Thursday, October 30, 2014

PiBoIdMo is here!

As a writer of children's picture books, this is exciting news! Picture Book Idea Month is the NaNoWriMo for picture book writers! The challenge, put forth by founder and picture book author, Tara Lazar, is to generate 30 picture book ideas in 30 days.

Just as with NaNoWriMo, the challenge is not to have something ready for publication in 30 days. I should hope not, as chances are 30 days would hardly give any writing a chance to ripen. The challenge is simply to have a rough draft, and in the picture book world, an rough idea is almost the same thing.

Now, to be fair, this sounds a whole lot easier than NaNoWriMo's challenge to write an entire novel in a month. Or at least, one would think so. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Many picture book ideas have already been done ad nauseum so it can be challenging to say the least to come up with something new, fresh, fun and interesting to kids.

Picture books are short, naturally. They get to the point quickly. So an idea can often be the whole skeleton on which the meat of the story hangs. For a novel, an idea is just the first bone, or sometimes barely the ghost of a novel yet to be. Both still need "fleshing out", but one is a lot closer to the end result than the other. At least, there are fewer words to tinker with in the editing process. But you still need at least a bone to work with, and many bones have already been chewed down to the marrow!

Just like a novel, there has to be enough substance to write about. Unlike a novel, there can't be too much. With longer works, if there isn't enough material for a novel it may end up as a novella, short story or even flash fiction. You can scale back until it fits. If there isn't even enough for flash fiction, you haven't got a story. Picture books are flash fiction for the youngest of audiences. That said, an idea is an idea and that's all that counts for PiBoIdMo. The time will come, later, for participants to develop and explore the suitability of each. Some will bear fruit, some will wither on the vine. PiBoIdMo is all about planting seeds. In the end, the writer may end up with 3-10 concepts that will eventually become manuscripts. That's not too shabby for a month's work!

But now I face a dilemma. I write children’s books but I write in other genres as well. Last year was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. I was not successful so I would like to try again this year, but since discovering PiBoIdMo, I have been dying to participate in this as well! Maybe I’ll get brave and bold and try both in the same month! Or maybe that's a bit too ambitious! I may have to alternate venues and just do PiBoIdMo.

 If you have ever wished to delve into the world of picture books, this might just be a way to dive on in! Registration is only open until Nov 3, so click on over and sign up!

Sign up for PiBoIdMo 2014! 

Catherine Warren (aka C.C. Monroe)

No comments:

Post a Comment