Monday, February 14, 2011

Picture Book Marathon Update: Day Thirteen & Fourteen

My Picture Book Marathon tally spelled out "Sweet" success as I handed in my count of 7 completed picture book drafts on Sunday for the week, a total of 12 since the Marathon started on February 1st!  It hasn't always easy to find the time to write a complete draft each day.  I have given up some of my favorite t.v. shows, checked Facebook less, and as Lora and Jean recommended, made it a daily task to ponder and list three possible ideas to work on the next day.  I have noticed myself finding a rhythm, and more and more, doing productive work on my writing and storytelling has become part of my daily routine.
I think being in the holiday spirit got my creative juices flowing, as a holiday book poured out of me on Sunday, but it wasn't a Valentine's Day book!  Of the 14 picture book drafts I've written, there are 7 that I consider worth pursuing with more revisions, and this one is definitely one of them. 

One of Lora and Jean's recent blogposts discussed writing what you know. Monday's picture book draft was inspired by my little one, who has neurological tics and makes humming noises or perhaps something else, when the tic shifts over time.  It's about a little hippo who blinks, hums and flicks his tongue and his attempt to convince the other animals to let him play with them in the watering hole. I am happy that even in the first draft I feel it has humor, compassion, tension, and ultimately, understanding. I hope that after much thought and many revisions, it will one day be a GOOD story.  Read on, to see what I mean...

This weekend, I asked my 6-year old daughter (who has been reading picture books and chapter books unassisted for some time) what topics she liked to read about in picture books. She replied, "Well, just about anything that's good." I asked her what she meant by good, and tried to get her to pick some topics in particular. She titled her head and said, "Didn't you understand? Anything that's GOOD!" She gave me examples...FLORA'S VERY WINDY DAY (by Jeanne Birdsall), DESERT ROSE AND THE HIGHFALUTIN' HOG (by Alison Jackson), JULIUS, BABY OF THE WORLD (by Kevin Henkes), SUCH A SILLY BABY (by Steffanie and Richard Long). All these books are extremely different in style and topic, but I think I know what she means. A good story, well-told!

So keep on writing those drafts every day -- you're stretching your creative muscles, exploring new things (situations, characters, voices, places, conflicts). You're on the right path to creating that good story, well told!

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