PiBoIdMo Day 3: When Grace Lin’s Picture Book Idea Isn’t a Picture Book (plus a prize!)

I love that your picture book ideas sometimes cross over into other books – I have a few that is happening with too. It’s all a matter of going with the flow. Thanks for sharing your journey Grace.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

GraceLin_photoby Grace Lin

I laughed a little when Tara asked me if I’d like to guest blog for PiBoIdMo. My last picture book was published over five years ago, around the time we were all trying to figure out if the report of the death of the picture book was greatly exaggerated. One might wonder that about my picture book career.

However, in the last five years, I have published two novels and three early readers (with a fourth coming out TODAY!). And when I thought about it, I realized that PiBoIdMo is about picture book ideas. And I realized every single one of my books has begun as a picture book idea.

For example, my first Ling and Ting early reader, was once a picture book dummy originally titled Ling, Ting and Ming (sorry, Ming, you got axed). In my youth, I had loved the Flicka…

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Finding the Zing

Guinea Pig Soft toy Cubby – June Perkins

So today for PiBoIdMo – I was inspired by this post Plot Twists that Zing.  You just have to head over to it and have a read of that post and look at the books it talks about.  I just loved it!

I am looking for story ideas that have a clever twist, an xfactor that makes you want to read from the title alone.  It’s about pushing the limits, nothing is too crazy or out of the way.

It’s going to be fun.  What will I put into my magic zing list? What is my recipe for zing, gleaned from the Picture Book Den, fabulous blog. Plot Twists that Zing?

  1. Think of a favourite animal, in my case from Far North Queensland where I used to live, or  maybe go with one of the animals I know well like guinea pigs or Minor Birds (make sure it is something other people don’t write about though).
  2. Combine it with something kids love, pirates, fairies, wizards, magic, or dragons.
  3. Give them an unusual problem that doesn’t come immediately to mind, maybe drawn from a reality show, house sharing, cooking, music talent show.
  4. Remove something essential from a fairy tale and put something else in it to make it zing.
  5. Check no-one else has done this, and then adopt the process again, until I have generated several ideas, then pick one to work with.

I hope you find your zing today too.  I am going to apply this same rule to my chapter book.  Already I am excited about the writing day.

Evening Similes

As I continue my poetry quest I know it’s not just about form, but substance. It’s about trying to explain the essence of things, using metaphors and similes. It’s about searching for word images that capture the difficult to explain.

Here is another work from Ripple Poetry which is about that quest for deeper meanings.

Next to work on extending the metaphors?

Spirits Of The Fleeting Dull Ambience
LiLauraLu – Flickr Creative Commons

Art is like memories lost, then found
Memories can be a Pandora’s box.

Camera is like a dear friend sharing special moments.
A dear friend is the antidote to a depressing day.

Fake flower is like a make-up face.
Make-up face is a shield to protect.

Curtains are like eye lids that open and shut.
Eye lids are bridges between night and day.

Guitar is like a bird that wants to be heard.
Bird is a dreamer’s avenue to wings.

Poem is like a letter to a detective called reader.

By June Perkins


Camera Girl, by June Perkins


Playing with Words in Wordle – Reimagining a poem

It’s been a long time since I looked at wordle, but just today I was thinking about how to have a graphic for a post that is not a photograph but creative and remembered wordle.

I began playing around with a poem and made an interesting discovery.  The word jumbles were so interesting they could inspire more pieces of writing.

As I  played with my Rainbow Poem in wordle I found new combinations of words that sounded inventive and curious.

Combinations like ‘ high climbing art’, ‘ caring rainbows’, ‘recovering sky’, ‘boredom sky,”technicolour children,’ ‘chase sky, and ‘ ‘rainbows recovering ablaze’ – and this led to more new thoughts.

What kind of situation would lead to a rainbow needing to recover?  Why would someone chase the sky?  What setting would have highclimbing art?  I’ll answer some of these questions in my next blog.

What fun it is to play with the words, to scramble, invent and add.

So I leave this post with a ‘dancing gaze’, wearing my’ frog hat’and looking for ‘caring colours.’