Thursday, February 3, 2011

February 3rd -- Day Three

Here’s a tip from my previous Picture Book Marathon.  As soon as I finished my daily story, I generated three story ideas for the next day.  Usually I had at least two carryover ideas, so I only had to create one new idea.  Thankfully these story-prompts reduced my dreaded gazing-at-the-blank-page time the next day. 

If you’ve done a previous marathon or the PiBoIdMo, what tips do you have to share with the first-time runners?  What worked in the past?  What dangerous pitfalls or detours confronted you, and how did you steer around them?

Two “housekeeping” items:

If you are blogging about the PB Marathon and you want your link included, be sure to read yesterday’s email and respond.  (Some illustrators are creating cover illustrations DAILY to go along with their PBs.  AMAZING and unfathomable, speaking for myself!)

On Saturday we will email how to submit the tally of your PBs from the first week.  We’re tracking numbers, not hours.  

Happy writing!

--Lora Koehler and Jean Reagan


  1. During my last picture book marathon, when I was stuck I found ideas from searching for "funny things kids say." Sometimes I could use a quote as a jumping-off point for a story. Even when I couldn't use a quote for a story idea, reading them got me back in touch with kids' perspectives.

    This year I'm learning that a fussy baby and a picture book marathon DO NOT get along. Anyone have any tips for writing with a baby?

    I have a blog about writing, but not necessarily about the picture book marathon. Still, I would hope it provides inspiration. Check it out!

  2. Here is an idea for coming up with stories: write down funny words and also names in different categories (animals, people, nature, kitchen tools etc) on small pieces of paper. Place them in a jar and pick three each morning to get you started. Never know what will come up.

  3. It's funny Beth posted that suggestion today, because that's exactly what I did before reading her comment! In searching for an idea, I stumbled across a file on my computer where I've saved funny things my own kids have said over the years. One jumped out at me right away as what I wanted to write about. So, day 3 is DONE! =D

  4. If your baby sleeps in the car, maybe you could try going and writing on the bus....just a thought. :)

  5. Good idea to generate 3 short ideas for the following day; I like it. I'm going to put that into practise. My daughter loves birds so birds led my story of today.

  6. my best PB ideas seem to come when I lay down at night. That's probably why it takes me so long to fall asleep. But I keep my iphone by my bed so I can quickly take a note (then it emails the note to me automatically). If I don't write it down, I lay there worrying I'll forget the idea.

    Here's my post for today...

  7. A line for tomorrow's book just jumped into my head, so I had to write it down. Feels like I'm cheating! But if I don't, I'm sure to forget it completely. Stopping there... until tomorrow! :)

  8. Thanks, Lora. Good thought. I'll give it a try. Why not?

  9. All wonderful ideas, and I especially LOVE Louise Catherine's idea to put the paper slips in the Jar. I've used the same idea in my writing column for Writer's Journal (Massaging the Muse), although I use a fishbowl and call it "Fishing for Ideas" LOL.
    Here's my blogpost for today, in which I share my personal tip for when a Marathon or anything feels or becomes overwhelming...

  10. I go to Google imgages & type in topics that I think might produce some images that could spur me on, such as

    cartoon alligators

    messy cookies


    Many thanks for this.

  11. dear Beth,
    I wrote a poetry chapbook with a baby. I know you've heard this, but embrace it: the best tip for writing with an infant, newborn or otherwise, can be summed up in one glorious, maddening word:

  12. My best ideas come from things I'm struggling with in my life. For example, this week I had to speak up at work and it made me nervous and was hard, but really good for me in the end. So, my story that day was about a kid learning how to speak up for himself.

    Or I take ideas from what I'm doing. Taking a bath? Write a story about taking baths!

    Or I pay attention to the kids around me and use something they've done to start a story. The other day my little friend Ella told a big lie and that gave me a great story idea!