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Monday, November 30, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #30: Alphabet Zoo

It's the final day of PiBoIdMo! Inspired by the 30th PiBoIdMo blog post of the month, I wrote my 30th first draft. This time, I took Kim Norman's suggestion about using an online list of nouns to devise alliterative titles a bit further: I used several online word lists to create an alphabet book where each entry consists of at least one adjective, two nouns, and one verb, all of which alliterate!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #29: Stanley's Safe Space

In today's PiBoIdMo blog post, Aree Chung said to start with the feeling you want to convey, and I decided on a feeling of safety. From that, I developed a first draft about a boy whose "safe space," the place in the house he retreats to for comfort, is actually a spot right in the middle of his very busy family's living room. Then...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #28: A 9/11 Hero

When I decided to try writing picture books, it didn't occur to me to try non-fiction, but prodded by Paula Yoo's PiBoIdMo post today, I made an attempt to tell the story of Mohammad Salman Hamdani, who was a Muslim 9/11 hero.

Friday, November 27, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #27: Where Babies Come From

I decided to skip today's PiBoIdMo blog post and instead, go back to the one David Michael Slater wrote way back on Day #5, because after yesterday's fun with old sayings, I wanted to do some more playing with words. Inspired by his story about the five year old who misheard "ring bearer" at a wedding, I wrote a story about a girl who mishears EVERYTHING about how babies are conceived and born.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #26: A Witch In Slime

Today, Pat Zielow Miller blogged about how an actress got a part because she noticed a rolling grape on the subway train, and then about how she herself got an idea for a picture book from some nonsense words that popped into her head one day. Well, while reading about the rolling grape, these words popped into my head: "...gathers no sauce," and I decided to try making them into a story.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #25: Todd's New Life

Wow, it's getting harder to make the time to write a first draft every day as the month goes on! I don't know how I'm going to manage it tomorrow. Fortunately, the PiBoIdMo blog posts are continuing to give me the ideas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #24: The Great Forgetful

Today, I took Jesse Klausmeier's suggestion to brainstorm ideas through notecards, but I cheated by using her cards! Or actually, only one of them, because as soon as I picked the "magician" card for my character, I got an idea for an absent-minded magician who's always forgetting his spells.

Monday, November 23, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #23: Do Dragons Cry?

Today, the phrase "Do dragons cry?" popped into my head out of nowhere, and so I decided to turn it into a story. What I ended up with was almost a poem in some ways. It explores five different types of dragons - air dragons, fire dragons, water dragons, night dragons, and day dragons - using a repetitive structure to describe how they live, why they might cry, and what happens to their tears that makes it hard to know if they ever cried.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #22: Clara's Questions

In response to Anna Staniszewski's prompt, I thought about some awkward things I've said in company, and then got the idea to write a story about a girl who says awkward things in company. "Clara's Questions" begins like this:
Clara’s a curious girl. She loves to ask questions, but the problem is, nobody ever answers them! Last Thanksgiving, her Uncle Brent came for the celebration like he always does, but Aunt Sandy didn’t come with him. Instead, he came with another woman whose name was Melanie.

“Where’s Aunt Sandy?” asked Clara, but everybody just got quiet.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #21: Flowers For Grandma

In today's PiBoIdMo blog post, Nancy Tupper Ling begins with a Mary Oliver quote about the importance of observation, and later talks about an idea she got while driving down the highway. That got me thinking about an observation I've made while driving down highways, that there are often the prettiest wildflowers sprinkled among the ugly weeds by the roadside. So I started writing a story about a girl who loves flowers, but then it turned into a story about a girl who loves her grandmother. And then her grandmother passes away! I was surprised by how far the idea traveled from this opening scene:

Friday, November 20, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #20: It is the Dawn

Instead of using today's PiBoIdMo prompt, I decided to write another sequel. This time, it's a sequel to "It is the Moon", the poem I wrote in response to Samantha Berger's blog post on day #8 of PiBoIdMo.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #19: Tom the Two Headed Boy

I wasn't able to take the advice of Adam Lehrhaupt and Ame Dyckman to find "an extra head" to brainstorm PiBoIdMo ideas with, because this is a secret identity that none of my friends know about yet, so I did the next best thing: I used Adam and Ame as my extra heads, and wrote the first draft of a story about...a boy with two heads!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #18: In the Bag

In today's PiBoIdMo blog post, Liza Woodruff mentioned one of the terrible ideas she came up with during PiBoIdMo 2011: a pretzel named Rod who escapes from the pretzel factory. I decided to try using Rod in a story of my own, and what I came up with was the story of a straight pretzel stuck in a bag of twisted pretzels who's looked down on by the others because he's the exact opposite of their ideal of what a pretzel should be. But then the bag is bought by someone throwing a party, and on the snack table, Rod encounters a whole bowl of pretzels that are shaped like him and realizes he was perfect all along.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #17: Goodnight Spoon

Today, I wrote an homage to a favorite picture book, inspired by Ryan Hipp's blog post. Mine is probably more direct than what he had in mind though. In fact, it's probably too direct! I don't think it's publishable, because people would think from the title that it's making fun of Goodnight Moon, when it really isn't. Maybe that can be fixed, but anyway, this month is just about writing 30 first drafts. I'll figure out later what to do with them.

