It All Adds Up!
We all are always looking for that next great picture book concept. Sometimes we just need a new tool to inspire us. Below you’ll find my latest brainstorming tool. I thought you might want to give it a whirl.
The process is simple. First, brainstorm as many characters as possible for each letter of the alphabet. For instance, for the letter B—ballerina, baboon, bat, baseball boy, bicycle, balloon, boa constrictor. Nothing is too wild or crazy or silly when you’re brainstorming. Don’t stop to worry about how you would plot out or write a story about a particular character, just let the ideas flow and jot them down. Continue with each letter of the alphabet.
Then follow the same process for the problems characters might face in a picture book story. Again, nothing is off limits when brainstorming. For instance for the letter H—chased by a hippo, hide-and-seek, Help Wanted sign, hiccups, first haircut, helium-filled balloons floating away.
Now the fun begins. Mix and match your characters and problems. Perhaps you have a baboon going for his first haircut, a ballerina with hiccups, or a baseball-playing boy who’s caught up in a game of hide-and-seek on the baseball field. No combination is too wild when you’re brainstorming. Any character can be added to any problem.
Finally, see what ideas inspire you. Obviously not every combination will work. The best ideas will most often be the ones you can’t get out of your mind, or the ones that seem to play through your mind like a movie. When that happens, get to your keyboard and start writing!