Storystorm Follow-up

If you read my last post, you know that Storystorm is a picture book idea challenge that takes place every January and that I pledged to participate this year. (If you didn’t read the post, now you know.)

I am happy to report that I completed the Storystorm challenge this year and it was easier than last year. More importantly, since January, I have written four picture book manuscripts. Two ideas came during Storystorming and two did not.

Are the manuscripts any good? Surprisingly, I believe they are. They were a blast to write, and as an added bonus, I enjoy them all over again each time I go through to edit.

Also, since January, I have read many many more picture books, discovered a new favorite author, and found a new picture book critique partner. She is an awesome author/illustrator and is encouraging me to develop artistic abilities as well as my writing. (Check out her art.)

I think it’s safe to say that picture book writing is a solid part of my career aspirations. And perhaps one day I will even be able to illustrate my own work.

Today’s Book Recommendation:

Circle by Mac Barnett

Storystorm 2019


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) bridged my dream with an actual, attainable goal. Writing a complete manuscript gave me the courage and confidence to believe that I was a writer and that I could become an author if I learned the business and trained hard enough.

While working as a librarian, I discovered the fantastic world of modern picture books and became enamored with the complexity of seemingly simple language and art. Mo Willems especially impressed me. I read his books out loud on a regular basis. If there happens to be a kid present, all the better.

Excerpt from We Are in a Book by Mo Willems

Other picture books had a similar effect on me:

Do Not Open This Book

Do Not Open This Book by Andy Lee, illus. by Heath McKenzie

Hooway for Wodney Wat by [Lester, Helen]

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, illus. by Lynn Munsinger

The Monstore

The Monstore by Tara Lazar, illus. by James Burks

I found myself wishing I had the talent to write and illustrate funny, expressive books like the ones I loved. Eventually it occurred to me that the talent these authors had was the same kind of magic I admired in my favorite novelists, and I’d been working on developing that talent for years. I could learn to write picture books, too.

So, I started my research into how to write picture books and soon came across Tara Lazar’s Storystorm. I registered last year and soon had over thirty ideas to play with over the year. Of those ideas, I wrote three picture books. They weren’t anywhere close to the quality I was aiming for, but they were fun, and each one was better than the last.

Last month, I had two new ideas that hit me in the way my novels have, and I know that I will see them through to the end. I’m excited for Storystorm 2019 and the fresh ideas it will bring.