Childish Nonsense

Exploring Children's Literature

First Days of PiBoIdMo

on November 4, 2012

PiBo is about ideas. Since I have been writing more seriously and feel comfortable telling people that’s what I do, most people comment that they have a great idea for a book and would I like to hear it? Usually, I summon all my patience and listen. Then forget what they said. My real reaction is, “Good for you. Put it to paper.”

For one thing, ideas are very personal. Unless I feel passionate about an idea, it’s not likely to evolve into much of a book. For another thing, I don’t really lack for ideas. Ideas are everywhere. Sometimes my brain hurts from all the ideas in there. Please don’t add to the clutter or I’ll never get anything out of there again. But, again, will I be able to make them into a book? And, if so, is it a picture book?

So, where do workable ideas come from? I tend to write short, which means that I pack a whole lot into a very few pages. Most of the serious writing I’ve done is for middle graders. People who read what I’ve written very often say they want to know more about some topic I’ve approached. For that reason, I feel very comfortable cannibalizing my own work.

Other great sources are the newspaper and magazines. Even if I weren’t writing a lot of nonfiction, there are some great stories in the news. You can’t make this stuff up.

Another source is observation. Sit in a McDonald’s somewhere and play the what if game. The imagination runs wild.

Old stories are some of the best sources. Aesop, Mother Goose, etc. There is a theory there are no new stories. But there are new story tellers.

Even though the idea is the goal, I want to make sure each idea is workable, so I spent some time mulling over idea, how I would approach it, the kind of research I need to do, and things like possible character names.

Thurs. Nov. 1 – Starting with the newspaper. An article about a nearly extinct toad species.

Fri. Nov. 2  – Newspaper article about communicating with Mars rover.

Sat. Nov. 3 – Inspired by my brother’s efforts to help those in grief, children among them.

One other thing: I view this as a marathon, not a sprint. I want to give each idea at least a full day’s thought so that maybe it will become a book.  That being said, I do admire those who had thirty ideas on the very first day. You work this the way you need to.

On to idea four.

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4 responses to “First Days of PiBoIdMo

  1. It’s amazing the number of stories inspired by newspaper articles–and not all of them are by Carl Hiaasen!

    • Sue Poduska says:

      Yes, it is amazing. Goes right along with paying attention to the world around us. Hope you’re doing well, Ellen.

  2. ediehemingway says:

    Good luck with your month of idea building, Sue. I know you’ll come up with some winners!

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