Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Children as Inspiration: Why I'll Never Run Out of Picture Book Ideas

A few weeks ago a suggestion came from one of my online writing groups that if you ever need a fresh idea for a new story, simply go ask your kids.

Well, I have a very imaginative three year-old, and decided to test this theory out and see what would happen.  Just before I tucked my daughter into bed, I asked, "What should Mommy write about next?"

"Two Elizabeths."  She smiled.  The answer had taken a split second.  I must have had a confused look on my face, because she immediately followed up with an explanation.  "I mean, Mom, what if there were two girls with the same name!"

And the ideas began to form.  I kissed her goodnight and ran to the computer.  It was time to write the story of two girls named Elizabeth.

As often happens with writing, the final product frequently looks much different than the original intention.  After producing a 15-stanza fairytale picture book about twin princesses named Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II, though, I was delighted at the result.

And the next day, when I read the "un-fairytale" of two royal sisters who prefered sardines instead of eggs and toast and playing in the mud rather than performing courtly duties, my daughter was also delighted.

It seemed that others in my critique group enjoyed the piece as well, as the edits were pretty minimal and the comments overwhelmingly in favor of the piece.

Now, will the publishers be delighted?  Only time will tell...

But while I'm waiting for a response, I've got quite a list of crazy story starters to keep me occupied–all courtesy of my little girl's glorious brain!

1 comment:

Kristi Faith said...

I'm also lucky that I have two girls that play pretend constantly. And I mean...Constantly. :0) I'm always hearing bits and pieces of made up conversation or setting or characters. LOL

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