Ahhhh! Can you believe Halloween is today?
Actually, I think I'm ready. I've hidden large bags of candy so high even I wouldn't eat them. Most of the time.
My kids all have their costumes planned out, and I have the after-school schedule down to the minute. (You think I'm joking...)
But there's still one item of Halloween business to attend to - post a tiny story for the Halloweenie Contest. OK, here goes:
How to Carve a Pumpkin
First we need a…
Oh, yes, that is what we need.
And then you have to draw on the pumpkin with…
That will work better.
Draw a face. Don’t worry if the marker creaks. That looks good. Now we need a…
You can’t carve a pumpkin with that! We need a KNIFE.
No. Put that back and help me cut out the top and face. Look inside. Let’s scoop that out with a…
Actually I like that. But go get a SPOON.
With a carrot nose?
And Stay tuned... After Halloween, win or lose, I'll post a video of a 4-year-old reading this tiny story.
Guess What? This November its...
Simple. I’m a picture book writer.
Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal of that is to write 50K words in a month. Daunting, right? I didn’t make it. Once I hit about 25K, I couldn’t think of anything else to write.
I hadn’t run out of time, I’d run out of STORY. Why? Because I had a story the size of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or maybe even How to Train Your Dragon. I didn’t have a full-blown YA novel. It wasn’t supposed to be.
But I was determined. I was went back looking for plot holes and writing new scenes. Only one problem. Instead of new scenes for my (ahem) novel, I kept thinking up picture book ideas. I jot each one down and move on to what I thought I wanted to be doing – writing those 50K words.
So, November 30th rolled around and I still had a little over 25K. I had failed.
BUT! I did have a complete first draft of a middle grade book. The more I’m polish it the more I know it will never be 50K. And that’s OK, because most of its comp titles aren’t either. So mine will fit right in. When it’s ready.
PLUS, I had quite a few ideas for some new picture books. Wait-what? How is that a good thing? It didn't have anything to with NaNoWriMo. It was just an annoying distraction. Or was it?...
After that fateful November I wondered if maybe NaNoWriMo is too big for me. Wasn’t there something for us children’s writers who write complete stories in 30K words or less?
WHY, YES THERE IS!
It’s called PiBoIdMo, hosted by Tara Lazar. (She’s that brilliant author who wrote The Monstore, and you just have to Follow her and check out her website because if you don’t you’re missing out!)
No, she didn’t pay me for that plug… what exactly are you implying?
Anyway, PiBoIdMo is this really cool event for those of us who write to a younger audience. We spend each day coming up with at least 1 idea for a picture book. And that’s what I was doing during NaNoWriMo!
Looks like I’d joined the wrong event. Or considering I got a middle grade book out of it, maybe not.
Of course I found out about PiBoIdMo AFTER November, but I did participate in NaPiBoWriWee (National Picture Book Writing Week) in May. I used some of the ideas that had popped into my head while I had been working on my (ahem) novel.
THIS year, I’m not going to do NaNoWriMo (but I’m cheerleading all my author friends who do –GO! GO! Write! Write! You can do it, every night!). Instead, I’m doing PiBoIdMo (GO! GO! Think! Think! I’m hoping my ideas won’t stink! –OK, I’ll stop.)
And here's how I'm getting geared up for it:
1) Join the PiBoIdMo 2011 Facebook group
2) Share Tara's "Kick Off Party" handouts
3) Find a system that will keep all my ideas in one place (so that no one thinks that collection of napkins, receipts, postits, and other scraps of paper are just fodder for the recycle bin) I know! I'll make a document on my computer where I can put all those ideas... then I can recycle the scraps. Maybe.
4) Buy a big bag of Chocolate. (I'll wait until Halloween.) Yum. Chocolate.
5) Read a boatload of picture books (Um, you know the library only allows 50 books at a time, right?)
6) Think about characters, emotions, and actions. All the things that help you come up with great story ideas.
7) STOP THINKING! It's not November yet.
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)