I just found this beautiful blog by author/illustrator Kelsey Lecky. She gave a wonderful presentation for SCBWI Carolinas in January. Watch for her wonderful books and if you see her featured at a conference, especially online, attend if you can.
This post is chock full of great ways to capture the wild idea.
by Tannie Smith, Becky Porter, Julia Mann and Kristin Wauson, “The Big Dillustrators”
Hi everyone! We are a critique group of four female illustrators in Austin, Texas. The best thing about having a critique group with specific goals and purpose, is the power and support we give each other to generate and grow new ideas. When we met to discuss what we wanted to share with you all, we discovered each one of us comes up with ideas in completely unique ways, so we thought we would share with you, not just one, but four different tools to inspire your storytelling all year. Enjoy!
Each of us is amazingly unique, not just in how we look, but also how we process information. I’m a visual person by nature. Taking endless notes or listening to lengthy explanations has never clicked with me. Just ask my husband anytime he…
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Go a little crazy and jot down all your most absurd ideas.
by Jill Esbaum
One little story idea per day. That’s all Storystorm asks.
Yet, in past years, I’ve petered out about January 18th-19th. Oh, I didn’t lack enthusiasm. I lacked discipline. Sooner or later my mind wanted to spin one of those sparkly new ideas into a story, and I let it. Then I got the teensiest bit obsessed, to the exclusion of everything else. My good intentions to make it to the 31st? Kaput. Sorry, Storystorm.
THIS YEAR, I made it. This year, I approached Storystorm not as a hopeful writer looking for a great new idea, but purely as playtime. Farting around. Romping through my brain’s weirder recesses.
Are the ideas I jotted far-fetched? Absurd? Impossibly lame? Yeah, baby. And woo-hoo! Because nobody cares. Nobody. For me, Storystorm is a way of knocking the rust from my receptor antennae so ideas can keep pinging in long beyond January…
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Lots of great ways to get ideas when you are stuck.
When I talk to kids, I tell them books have origin stories just like superheroes do. Nothing like mentioning Wonder Woman or Black Panther to get kids excited. Once I have their attention, and now that I have yours, I talk about four methods of coming up with ideas for a story. Most of the time, my story ideas come from a combination of these approaches.
My first method is follow your passion. As many of you know, I write picture book biographies of [dead] women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Just to be clear, the dead part isn’t my passion, just my preference in choosing a subject. I do, though, love science and math. It’s also important to me that children know that no matter their sex, race, ethnicity, gender identity etc., anyone can enter these fields. I choose to highlight the accomplishments of women…
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If you want to write and illustrate picture books, read this post!
Hello, Storystormers! Care to jump into the Way-Back Machine with me? As someone who has participated in every Storystorm/PiBoIdMo challenge since the very first one in 2009, I thought it might be fun to share some Pearls of Wisdom gathered along the way.
In 2009, I had just signed an illustration contract for my fifth book with Raven Tree Press, I was exploring a new(ish) social media platform called “Twitter” where I met the wonderful Tara Lazar, who was already busy making the world a happier place for picture book writer and illustrators. Author/poet Greg Pincus and I had founded #kidlitchat on Twitter over the summer, and I was soooo ready for this picture book idea thing. At the close of the 2009 challenge, I went through each day’s ideas, expanding them into two or three sentence synopses, and developed four of what I judged the best…
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Good advice here for writers, and an interesting answer to the first question non-writers ask.
by Joana Pastro
A few months ago, I was summoned for jury duty. When lawyers went around the room asking questions as part of the selection process, one of them surprised me by asking where I get ideas for my stories. About fifty pairs of eyes stared at me, so I gave my go-to one-word answer: everywhere. I wasn’t lying—I was under oath after all—but when I noticed that all eyes were still on me, I realized they expected more. So I expanded my response with a series of examples that I’m pretty sure sounded like a bunch of mumbo jumbo.
At the end of the day I wasn’t selected for the jury, but I left determined to have a better answer for next time.
So…where do I find ideas for my stories?
Everywhere. Allow me to expand.
All day long we are exposed to an enormous amount of information…
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So much fun remembering the first books I loved. What were yours?
As we ponder new ideas this month, I thought it might be helpful to think about the books we loved as children, as well as imagine the books we wished we’d had. Ideas are lurking in those musings. I just know it!
What books did you love most as a child?
- Think about the books that changed your life.
- The stories that resonated with you.
- The characters who still live in your mind and heart.
Whether you were an avid reader or not, I bet you can remember a book that really mattered to you.
I vividly remember a few books that enriched my childhood life. I remember my third-grade teacher reading The Giving Tree (by Shel Silverstein) and crying. I realized in that moment that books have power.
I also remember the impact Pippi Longstocking had on me as a child. Pippi lived life on her…
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This is a great idea!
When Tara asked me to write a blog post for Storystorm, my inner critic threw an immediate tantrum. She, Princess Poopynannyhead, is between six and eleven years old, has the voice of my troublemaking younger sister, and sticks her tongue out a lot. She is prettier than me, always wears the right shoes for her outfit, and she knows and remembers absolutely every criticism I have ever received. Especially those about my writing.
“Advice for writers? Who do you think you are? All you do is draw and color pictures.”
That’s right. I do. I am an illustrator.
I’ve always been a very visual person. I’m learning to write, but images always come easier to me than words. My brainstorms come to life in my sketchbooks. Piles and piles of partially-filled sketchbooks. Would you like to try a little drawing exercise with me?
“But I can’t draw!…
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