|I’m excited to say I completed Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo Challenge in November: 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. I ended up with 35!
I’m not a person who’s ever short on ideas–it’s the time to execute them that I find lacking. So I didn’t expect this process to be so cool. But here’s what I loved about it. Sure, I have plenty of ideas knocking around my head, and I never stare at the screen with no idea what to write about. But just because I start someplace doesn’t mean it’s a good place! When I get 2-3 cool picture ideas per month, I assume they’re good ideas if I can just make them work.
Now, when I read over my whole list of ideas from November, here’s how they play out. About 5 of them are just plain bad. They’re desperate, I-must-put-down-an-idea-today-in-order-to-stay-on-schedule ideas. I will never write them because, um, they don’t really deserve to be written.
And about 25 of the ideas are good ideas. If I can write them well enough, find the perfect structure and the just-right words, they might be able to truly make fun picture book manuscripts. Maybe.
And 5 of the ideas make me giddy to start writing. Actually, I wrote a draft based on one of them and it flowed out more easily that any pb ms I’ve ever written. In less than an hour. And my tough crit group loved it. My agent said that it was really cute and might have legs. She asked for a specific revision, which I did and sent back to her–fingers crossed.
What makes those ideas different is that they contain new plot twists, unique characters or points of view, or concepts I haven’t seen done in picture book form. They are the cream of the crop.
Having so many ideas to choose from makes it clear to me that picking the very best from that huge list is so much better than trying to force into life every "oh that could make a good picture book" idea that I have.
Which is why I’ve started two new documents and challenged myself to come up with a brand new idea for either a picture book or a poem every single day. I’d call it PiBoIdFo (Picture Book Idea Forever), but that’s kind of intimidating. So I’ll just say I’m going to be a more determined idea catcher from here on out.