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…
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?
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).
Combine it with something kids love, pirates, fairies, wizards, magic, or dragons.
Give them an unusual problem that doesn’t come immediately to mind, maybe drawn from a reality show, house sharing, cooking, music talent show.
Remove something essential from a fairy tale and put something else in it to make it zing.
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.
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?
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.