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Town of Bright Holidays (iPhone 8) by Anna Leventopoulos, 11 (Menlo Park, CA), published in Stone Soup January 2022

A note from Sarah

Happy weekend!

In this newsletter, I want to talk about the brilliant story “Best Friends Forever” by Charlotte Moore from the January 2022 issue of Stone Soup (perfectly paired with the cozy-yet-ominous art piece “Town of Bright Holidays” by Anna Leventopoulos, pictured above). What I like so much about Charlotte’s story is the mixing of genres. Part realistic fiction story on friendship, part ghost story thriller–all of it extremely compelling.

My project for you this weekend is to attempt your own genre mash-up story. Maybe you have two very different genres in mind–if so, go ahead and write! But if you need help coming up with the ingredients, I suggest brainstorming a variety of genres, writing them all down, and picking two at random.

Once you have your genres, you can come up with a way to combine them into one cohesive story. How might you transition between the two? You can separate the stories into two distinct halves for each genre and create a middle act that transitions from one to the other. Or, you can switch back and forth between them throughout the story. What Charlotte does so well in “Best Friends Forever” is to make the back-and-forth between the genres so seamless that many readers may not even notice any kind of switch at all.

I hope this weekend project sparks some creative work. As always, if you’re happy with anything you’ve created, submit it to Stone Soup!

All the best,

Charlotte Moore
Charlotte Moore, 12 Brooklyn, NY

From Stone Soup
January 2022

Best Friends Forever

By Charlotte Moore, 12 (Brooklyn, NY)

The castle loomed large and ominous above me. I heard the tour guide blabber on about some people who had died inside the castle, probably trying to make it appear scarier than it was—something about ghosts and people hearing screams when no one was there. I wasn’t scared; I just didn’t want to be there. All I wanted to do was go home and be with my cat, the only being I felt I could trust.

A feeling of loneliness washed over me as I watched the girls in the class huddling up and whispering about how creepy the castle was. The way the girls all had their secrets reminded me of my old best friend, Olivia. We used to be like that, always sharing inside jokes.

When we were in fifth grade we began drifting apart, but honestly, she started drifting away. Every time I wanted to hang out with her, she would push me aside. She stopped inviting me over, stopped calling me, and before I knew it, we weren’t even eating lunch together. After that, I felt completely alone.

By then everyone else had already formed cliques.

The tour guide showed us through the door. As soon as we walked in, I noticed how dim the castle was. Engraved details covered the walls. I watched a mouse scurry from one hole in the wall to another. There were so many different passageways.

The group paused to look at a painting of another one of those old rich guys from the 1800s. “Arthur Livingstone.” He was the master of the castle, and he had been the seventh-most wealthy man in America at the time, the tour guide explained.

I didn’t care.

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Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.

Stone Soup's advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.

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