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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => The Craft of Writing => Topic started by: darshana on September 25, 2013, 01:51 PM

Title: Trying to find the storyline for a picture book
Post by: darshana on September 25, 2013, 01:51 PM
For the past two weeks I have known that I want my next picture book story to be wordless and something about bubbles. However, everytime I try to come up with a storyline I come up with a slightly different idea (changes to # of characters, age of the characters, plotline, theme, tone). Sadly I am not happy with any of my attempts. I have never had this experience before. I know there is a story in there, any tips/exercises on how to find it? For my latest attempt I tried to storyboard it out.

Also anyone know of resources or posts on how to "write" a wordless picture book. I am an author only. I have already reviewed Linda Ashman's site which is helpful.

Thanks,
Darshana
Title: Re: Trying to find the storyline for a picture book
Post by: Alison A on September 25, 2013, 03:13 PM
A wordless PB is a great creative challenge for a non-illustrator and I think bubbles are a fun idea for this kind of book.

Sounds like it's time for a bubble bath. Or several. Or get outside and blow bubbles. Try some fun playtime with bubbles and see if that helps inspire a natural story. And in regards to "time"—allow yourself breathing and thinking time for this story come to you. You might also work on something completely new and then return to bubbles with a fresh new perspective.

Also, instead of storyboarding, have you tried writing the story first using words? It's easier (for me) to trim away words once I have a firm story on the page.
Title: Re: Trying to find the storyline for a picture book
Post by: darshana on September 25, 2013, 03:24 PM
Thanks Alison. I have been mining my 5&7 daughters minds on what they would do with bubbles. I have thought about trying to write it out with words. Hard for me as I don't like "wasting" time on something that isn't part of the final output. But I am trying to fix that thinking.  Writing first drafts is the hardest phase for me.
Title: Re: Trying to find the storyline for a picture book
Post by: Sue G. on September 25, 2013, 04:02 PM
Darshana,
A wordless picture book on the theme of bubbles sounds like a wonderful idea! I wish you well with it!

I wanted to share an idea on the topic of bubbles that happened last week at my school.   A kindergarten student was feeling frustrated when he couldn't get his drawing just the way he wanted it.  Our guidance counselor invited him to blow bubbles using the bubble wand as a way of calming down and letting out his frustration. It was a wonderful way for this child to calm himself - and he enjoyed popping the bubbles, too! When he finished with the bubbles, he was smiling and ready to try his drawing again - and he was very happy with what he drew!

Good luck,
Sue
Title: Re: Trying to find the storyline for a picture book
Post by: darshana on September 25, 2013, 04:16 PM
Thank you Sue for sharing that sweet story.
Maybe I need to just go play with bubbles.   :yup
Title: Re: Trying to find the storyline for a picture book
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on October 28, 2013, 10:30 AM
Take the pressure off of yourself. If you're seeking perfection the first time out, you're setting yourself up to fail. Writing takes practice like every other worthwhile skill. Each draft is practice. Start with the training wheels on.

Do you have all of your ideas written down? If so, look them over again. Take the top two or three. Play with them. Play with bubbles. Read bubble poems. Immerse yourself in bubble culture.

Read a slew of wordless picture books too. Look at how they are structured. What drives the narrative forward? How did the author get kids to want to turn the page.

Now, you can take those trainers off. Think about conflict. What will drive your story forward? Outline the plot and fill in images to go with the outline. Or consider the characters. Who are they and how do they drive the story? Fill in images to show the actions and reactions of the characters.

Once you've done that, you'll need to select your best work and revise. Then find some riding buddies for critiques. Before you know it, you'll be cruising around the block. At that point, you need to look for that perfection, but keep in mind that all riders fall sometimes.

Good luck.

Title: Re: Trying to find the storyline for a picture book
Post by: darshana on October 28, 2013, 11:16 AM
Thanks Debbie. Good advice.
I did write my ideas and read a slew of wordless books. Even came up with several partial plotlines and various characters. unfortunately nothing was "clicking". I have decided to take a step back from this project and work on finding another PB story to write. Some strong possibilities coming up with PiBoIdMo around the corner.
Title: Re: Trying to find the storyline for a picture book
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on November 04, 2013, 08:52 AM
Sometimes a break is the best thing.