I’m often asked where my ideas come from when it comes to writing picture books. I am never at a loss for ideas! I get ideas from what other people say, from what I see around me, from music, trivia and other books. And especially from being around children.
I love being around kids. And they give me lots of food for thought! Two of our grandsons play soccer. Have you ever watched four year-olds play soccer? It’s a hoot! Here’s one scenario.
Four year-old is on the field and casually walks over to sit on the bench. His coach patiently coaxes him back onto the field.
A couple of minutes later the same player comes back to the sideline. “I’m tired of playing,” he says.
Coach again coaxes him back onto the field, only to have him come back to the sideline, face his coach with hands on his hips, and say in a loud voice, “BUT I DON'T WANT TO PLAY ANYMORE!”
I’m not sure how his coach did it, but the player ended up back on the field and he suddenly seemed to be having fun.
By the time the kids get to second grade they’re more into the game. I went to one of our older grandson’s games and my friend’s son was playing on the opposing team.
“He thinks you’re here to watch him play,” Susan said.
“That’s ok,” I told her. “I am watching him.”
I cheered for our grandson, and I also cheered for my friend’s son.
A couple of weeks later I saw them at church and he asked me, “So—did you come to the game to see me or someone else?”
Groan! He must have figured it out! I thought fast and said, “I came to watch my grandson and you, too! And I had so much fun I cheered for both of you!”
There’s got to be at least one picture book and one early reader book in there someplace!
PiBoIdMo stands for Picture Book Idea Month. Every November, on her website, Tara Lazar hosts PiBoIdMo. The challenge is to come up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write 30 picture books, only come up with the ideas. Every day in November there is a new guest blogger who talks about writing picture books. And there are some great prizes to win. I’ve participated in years past, and I loved it! This year I just wasn’t able to manage it, but I hope to meet the challenge again in 2015.
What PiBoIdMO did for me was get the creative juices flowing! It got thinking, and made me more aware of the things I saw and heard each day. I used a large calendar page to write them down. Each time I participated I came up with at least 20 new picture book ideas, and sometimes more than the 30 that I needed.
Even if you didn’t sign up as a participant this year, you can still go to the PiBoIdMo website and read the daily blogs posted by picture book authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals.
It’s more fun to do with other writers to share the challenge and cheer you on, but if you missed out on signing up this year, you can still start you own personal challenge any time. Write down your ideas for a week, or ten days. The following PiBoIdMo posts are only a few of the ones that I liked about how to get those picture book ideas.
Day 7—Jennifer Arena, author and editor, shares The George Stanley Idea Generator chart to help you come up with ideas for books with hooks.
Day 11—Tammi Sauer talks about the ‘How To’ structure. Fill in the blanks to come up with more picture book ideas.
Day 13—Corey Rosen Schwartz talks about how to get your 30 ideas, beginning with ‘Write down everything!’
Day 20—Henry Herz says “Everything I know about writing picture books, I learned from animals.” His post offers readers the nine B’s of inspiration for creating picture books.
Day 24—Read what agents have to say about why they love picture books.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the PiBoIdMo challenge in November 2015!