Idea Bouncing and Plotting out Structure with a Pitch!
Saturday was the last day of PiBoIdMo. I feel sad, but I shouldn’t really. I gained so much from this month:
1. 40+ ideas for picture books (and at least 10 good ones.)
2. New ways of brainstorming.
3. New friendships and facebook friends that love writing and picture books as much as I do.
4. The knowledge that forcing yourself to sit down and write and brainstorm actually leads to completed writing and brainstorming. (Imagine that!)
5. And that actually doing it, doesn’t just lead to one idea…but the ideas seem to multiply and I start seeing ideas for picture books everywhere.
6. This awesome butt kicking post by author Kelly Light! Anytime I start feeling like I need a picture book pity party, I’m going to read this post and realize I don’t! http://taralazar.com/2013/11/23/piboidmo-day-23-kelly-light/
So where do we go from here?
Well, I’m going to be writing, writing, writing as much as I can.
Through plotting and idea bouncing. Some people may object to both of these things and have a totally different style of writing. But not me. I whole heartedly believe in both of them.
I have to be an outliner. Because I live my life so unstructured as it is, that if I’m lacking structure in my writing, I tend to wander in circles.
And the best way to plot is if you have someone to bounce ideas off of. Some people may say this is cheating. If someone helps you with the idea, then isn’t it sort of theirs too?
Well think of it this way.
You’ve written a manuscript. And you are sending it to your critique partner. And your critique partner sees lots of things that may need work. Perhaps the structure of your story isn’t there. Perhaps your character is lacking a want. Perhaps the way you wrote it is sending the wrong message.
So she gives you advice on how to fix it.
You do and Boom! It’s better.
Well, what’s the difference between having your critique partner give you suggestions on how to fix a manuscript that is already written, or having her give you suggestions on how to fix the ideas and structure of your manuscript before it is written?
Well, the main difference is time spent on writing. Why not get feedback, right from the start?
I have to say, luckily I found a great critique partner who is willing to do this. And I’m so happy I did. Because I was able to plot out 10 of my ideas so far, with her generous help.
Plotting your picture book with a logline or pitch first
The other thing that is helpful is writing a logline or pitch for your picture book before you even write it.
Loglines are structured. They typically follow a certain format. So if you can make your idea fit into the format, then basically you are setting yourself up for structured success for your picture book.
Here are the basic elements of a character based/ plot driven picture book:
Climax: (Something Changes or Big Happens)
Here is a generic pitch:
Character wants to do something but can’t because there are obstacles. But when something drastic changes or happens, the character is able to do something and solves the problem.
_________________________ wants to _______________________ but can’t because _____________________ .But when _____________________, he/she is able to_________________ and __________ .
Wodney Wat is a rodent with a lisp.
He just wants to blend in and not be picked on anymore but kids always make fun of him at school. But when Camilla Capybara comes to school and threatens all the rodents, he is able to outsmart Camilla in a game of Simon Says, sends her packing, and is never picked on again.
Now obviously there are other types of picture books, for example concept books. But this structure is for a character based, plot driven story.
So if you were like me and only came up with the name of character or a catchy title…try to take those ideas and plug them into a structure.
Then in December you will have several plots to work with and writing that manuscript will seem much easier to tackle.
So here is my challenge to you. Take 5 ideas. And use the document below to see if you can generically force them into 5 different pitches. These pitches don’t have to sound great right now, (worry about fixing them up for when you are submission ready.) For now, just get the basics in. The point is to help you see a full manuscript summarized in two sentences. Once you do that, the writing becomes easier. (Or so I find.)
12/1/2013 07:45:23 pm
thank you for a fabulous organiser
12/1/2013 08:19:44 pm
Love the worksheet. I did something similar for my PiBoIdMo ideas, as a personal goal to give more thought about whether they can be full manuscripts or not.
12/1/2013 10:12:23 pm
THANK YOU! With the proper tools, every job is easier! This worksheet will be a great tool to add to my picture book writing tool kit.:) I'm printing it out and trying it RIGHT NOW!
12/1/2013 10:20:27 pm
You did it again - another amazing Monday with Mandy! You are a walking wealth of information, inspiration, support and fabulous ideas. So happy to be working with you!
12/1/2013 10:25:45 pm
Thanks for the reminder! Loglines are a great tool for sharpening focus, I think. When I can't figure out the pitch, I know I've got problems!
12/1/2013 11:48:36 pm
I love it, I love it! What a great graphic organizer! Thank you for empowering us with our writing.
12/2/2013 12:01:12 am
Mandy, thanks so much for sharing your helpful information! It will be a HUGE help in making our PiBoIdMo idea come to life! I appreciate you posting this and can't wait to try it out!!
12/2/2013 12:08:39 am
Thanks for the document. It's a great tool and reminder that we must have a strong "foundation" for our idea on which to build a great character/plot driven story.
12/2/2013 12:15:30 am
What a great way to start turning our ideas into "real" stories.
12/2/2013 03:12:05 am
Great stuff! Thanks for sharing!!!
12/2/2013 03:35:11 am
Thanks! This is just the structure I need to test out some of my PiBoIdMo ideas!
12/2/2013 03:37:28 am
Thanks! So glad you all found it useful. ;)
12/2/2013 04:19:05 am
Waw Mandy! I'm becoming a fan of yours :) Thank you so much for sharing this post (all your helpful posts) and template.
12/2/2013 05:28:12 am
Thank you for the download on writing your pitch first. Most helpful. :-)
12/2/2013 06:54:28 am
Thank you, Mandy, for pointing me in a new direction for finding story ideas:) The document is greatly appreciated!
Karen Mae Zoccoli
12/3/2013 04:11:14 am
Thank you for this very helpful worksheet and sharing your great ideas!
1/5/2014 02:49:50 am
That is the best children's book writing advice I have ever read. You are amazing and I just wish I had known this twelve years ago. I will never write without your advice on my desk. Thank you.
1/23/2014 02:31:28 am
Thanks for sharing your lovely brain!
2/25/2014 12:34:33 am
Thanks Mandy !
Christa von Zychlin
10/2/2014 10:34:56 pm
Thanks Mandy! These templates help me see just how to shape up some of the flabbies in my current works in progress.
8/17/2015 09:29:27 am
6/9/2016 05:21:39 pm
Thank yo so much for sharing with us.
2/5/2017 03:52:36 am
Always great to learn stuff! ;)
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We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
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1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
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