Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Writing Prompt/Character First

If you are a SCBWI              Prose Shop Members Diana Murray & Lynne Marie
member AND a
picture book writer,
then you know the
pressure that
February 15th through
March 15th can
bring to complete,
revise, polish, shine,
print out and post
that winning manuscript
for the SCBWI's                                                    
Barbara Karlin Grant!

My fellow Prose Shop Critique Group Member and Friend Diana Murray knows this first hand as I am proud to share that she was this year's WINNER with her manuscript "Grimelda, the Very Messy Witch."
I am extremely pleased to be able to have Diana here with you today to share some of her process on writing the winning manuscript. Here is how she began:

Character First

When I wrote “Grimelda the Very Messy Witch”, I started with the idea of a character. I wanted to write about someone who was messy and stubborn. From there, I envisioned different types of characters who would fit the bill and finally decided that a witch would give me the most room to push the idea to its limit. Next I gave her a witchy goal and then made her messy, stubborn nature an obstacle in achieving that goal.

There are many ways to start a puzzle. Starting with the idea of a character is like putting down a corner piece first. With those two flat edges, you have a clue where it goes. Choose a scenario that best lets you showcase that character and the rest of the pieces can fall into place.

Diana Murray won the 2010 SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant for her rhyming picture book entitled, "Grimelda the Very Messy Witch". Her poems are forthcoming in publications including SCBWI Bulletin, Highlights, and Spider. For more information about Diana, please visit her web site: http://www.dianamurray.com/
Please follow this blog so you don't miss our upcoming talented authors as well as a tip from Barbara Karlin Grant Runner-up Jenni Bielicki!


  1. very nice, Diana! and such a great way to go about it - character first! Congrats once again on winning the grant. You deserve it!

  2. Thanks, BJ!

    Today is the first day I'm using the grant money to have a babysitter come over and give me some time to write. Very exciting! Let's hope I don't get writer's block. :)

  3. What a great way of going about creating a pb character. I'm so glad your manuscript won some well deserved recognition.


  4. Thanks, Lynne & Diana! I love the puzzle analogy.

    Charlene (from The Shop)

  5. Thanks so much for your support, Ladies! And a special wave to Charlene! See you at the Shop <3

  6. Congrats, Diana, and much success. (I love writing rhyming pbs too!)

    Lori Mortensen

  7. Oh, I love to hear from Lori -- the "Stars" are out today <3

  8. Thanks so much, Stella and Charlene! Charlene, I miss the Shop. :(

    Thank you, Lori! Glad to "meet" a fellow rhymer!