I know, I know…I’m not an illustrator. And it’s not even Friday. But a friend of mine started a really cool group that I’m having a lot of fun with. We’re not a critique group…we’re a group of eight children’s book authors who want to work on our picture book ideas.
So, every Friday we get the Illustration Friday word (you can sign up for it right here) and then we each try and come up with a workable picture book idea around that word.
(NOW I see what lizjonesbooks is doing every Friday! Liz is an illustrator, and she posts her illustration every week. Well, guess what? Writers can play, too!!!)
This new group of mine is turning into quite a lesson in creativity. I love watching everyone’s thought processes! It’s amazing how many different directions the eight of us can go with one simple word.
We’ve already discussed the importance of coming up with THREE ideas rather than just one…the first one or two allow you to get the already-read-it-a-thousand-times-and-wrote-the-book-report sorts of ideas out of your system so you can get to something new and original. (The founder of our group is a college instructor, and she has her students come up with three ideas, then three more ideas, and three more after that — so nine total! when they write something. Not a bad idea!)
We’re not necessarily writing these stories (though some of us are), we’re just each coming up with workable story ideas that we can plug into this formula: “This is a story about _______________ (main character) who wants more than anything else to ___________________(MC’s goal) but can’t because_____________________(obstacles) until_______________________(resolution).”
I know there will be some story ideas that will excite me and I’ll sit down and write them right away. Others will need days, weeks, months, maybe even years to percolate…maybe I’ll even decide they’re just not my stories to tell. But the point is, I will be regularly coming up with workable picture book ideas on a regular basis…52 of them before the year is over. This is also one more way I can make sure I’m producing new stuff and not just taking on every freelance assignment that comes my way.