            Two beady eyes stared back at him. Five sharp claws flexed on each hand. A long, purple tongue flickered out.

“Giiiiii-laaaaa monnnn-sterrrrr!” Torito yelled as he leaped into the closet.

His brothers didn’t move. They covered their ears and rolled over.

“Mama!” Torito screamed.

But Mama called back, “Go to sleep, Torito.”    

The Gila monster stretched its jaws. Torito’s heart raced. Suddenly, he got a wonderful idea—he knew Mama wouldn’t like it—but he didn’t know what else to do.  

“Watch out!” Torito cried, “Theres a coyote in this closet!

The Gila monster scoffed. “I’m not falling for that.”

Torito pulled the string on his stuffed coyote. Yarooooooooo! the toy howled.

The Gila monster hissed and scurried out the window. When he was far enough away, Torito called out, “I tricked you!”

Torito . . .” Mamas voice drifted from the kitchen.

I know—it isn’t nice to trick.” (Unless it saves your life,) he thought. 

Clutching his stuffed coyote, Torito snuggled between his brothers.

Soon, he felt as calm as the desert sand and drifted off into a peaceful jackrabbit slumber. 


  1. Delightful, Elliah! I love that Torito is so full of beans, and that when he got himself into a corner he figured his own way out - good for him! And what a fun, clever twist on the original tale! Thanks so much for joining in the springtime writing fun :)

    1. Thank you, Susanna!
      This contest has been so much fun.

  2. This is such a fun story! I love the descriptive and lively language. What a spunky little character Torito is. I really like how he solved his own problem. This is a great take on the tale. Great job, Elliah! (I love the name of your blog.) :-)

    1. Aw, thank you, Cheryl.
      I'm quite fond of Torito myself.

  3. Great job tightening the story! I bet you don't even miss the extra 300 words and illustrations notes! This reads perfectly!

    1. Thank you, Juliana.
      You are right . . . I don't miss them one bit. :)

  4. Elliah, seriously, this is FANTASTIC. And I can relate SO much. I had to whittle mind down too, cut out whole characters and everything. And then I sat down afterwards and said... huh, it really doesn't feel like it's missing ANYthing. What a great exercise/lesson.

    I LOVE Torito. Just in general. I want to hang out with him. That's so impressive in just 400 words. It's hard to get hat connection.

    I sincerely hope we connect more in the writer/blogosphere world!

    I actually tried to "follow" you, but got a weird message and I don't think it went through. I'll check back later though for SURE!

    Great job.

    1. Oh, thank you so much. I'm sorry the follow button didn't work for you. I will look into that.

  5. I love the desert word pictures. Nice job!

  6. This is awesome! I love your language...great illustration possibilities...restless as a it.
    And super surprise twist when the Gila monster scares the little boy and he scares it with the toy coyote. :) Very cute.

  7. I really like this one! I don't think you are missing anything at all. You did a great job on the word cut down.

  8. I loved the title, so I knew I had to head on over here to read the story. Great interpretation of this tale. And it's true: it's not nice to trick someone (unless it saves your life).

  9. this is a beautiful twist on the old tale. I love the imagery and the cheekiness of Torito. Fabulous

  10. Hmmm, my first comment was eaten, I think. The title was what grabbed me right away. And the shades of grey at the end (it's isn't nice to trick, but...

  11. This is tight and taut and fun! I can tell you have worked on it!

  12. If I visit Gila monster territory, I'm taking a coyote toy just like Torito's! Clever story. :)

  13. Elliah, this is so cute and such a fun, fresh update of an old tale. I can "see" some fun illustrations for it. Great job! Have you submitted it to anyone?

  14. Great story, clever twist. Living in the desert, I can appreciate the panic felt by his brothers the first two times ;)

  15. Gila monsters and trickery--you can't go wrong with that combination! :-) Fun twist to a classic story!

  16. I love this twist on the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Great job!

  17. OMGoodness! I absolutely love this tale! Man oh man! Clever! So cute and cuddly! Wit abounds. Thanks for sharing! I wish I had had more time to write mine (I just found out about the contest about an hour ago or so. I can tell this one has been worked on, in depth.

  18. Cute story. I like your take on it. Love the ending.

  19. Found it and so happy I did! I love the twist on this tale! I also love the names you picked very imaginative and clever. I love how he solves the problem himself. Well done and wish you the best of luck, not only in the contest, but in your journey as a writer as well!

  20. I really enjoyed your fractured fairy tale. And it has a very satisfying ending since Torito has to solve his own problem.