Friday, 29 April 2011

Branded with yellow

I’m pretty much dreaming in yellow these days.

There’s only ONE week until my story is due for the Martyn Godfrey Young Writers’ Award (May 6, 2011, peeps – will you be ON TIME?) and it seems I can’t even jog around the block without seeing something that reminds me of the colour yellow.

Grandpa says I’m just more observant since I started writing my short story. Maybe he’s right. I never realized how much yellow there is in the world.

Especially in logos.

Check out the four on this blog. All of them use a vibrant shade of yellow, contrasted by the dramatic darkness of black. Smart, right?

Do you recognize them?

Tell you what. E-mail me at If you correctly guess the brand name associated with each logo, I’ll hook you up with an autographed copy of the book Fields of Home, featuring the story of…well, me! <grin>

Gotta jet.

-       - Chase Superman Duffy

GP.S. - Don't forget, two winners of the Martyn Godfrey Young Writers' Award will win FREE admission to WordsWorth and an author visit to your school during the Taleblazers festival!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Painting with words

Forgive the running analogy, peeps, but I’m on the home stretch to crossing the finish line on my short story for the Martyn Godfrey Young Writers’ Award. Not that I’m counting, but the deadline is just two weeks away!

I’m pretty stoked about what I’ve written.

Local illustrator James Grasdal says sometimes you have to think of your writing like a drawing, paint a picture with your words.

If that’s the case, my word painting has a lot of yellow in it.

So, James suggested I add another colour to make the story really pop. Preferably a contrasting colour – like blue.

Close your eyes and picture this: an Alberta blue sky. A bright yellow canola field.

Pretty amazing, right?

Think about all of the other ways you can use yellow in your writing. Like perking up subdued colours, like greys and blues. Or how about combining yellow and orange to symbolize spring – or citrus. (Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie. Yum.) Pale yellows can also reduce the intensity of richer colours – like a gold braid on a burgundy or navy blue marching band uniform.

The combinations are endless!

As I work through the edits on my rough draft, I’m not looking at my story as random words anymore. Now it's a bright, colourful painting – James Grasdal style.

What colours are you brushing on to your canvas?

Gotta jet.

- Chase Superman Duffy

PS - The deadline for the contest is MAY 6, 2011. Don't miss the chance to win a trip to WordsWorth, the writing camp for youth who believe in the power of words.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Have you thanked a volunteer today?

I’m helping out at the Young Alberta Book Society’s book drive tomorrow. Basically, I’ll be sorting books into categories – fiction, non-fiction, comics. I hope I get to flip through a lot of comics.

At the end of the month, the books will be sold for $1 or $2 at the Canwest Raise-a-Reader annual sale. The money from that sale is divided between 6 charities
including the Young Alberta Book Society, the organization that puts on the Martyn Godfrey Young Writers' Award. (How’s your story coming? Remember, the deadline is May 6!)

Coach Taylor asked me to help out as part of the school’s Volunteer Day activities. He says it’s one way to show appreciation for the people in our lives who help out and give of their time so that others can benefit.

Like Coach Taylor, for one.

I tried out for the track team because of his encouragement.

He’s always pushing me to do my best, and just when I think I can’t push myself anymore, he says four magical words: You can do it.

And I can!

I’ve got a lot of people in my corner – like Coach Taylor, my Grandma and my Grandpa. I could probably go on and on, but I’m working on my short story and then heading out for a run.

Who are the people you’re thankful for?

Have you thanked a volunteer today?

Catch me if you can. Later….

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 8 April 2011

When writing, be specific


That’s my word of the day.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a writing workshop where Alberta author Debby Waldman offered up some great writing tips.

One of the things she said has really stuck with me. Be specific.

For example, Sophie drove a yellow car is pretty good. But even better might be, Sophie drove a canola yellow race car. Yeah!

I’ve been thinking a lot about that as I edit the first draft of my Martyn Godfrey Young Writers’ Award short story. (Are you finished your first draft? Better hurry! The deadline is May 6, 2011.)

Of course I’ve been thinking about the colour yellow. Specifically – ha ha – canola yellow since that’s part of the contest rules. But I wanted a little more detail, so I Googled: the history of yellow.

You wouldn’t believe the things I learned!

Maybe you could use some of this trivia in your story?

Like, did you know that for years, yellow ribbons were worn as a sign of hope for women waiting for their husbands to come home from the war? Today, they’re still used to welcome loved ones.

Yellow means many different things to different people.

To the ancient Greeks, for example, yellow symbolized air.

Famous renaissance man Leonardo DaVinci wrote that yellow represented Earth.

In India, it’s the symbol of the merchant and the farmer.

And in 10th Century France (a long time ago), the doors of felons, traitors and criminals were painted yellow – great info if you’re writing a mystery.

How are you using canola yellow in your story? My advice?


I gotta jet. Later!

- Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. – Debby Waldman had a lot of great things to say about the who, what, where, when, why and how behind building a story. Click here for her list of basic questions you should answer before you finish your writing.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Gearing up for run season - and the MGA!

I went for my first outdoor run of the season last week, and boy did it feel great! The sun was shining, and despite the snow-covered ground, I really started thinking about spring.

Grandpa keeps saying, “it’s right around the corner.”

But so is the deadline for the Martyn Godfrey Young Writers’ Award.

I’ve figured out who my character is now. He’s about the same age as me, but I’d say he’s a lot more shy. And he’s scared to run, which is kind of funny because when I was doing some research on yellow, I found out that in some cultures, it’s the colour of cowardice and deceit.

Not that Fred (that’s the temporary name of my character until I figure out something better) is deceitful. He’s just…scared. Of a lot of things, but mostly running. In my rough draft, I even say he’s “yellow.” I’m thinking about giving him blonde hair and then a funny nick name.

I don’t know what you’ve been finding out about the colour, but here’s some information that might help you with your story.

•    Yellow is a warm colour that has conflicting symbolism. On the one hand, it’s happy and cheerful – like sunshine. On the other, in Egypt, it’s the colour of mourning. Something to keep in mind if your short story takes place in another country.
•    Yellow is also considered a colour of hope. For many years, women wore yellow ribbons as they waited for their husbands to come home from the war.
•    And of course, because yellow is so bright (like neon sometimes), it’s the colour often used for hazard signs and some emergency vehicles.

My Grandma loves the colour yellow, and not just because of her giant canola field. She has a garden of daisies and she always tells me that they are her favourite flower because the centres are yellow – like the sunshine that warmed up my run this week.

Hope your weekend is filled with yellow – the cheery kinds, of course!

- Chase Superman Duffy