Monday, October 07, 2013

Picture Book Idea Month, a.k.a. PiBoIdMo

Well, friends, I haven't been this psyched since right before Julie Hedlund's 12x12 Challenge started up. And for this special, exciting event, I'm pushing the My Favorite Scene segment to next week. I know, you're devastated, but try to hold on one more week. ;)

This time, I'm pumped about PiBoIdMo because as the year is winding down, I'm slowing deflating in the picture books idea department.

What is PiBoIdMo, you ask (or not if you're already a seasoned IdMo'er (is that what you call yourselves?)? Well, click on the PiBoIdMo link and find out!
This year's PiBoIdMo theme is Ideas Taking Flight!
The talented and super nice...don't take my word for it; everyone who knows her says so!...Tara Lazar started this challenge. Tara is the author of the hilarious book, Monstore!
As Tara says at her website, "The challenge is to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes). You don’t need potential best-seller ideas."

I'm tickled that I don't have to actually write; I just have to brainstorm ideas. There are cheering session blog posts by some well-loved children's authors and prizes for those who sign up for, and complete, the challenge!

To have some pre PiBoIdMo fun, Tara is playing a blog-tag game. She has tagged my Australian author friend, Jacque Duffy, who in turn tagged me!

Jacque writes and illustrates children's books - her art is super cute! - and her first book, The Bear Said Please, is scheduled to be released May 2014!! You need to go check out Jacque's post about her book since those who pre-order will be put into a drawing to win of of 10 handmade bears (the main character of the book)! How cool is that?

For this blog tag game, I'm supposed to answer a few questions:

1) What am I working on right now?
I have several picture book stories going (some fiction, some nonfiction). I'm in the midst of final revisions on a science fiction story for middle grade kids, and I'm writing a steampunk-historical-semi-romantic novel for teens. If you conclude that I have ADD, you are probably right.

2) How does it differ from other works in the genre?
There is nothing new or unique in the world; one can only write about a topic from one's own vantage point and hope that it is different enough to make it seem unique. That's the principle I operate by. I'm pretty sure my YA novel idea is unique, but I can't say the same for the fiction picture book ideas.

3) Why do I write what I do?
Like most writers, I like to write what I like to read. I have never stopped reading children's books since I started reading them as a child. I may have been the only teen who was reading picture books...and the only 20-something year old reading children's books when I didn't have kids yet.

4) What is the hardest part about writing?
Well, for picture books, the hardest part is to keep the number of words down, and for older kids and adults, it's trying to write enough to make the story flow (since there are no nice illustrations to expand on the words). Writing is really not the hardest part though; it's the editing and revisions!

The next part of this game is to tag three people. I am a lucky, lucky gal to have all three of the following lovely and dedicated writers in my various critique groups. In alphabetical order:

Terri Forehand is one of the delightful members of my in-person SCBWI critique group. She is truly amazing as she juggles her jobs as RN, the owner of a cute quilt shop, and writer for kids in the Hills of Brown County! Terri is the author of an adult prayer book titled The Cancer Prayer Book. She also has  written a children's book called The ABC's of Cancer, which should be out soon. You can read all about Terri's many achievements at her blog and check out her website.

Sylvia Liu, one of my online picture book critique group buddies and my twin from a different set of parents, is a former environmental attorney turned writer-illustrator. She has exhibited her art in several juried shows, including in the 2012 New Waves exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Her art and infographics have been published on Huffington Post and other venues. She is inspired by aliens, cephalopods, bunnies, and pigs who want to fly. Check out her blog, her portfolio, and her Facebook page! Unlike me, she also has an active Twitter presence. Follow her via @artsylliu.

How fortuitous it is to round off the list of tag-ees with Yvonne Mes, who, like Jacque, lives in Australia! Yvonne, also another one of my dear, dear online picture book critique group friends, is a children’s author, and illustrator. She writes short stories, picture books, and junior novels. Her short stories will be published next year in the School Magazine (Australia), soon to be featured on the Kids Book Review website, and includes a short story contribution to the Teapot Tales Anthology. Her play Nth Degree Reality was performed by the Mount Isa Theatrical Society. Yvonne grew up in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and moved to Australia as a young adult. You can find out more about this fascinating woman at her blog and her Facebook author page. Yvonne can also be found on Twitter: @YvonneCMes

I hope you'll go visit these very talented ladies - Tara, Jacque, Terri, Sylvia, and Yvonne! And maybe you'll join us in dreaming up picture book ideas too?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams