Picture Book Idea Month, Proclamations, and Florence Parry Heide

Elizabeth Bluemle -- October 27th, 2011

Picture book writers, start your engines! Next month, when all the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) enthusiasts are sweating over their keyboards to produce 50,000 words in 30 days, you, too, can suffer for your art. It’s time for the third official season of writer Tara Lazar’s brain child: Picture Book Idea Month, or PiBoIdMo (which my brain always converts to Pie-BOLD-mo, which then becomes piebald mo, which, oh, never mind).

I’ll quote snippets from her website to whet your appetites:

Do you think you can meet the PiBoIdMo challenge and create 30 new picture book ideas in 30 days? Well then, sign up [link added by ShelfTalker] for all the craziness!  The concept is to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript. The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas and your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass. By the end of the month, you’ll have a file of ideas to help inspire you throughout the year. Those who sign up for Picture Book Idea Month will be eligible for prizes—and oh, are there prizes this year! Signed books, picture book critiques, original art by picture book illustrators, book jewelry, hand-made journals, vintage children’s books, and feedback from one of three literary agents.

There’s a terrific list of guest bloggers who will be inspiring participants throughout the month.

PiBoIdMo and NaNoWriMo and similar endeavors are delightful and energizing. I think they can help focus and sustain those elusive pinpoints of brilliance and inspiration that creative people live for, and help get procrastinating and/or perfectionist writers our of their own heads and back to work. My writer friend Freeman Ng has a marvelous blog called Haiku Diem, in which he creates a new haiku each day; this project is now going into its second year. That’s inspiring. And my artist friend Kevan Atteberry has been creating a Monster a Day all month long, and delighting his pals on Facebook with them.

What I like about PiBoIdMo is that it’s customizable: you can nudge it to suit your needs. Perhaps you want to draft one perfect sentence every day (too ambitious? one sentence that makes you laugh out loud, then, perhaps), or create a new character sketch every day.

If you do participate in PiBoIdMo, consider doing so with a nod to this week’s wonderful Proclamation from a group of picture book writers and illustrators exhorting a more widely supported return to high standards, innovation, and excellence in our craft.

And do so with a warm, appreciative thought for that most innovative, excellent, original and untamed picture-book author, Florence Parry Heide, whose genius mind brought us, among many other titles, the marvelous The Shrinking of Treehorn, illustrated by Edward Gorey. We were very sorry to hear that Ms. Heide passed away this week (the Washington Post has a nice, if brief, write-up here) at the age of 92. She was a writer of economy and sharp wit, and we would all do well to aspire to even a little of her inventive spark.

So, come on, folks, get ready, get set, and…. GO!

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