Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just about a month late

Ideas are funny things.

I have been doing PiBoIdMo (a month's worth of picture book idea generating) in part because of my lack of an idea for NaNoWriMo (a month's worth of writing a 50,000-word novel). I said that I would not to do NaNoWriMo this year because I didn't want to overload my life, though if I had had an idea that I was excited about, I probably would have gone for it.

Sometimes ideas find you when you aren't even thinking about looking for them. For me, this is the rule, not the exception. The ideas that excite me the most are usually the ones that come to me without any effort on my part, in the form of a sudden Aha! or lightbulb moment.

The other night while I was lying in bed I had one of those moments. Born from the random musings in my trying-to-go-to-sleep brain, a concept for a YA fantasy/dystopian novel popped in for a visit. I know that some ideas will leave if you don't give them immediate attention, so I mustered up the nerve to risk waking my husband with sudden midnight scramblings, and soon I had jotted down a two-sentence pitch and info about my main character.

Throughout the past couple of days, other characters have presented themselves to me, as if auditioning for a part in this story. It's been interesting to see who has popped up to say hello.

I'm excited about this story! Had this idea come to me about a month ago, it might be mostly drafted by now. But this way there is no pressure. Just me and my new WIP taking our time getting to know each other.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Collaborating isn't for chickens

Collaborating with someone on a writing project can be a lot of fun. There is no end to the wackiness and hilarity that can ensue when two children's writers get together to share ideas. Made-up words, colorful characters, comical situations, outrageous action--as fun as all these are, they are twice the fun when bouncing back and forth between two brains!

It's interesting to brainstorm with Corey and see how the sparks of her creativity can feed my own. One phrase or one play on words could be all that's needed to give sudden life to a brand spankin' new character or book idea.

But collaborating doesn't come without frustrations. We may both love a certain concept, but have a hard time agreeing on the direction. We may breeze through a first draft, but have disagreements about what needs to change in revisions. One of us may fall completely in love with a story, and the other just not see it the same way. Sometimes we can debate for an hour or more about a single line, or even a single word!

But the same things that cause frustration are the things that help us write our best together. All the debates and disagreements force us to look at our stories from different angles, to consider every possible option, and to learn to bend a little to make room for the other person's point of view. And that makes our stories even better. Because one thing we always agree on is that we won't settle. We will keep working on a story until we are both happy with every word.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some things from my PiBoIdMo list

Hungry ogre,
homeless mice,
two big families,
monsters (twice),
big and teeny,
dragons, cats,
and grocery stores,
flying kites,
brothers, sisters,
fearless knights,
an anxious boy,
a girl who flew,
trolls and fleas,
and doggies too.
I'm brimming full
of tales to spin.
Now, to choose one
and begin!