Monday, November 16, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #16: Mina in America

One of Katya Szewczuk's PiBoIdMo prompts today was to think about an existing character's back story, and I decided to expand that into a full-length prequel to a story I wrote earlier this month.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #15: The Door in the Yard

In today's PiBoIdMo blog post, Carter Higgins suggests "reverse engineering" a story by beginning with the final effect or "about about" you want to achieve, and then constructing a story that results in that.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #14: Tall Tina

Julie Gribble asking today, "How Tall is Your Reader?" gave me the idea to write a story about a fantastically tall girl who has a hard time on her first day of school because of her height, but ends the day by declaring that it had been "too short."

Friday, November 13, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #13: The Line

In today's PiBoIdMo blog post, Sarvinder Naberhaus talks about how lines inspire her.
When I think that a true line goes on forever in both directions, farther than the Hubble Telescope, on to eternity, that fills my mind with wonder.
So, for my idea and first draft for today, I wrote a 334 word story about a girl who finds a line running through her house and follows it out of the house, out of her city, off the earth, past the planets and the stars, and out of the galaxy!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #12: When Day Took a Vacation

I couldn't use today's PiDoIdMo prompt by Denise Fleming because I already went through my list of lines and phrases once, on day #7, and I couldn't find anything else there that would work for a picture book, so instead, I did a sequel to the very first story I wrote this month.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #11: Give Us a Hug!

Okay, I tried to put myself in a child's place as directed by Joe McGee, and what I came up with was how often they're forced to hug people when maybe they don't really want to. "Give us a hug!" we tell them. "What about me? Don't I get a hug?" "Let me give you a great big hug!" We assume it's a treat for them, but maybe it's really a treat for us. Maybe they could take it or leave it. Maybe they'd like to choose who they hug and who they don't.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #10: Foster Annie

In response to Janna Matthies' challenge to write about difficult life experiences, I wrote the first draft of a story about a girl in foster care who's had four sets of foster parents so far and has yet to be adopted. Here's how it begins:

Monday, November 9, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #9: Sally Talks Back

Inspired by Meredith Mundy's faith in the creative power of illustrators, I wrote a story today that can't really be finished without an illustrator. In this story, the main character interrupts the story she's in from time to time to talk directly to the author and illustrator, complaining about the story the author is putting her in and the pictures the illustrator is drawing.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #8: It is the Moon

Today's PiBoIdMo blog post was about words that popped into writer Samantha Berger's head, that when she began to write them down, came out in rhyme. For a while now, lines in a certain metrical pattern and rhyme scheme have been going around and around in my mind, and I decided to take Samantha's post as the sign that I should finally try writing them down.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #7: Puffy's Quest

Those PiBoIdMo blog posts keep giving me the ideas! Today's post by Jessixa Bagley didn't directly inspire an idea, but it did lead me to review a list I've made over the years of lines and phrases I might put into a story or a poem some day, and even though none of them were intended for children's literature, I did find this line, "her cheeks puffed out like a squirrel who didn’t trust any of its hiding places," and ended up writing a 510 word first draft of a story about a city squirrel who has a mouthful of nuts and is trying to figure out where to hide them, but there are no good places in the city, and so he goes around asking his friends for advice, but because his mouth is full, they keep mishearing him and answering completely different questions.

Friday, November 6, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #6: The Three Me's Celebrate Thanksgiving

I'm cheating today! Instead of coming up with a brand new idea, I wrote a 455 word sequel to The Three Me's. I have a feeling I'm going to be doing this more than once before the end of PiBoIdMo!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #5: When Aunt Martha Passed Away

I got another idea today, inspired once again by the day's PiBoIdMo blog post by David Michael Slater, but this time, I didn't quite complete a first draft. My idea was a child misunderstanding a common phrase, only the phrase in this case is "passed away". So it's not exactly a light-hearted romp!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #4: Drawing a Blank

No, "drawing a blank" doesn't mean I couldn't think of an idea to write a first draft for today. "Drawing a Blank" is the title of the story I came up with after reading this blog post by Marcie Wessels that begins by describing how terrified she is of blank pages. My story is about a boy who's really good at art and asks his father to give him a challenging subject to draw, and in response to his father's challenges, ends up drawing nothing three straight times. And yet, the nothing he draws is the absolutely correct drawing every time!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #3: The Three Me's

Grace Lin's blog post describing a picture book series about characters that look the same but not exactly inspired my story for today: "The Three Me's", about three children who are different from each other in every way, but become friends.

Monday, November 2, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #2: Hello, Mr. Turtle!

My idea for the second day of PiBoIdMo was inspired by this blog post by Josh Funk, who suggests starting with a "bad" or "impossible" idea. My bad idea is a picture book where every illustration is practically the same, and where practically nothing happens, and where practically nothing is said. As I planned to do this month, I've written a complete first draft for it already, and it begins like this:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

PiBoIdMo Day #1: When Night Took a Vacation

It's day #1 of PiBoIdMo, and so far, so good! I came up with a picture book idea and turned it into a complete 569 word first draft.

The idea was inspired by this blog post by Joan Holub that suggested tweaking an existing title as a starting point for something of your own. The title I started with was "Goodnight Moon" and my tweak was "Goodnight Night", and it led to a story I'm calling, "When Night Took a Vacation."