Well, I made it. I now have 30 shiny picture book ideas in an electronic folder on my computer. Soon I’ll go through them, evaluate, and bump some to the top of the list for further development. Many thanks to Tara Lazar for creating this challenge, and for the 30 inspirational posts on her blog throughout the month of November. They really helped me think of new ways to develop ideas. Here are a few other things I learned along the way.
- Trust my instincts. One day in the shower I started mulling over ideas for biographies. For a picture book, a biography must be of someone younger kids can relate to in some way. The first to pop in my mind was Dr. Seuss. Then I thought, “Don’t be ridiculous. Kids love the books, but it’s doubtful that you could fit his biography into an interesting picture book format. The very next day I found this book — The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew up to Become Dr. Seuss — on display at Borders. Face-out display even (as opposed to spine out). Which leads me to my next lesson:
- Stamp out censorship. I’m my own worst enemy in that before I even write down an idea, I try to evaluate whether it is interesting enough, big enough, marketable enough, etc. That kind of thinking has no place in the brainstorming phase. ANY idea can turn into something original and special. At first I stopped myself when I thought an idea wasn’t enough for a whole story. Maybe not, but that same idea might turn out to be a critical part of another. Let them all come and write them all down. Otherwise you’ll probably discover a book written from that idea on a bookstore shelf someday – only written by someone else!
- Be alert. I paid extra attention to my kids and the world in general this month, as I was constantly on the lookout for material that might make a good picture book. I want to keep that high state of attention going forward, because you just never know where your next big idea is going to come from.
Other PiBoIdMo participants: Any other lessons you want to share?Categories: PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Writing · Tags: PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Writing