Saturday, February 12, 2011

Picture Book Marathon Day Ten / Top Ten Places to Get Ideas

Due to planning an extremely last-minute vacation which my little one sorely needs, I am behind with my agenda, so please pardon me while I play catch up with Marathon Updates and Guest Author Blogposts. Thanks!


On this Tenth day of Picture Book Marathon, I thought it might be good to throw some kindling wood on the fire (for anyone who is struggling for ideas) and discuss my Top Ten Places to Get Ideas.

I'll begin by discussing "Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten," which will be my first published picture book from Scholastic (coming April 2011).  This idea for this book was inspired by the real experience of my son going to school and being worried about having someone to sit with on the bus, and owning hedgehogs. Hedgehogs tend to be very nervous if they don't feel safe, and, they spike up if they are jostled or hear loud noises, so this fact added further tension to my plot, and provided the perfect main character. Thankfully, I was able to add a lot of other fun and favorite things in this book. Please visit in April to find out more about it!

So, back to discussing the places where I often get my ideas:
1.  Real life problems and experiences
    *Like in "Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten" above
2.  Talking to people I know / Listening to Conversations
     *I got my idea for "Tooth Truth" from a story my sister told my daughter about something my niece and
     nephew did when they lost their teeth
3.  Reading Non-Fiction Books
    *I got the idea for "Pig for President" when I read some factual information about how smart pigs are!
4. Real-life Pets
    *"Jump" was inspired by an African bullfrogs we raised from an egg in a kit
5. Holidays
    *"Woodchuck Woes" was in part inspired by Groundhog Day
6. Reading Classics
    *I tried my hand at rewriting "There Was an Old ____" with my own unique spin on it!
7.  Giving stories to Characters in other Books
     *Chomp the Crocodile, who quietly appears in "Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten," has her own story to
        tell in "Chomp's Picture Day Countdown."
8.  Sequel
     Spike the Hedgehog gets off the bus and enjoys Kindergarten in "Hedgehog's 100th Day
    of School" and other stories
9.  Sometimes, I just put words (characters, props, actions, dialogue snippets, settings) on little
slips of paper and put them into a fish bowl. I'll draw them out one at a time, and build a story
from them gets its own momentum. You would be surprised how it works. And you can always
cheat a little if you have to!
10.  The ideas just pop into my head! Sometimes I play around with them, sometimes, I let them simmer.

Bonus: Take a walk, read a magazine, do some yoga, exercise, soak in the tub! You would be surprised at what ideas can sneak up on you when you relax your mind and aren't looking!

I hope you all find this helpful. Please feel free to leave your comments and share any other ideas you may have.

Lynne Marie

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