12 April 2011

B is for Birds and Bees

This is a piece I wrote last night.  It was written “pantser” style (which means by the seat of your “pants” – i.e. I had no idea where it was going).  I generally prefer writing with a plot outline, so this was rather out of my comfort zone.  But I think that it’s good to exercise your skills by stretching yourself.

The second area that stretched me was in the style of writing.  I usually write adult fiction and have absolutely no experience with very young children’s stories.  I have no children myself so don’t even have that to go on.  I’m sure my vocab and style are probably a disaster and the language is targeted at a mythical child of some impossible age.  But maybe someone can point out any style or content errors and I can rewrite the prose over time.

I’ll post the story now so I don’t give too much away.  Afterwards I’ll add a small postscript commentary.

The Little Bird and the Little Bee

Once upon a time there lived a little bird and a little bee. The little bird lived in a little nest right at the end of a very big branch in a very big tree. On the other side of the tree lived the little bee, all happy and free in his little hive.

One day while the little bee was buzzing around in the flower garden below, he felt himself being picked up and carried away. What is happening to me, he wondered. Where I am going?

The little bee felt himself soaring up, up, faaaaar up into the air. And then, suddenly, he was dropped into a lovely warm snuggly bed. Weeee, the little bee giggled. How nice and soft is this place.

But then he opened his eyes and wider and wider and wider they grew. Because above him sat the sharpest, nastiest, biggest beaked bird he had ever seen! Aaaaaah, thought the little bee. Iiiiii am going to be eaten all up inside this nest.

So he buzzed and buzzed his wings and tried so very hard to fly away, but his one wing was hurt and he just went around in a circle and around and around and around he went.

The little bird looked down at the little bee and felt sad for him. But if she didn't eat him, she would grow hungry and then she would not be able to look after her baby birds. So the little bird opened her beak and got ready to eat the little bee. But just at that moment she stopped for behind her on the branch, slithering closer and closer, was a big fat green snake!

The little bird flew up into the air and shouted and cried and swooped and dived. But the green snake just kept on coming. Closer and closer to the nest he slithered. And when he was right there, he looked down at the three tasty eggs and opened his forky mouth and got ready to eat them.

But the little bee got angry. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and buzzed his one good wing so hard and so fast that he took off into the air and he stung the green snake right on the end of his forky tongue.

The green snake cried out and turned very fast and slithered and slimed and slide away  and the little bird’s eggs were safe. The little bee fell back down into the nest, and he lay there quietly because now his stinger was gone, and he knew he would never be able to leave the nest again.

The little bird flew down and looked into the sad eyes of the little bee as he was lying on his back in the nest.  And she felt sorry for the little bee. But then suddenly the little bird got an idea and off she flew. For a long time she was gone. The little bee wondered where the little bird had gone and when she was going to come back and eat him all up. And no sooner had he thought that, that the little bird was back!

But in her beak was a rose thorn. The little bird placed the rose thorn on the place where the little bee had lost his stinger. And then the little bird took some sticky sap from the sticky-sap tree in the garden below and stuck the thorn so very tightly onto the little bee.

The little bee looked down at his new stinger. And then he looked up at the little bird. And he smiled. And from that day on, the little bird and the little bee were the best of friends and lived happily ever after.

Man, I struggled to keep this story upbeat and on-track.  First it was that damn bird that just wanted to munch the little bee.  Then as the story developed, it kept pulling me to a Tarantino ending where the bird ate the bee who then stung the bird and they both died a bloody death.  Well, all’s well that ends well.  And it did.  Happily ever after.


  1. This is why I don't have children - my brain is going "but, ripping out the stinger rips out the bee's guts...how is a thorn going to fix that?"

    Though on slightly more upbeat note, it was an aaawww story :) I'm sure kids would like it. I think. Maybe.

  2. Yeah, that was my dilemma whilst writing the story. I wanted some sort of sacrifice that the little bee would make to protect the bird. And the bee's sting kinda popped out at the natural answer. But then the bee ended up lying and dying in the nest. Not so much fun for a 4 year old. So I avoided that part with the "wouldn't be able to leave the nest" line. And then thought how could the bird save him, so invented a stupid solution that suspended reality but may be acceptable to a kid.

    I think the story would work better with some cutesy artwork to de-emphasise the real world reality. I purposely wrote the story with some sort of storyboard picturing in mind, but I imagine a fair amount of editing will be required to break the story up into separate storyboarded pages.

    But like you, I don't have children, so maybe it's just a horror story that will give them nightmares and result in lots of stingerless dead bees and screaming 4 year olds with swollen fingers.

  3. B is for Bazinga!