Monday, November 26, 2012

Picture Book Magic

I've been participating in Tara Lazar's online challenge PiBoIdMo,  which is an unpronounceable acronym for Picture Book Idea Month. There seems to be a plethora of online writing and illustrating challenges out there this month. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), SkaDaMo (Sketch a day month), Illustration Friday (the weekly on-going grandaddy of them all) and even NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for those who still can't get enough.
I've been tempted to do many of these, but PiBoIdMo is one I enjoyed last year and am doing again this year. The daily posts by guest authors are inspirational, entertaining and sometimes even rewarding (i.e.goodies). It's amazing what does or doesn't come out of one's own brain on a daily basis. I'll be listening to NPR or someone will email an article to me and there it is. Either it becomes a children's version of the topic or it will send me off on a tangent. Guess there's something good to be said about having attention deficit.
Then there are days where I sit at the dining room table in the a.m. and think what can I do with this broken, headless tiny mermaid that my kids left here? There has to be a story in this. Or maybe the lack of a story is a story in and of itself.

After a while I notice themes or (ruts, lol) that I get into. Why do I mostly focus on one character with a problem? Are all stories basically the same? How can Mo Willems write a whole book about a pigeon driving a bus or Jon Klassen a bear missing a hat and have it turn out amazing? Where is the magic book powder that we can use to sprinkle on our creations? Answer: Of course there's no powder you (picture book) dummy.  It's a process, not a product. Something no one wants to hear: put in the hours people! Eventually something comes out of it. You may have to wade through 50 pages of gunk before a little gem pokes through.

But all in all, it's worth it. The online cameraderie is what it's all about.  A little reminder that, no you're not the only one who thinks up whacky ideas and hopes to entertain children and/or make a living. And maybe some little picture book magic develops!

No comments:

Post a Comment