Sunday, February 13, 2011

Picture Book Marathon Day Eleven / Sowing Your Story Seeds All in a Row (Structure)

For Friday, I discussed my top ten methods for finding inspiration. My idea for Picture Book Marathon Day 11 came from reading the fun and fabulous book, JACK OF ALL TAILS, written by a former critique group partner, Kim Norman. Please visit her at her website:

Of course, my idea really has nothing to do with this wonderful book, in which "Members of the Kibbleman family take on jobs training people to live with their pets, wallowing in mud like the Munson's pot-bellied pig or lying in front of the television and passing gas like Mrs. Philpott's dearly-departed boxer dog MacTavish." That's the beauty of it!

Just  one little detail, if you will, sent my mind flying off in a different direction, to a different place, with a different character and a different situation, and voila -- my story was born! But I digress (and of course wanted to share the title of a thoroughly enjoyable book)...

Here's where the sowing comes in. Just like every day is different, so is every idea or seed for each story. Some practically grow on their own, some require lots of sun light and water. Others might make you roll up your sleeves, put your arms deep down into mucky earth and pull them out by their roots. The point is, you have to do what it takes.

With Manuscript #11, a structured format worked easily. I had my flawed but engaging character, setting, situation and problem in my head. All I had to do is let them loose for the fun and frivolity to begin. From there, my character made three aggravated and humorous attempts to solve her problem and finally, when it seemed that all hope was lost, she came up with an unexpected solution -- just like in so many of the books we know and love <3 Structure! It worked for me today, and at the end of it all, I had tapped out a promising first draft.

Please come back and visit  my blog for more Picture Book Marathon Updates and other techniques for letting your ideas turn into drafts (as well as tips, thoughts and tricks from other Published Authors and Illustrators).

Lynne Marie is the author of HEDGEHOG GOES TO KINDERGARTEN, Scholastic, April 2011
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