Sunday, October 25, 2015

Day #264: The Joy of Half Baked Ideas

So I've been waiting for the next BRIGHT IDEA to hit me... As I may have mentioned before, writing a picture book is not as easy as you would think. When I first started writing them, I thought to myself, "I could write one a day! After all, they are only 500 to 1500 words. How hard could it be to come up with a dozen each month."

Turns out, it's really hard... For me at least. That is to say, it's not hard to generate a lame picture book, and sometimes it's easy to come up with a mediocre picture book, but writing a GREAT PICTURE BOOK is the opposite of easy.

When I do stumble upon a bright idea, I have to let it settle in my brain for a while. The story idea marinates in my mind. That's what happened with my dinosaur book. I developed an early draft in 2013... I knew that I like the beginning and the end, but the middle was all mushy and messed up. The form wasn't right (at the time the only character who spoke was the bellhop). The draft was half-baked. So I let it cook for a while... And I was never sure that I was ever going to revisit the idea. But about six months later, while attending Eugene Yelchin's lecture at the 2014 SCBWI conference, he said something that made everything click. I suddenly realized the right form, the right structure for the story, and then all of the missing elements soon appeared. The writing process from that point was easy... But only after all of those months of head scratching and paper crumpling.

So, I keep track of my half-baked ideas... Today, I made a list to organize the half-bakers. I thought I just had a few floating around, it turns out I have a total of ten... And, as if by magic, the tenth half baked idea on the list started to rise... It's now fully baked, and it's ready for me to devour. 

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