It’s PiBoIdMo! In layman’s terms, that’s Picture Book Idea Month, brought to you by children’s author Tara Lazar. The challenge involves coming up with one picture book idea each day for the month of November. It’s a fun way to get your creative juices flowing and hopefully come up with a few executable (is that a word?) picture book ideas.
I have a special notebook I’m using. My friend Sheyla bought this for me when I decided last year to write for children. Each day’s idea gets its own page, so I can do a bit of research and flesh out the ideas when I have time. I already have one I’m pretty excited about. Perhaps I’ll make it my 12 x 12 manuscript for the month.
Honestly, I am hardly ever short on ideas. It’s often a case of too many ideas and too little time. I have to sift through my ideas and see which ones I can execute and which ones have a wide enough audience.
Even though I write nonfiction, I bet many of my ideas come from the same places as those of fiction writers. Here are some places I’ve found ideas:
- Books (mostly nonfiction). My very first children’s book idea came from a footnote in PACKING FOR MARS.
- Articles: newspapers, magazines, online. The truth is often stranger than fiction. A capybara loose in a waste water treatment plant once inspired a piece.
- My kids. Sometimes it’s things the things they say. Sometimes it’s the way I have to explain things to them when they ask, “Why?” or “How?” Children are an endless source of inspiration.
- Fiction picture books. Today’s idea came when my six-year-old cuddled in my lap. (He is so big!) It reminded me of the classic picture book, LOVE YOU FOREVER, which was a recent topic of discussion among some 12 x 12 writer friends. A few more things fell into place, and voila!
- Museums and other cultural institutions. I’m a real tourist. When we visit somewhere, I take as many pictures of the exhibit signs as I do of my family. There are always interesting tidbits I can mine for ideas later. Which reminds me, I have a few pictures from this summer that I haven’t looked at…
I’m curious, if you are a fellow writer, where do you get your ideas?