Picture Book Prompt 8

“Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings.
—Hodding Carter

What do you think roots look like for children? What do you think wings look like? What might they look like, practically and concretely in the life of a child?

Write about it!

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Picture Book Prompt 7

“Good writers borrow, great writers steal.”
—T.S. Eliot

Stealing in this context could be using a theme, idea, structure, rhythm.

Here’s one way to ‘steal.’

Choose a line from a picture book you love and use it in your own story.

Later you can—and maybe should—change the sentence. But for now use it as a jumping off point for your own story.

Here’s one to start you off:

“You’re a big boy now,” Granny says. “Time for you to learn.”

—From Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham (Illustrated by C. G. Esperanza)

What is your protagonist ready to learn?

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Picture Book Prompt 6

“My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”
—Anaïs Nin

You need a way to capture your ideas before they disappear.

Like dreams, it might seem as though you’ll never forget your ideas. But you will.

A notebook is a great way of doing this, but you also need a list. A simple list that you can scan when you’re looking for inspiration, a place where all possibilities hang out together. Keep a list of all your picture-book ideas. Either in a document on your computer or a notebook.

When you’re stuck, or not sure what to write about, pull up your list and pick an idea that appeals to you. These are seeds. Water them by writing a draft.

Start now by making a list of all the ideas you have—or have had—for picture books.
Just a list. You’re not developing them. You’re just jotting down a sentence or two. Enough to remind yourself of what they are—along with the date on which you had the idea.

Add to the list when you have a new idea.

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Picture Book Prompt 5

“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. . . . Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.”
—Christopher Isherwood

Be a camera.

It’s easy to get into the habit of not seeing. As a writer it’s important to notice small details, and to be alert to the possibilities of stories. Go somewhere, or stay somewhere, and notice, passively, carefully, everything that is in your environment. Describe it all. No commentary, no interpreting, just noticing and recording. Later you can return to the description and mine it for stories or experiences.

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