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Good idea?

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This may seem like a silly question. How do you know if you have a good idea for a children's book? I think I am doing this backwards. I have a character (I'm an artist) and wanted the character to be in a story.  The stories come really easy to me.  My goal is to have 3 basic stories written by March. Arbitrary, I know. I have 2 written and am working on the third. The third is my favorite. I can't tell if its a great idea or just about the stupidest thing! Who do you run your ideas by?  Mind you, I am just learning all this. I won't illustrate all 3 stories, and probably won't submit all three, but I'm curious how one knows if they have a decent story.
#1 - January 13, 2019, 11:20 AM

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Hi Lisa,

Read a ton of books that are "similar" to yours in tone and style.  Then read yours aloud and see how it stacks up.

Also, find some critique partners to swap manuscripts with! You will learn both from critiquing others' work and from what advice they have for your work.

Good luck! And keep writing! You learn from each manuscript you write.
#2 - January 13, 2019, 12:15 PM
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Lisa, a lot of times I don't know if an idea is good until I actually work on it. Execution is everything. I have lots of stories that I've developed and abandoned because they didn't feel very special after all. And there are stories that I've worked and worked at and will not let go of me. And some of them have sold eventually.

Dinalapomy's advice is excellent. A critique group or a trusted reader is invaluable. Happy :writing3 and :paint
#3 - January 13, 2019, 06:38 PM
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Dina has given you some great advice. Sometimes I'll let an idea sit for a while. If it still sounds good after a few months or if I can't stop thinking about it, I have to write it whether or not it turns out good. Dummying out a story also helps. (A dummy is a mock up of the book with text and stick figures or illustration notes. It helps you see whether the story fits the format.) A good idea in the wrong format won't sell.

A good idea isn't a good book. Ideas are a dime a dozen, even good ones. Often it's the specific choices in text and illustrations that make an idea worthy enough for others to love it. You can't really judge based on the idea alone. It's all in the execution. This is where those critique partners come in. It's very hard to objectively evaluate yourself.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
#4 - January 13, 2019, 09:05 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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Hi Lisa,
All of the above advice is excellent. And if you'd like a little more, I wrote a blog post about this very topic a few years ago ... but it's still relevant.
https://jeanreidy.com/2013/09/does-your-picture-book-premise-have-power/
Good luck with your stories!
 :goodluck
Jean
#5 - January 14, 2019, 11:57 AM
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What everyone said^ :yup plus adding that great stories begin with a great character. Go for it!  :horse2
#6 - January 14, 2019, 04:30 PM
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If it still sounds good after a few months or if I can't stop thinking about it, I have to write it whether or not it turns out good.

I agree 100% with this comment! I've written out SO many stories, some worth pursuing, some very clearly not developed enough to go very far. But the interesting thing about his industry is that an idea that seemed to go nowhere several years ago suddenly gains traction after something inspires you to go back to it.

Good luck with your projects!
#7 - January 14, 2019, 06:05 PM

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