Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Find What Moves You (and Makes You Chuckle)

Week of December 4—What Do I Do With All These Ideas?!
Wednesday, December 7—Find What Moves You (and Makes You Chuckle)

When I interviewed Diane Muldrow, editorial director at Golden Books/Random House, she said every picture book manuscript she acquires “has to have something—maybe it’s a strong and appealing character, maybe it’s a timeless message brought to life in a wonderful or fresh way . . . the main thing is that, as I said above, it has to make us feel something, it has to make us think about something after we put the book away.”

It has to make us feel something . . . hmmmm. If the goal of a picture book is to make readers and listeners feel something, then that manuscript has to make an editor feel something before acquiring it. If the editor who acquires it has to feel something, chances are an agent had to feel something. And before an agent could feel something, critique group members had to feel something. And, of course, before critique group members could feel something about a picture book manuscript, the author had to feel something.

Today is a subjective today. It’s a day to base on your decisions on your feelings. (Okay, maybe not all your decisions, but your decisions about your writing ideas.) Forget everything that went into gathering those ideas for PiBoIdMo. Imagine that you are seeing your circled and starred writing ideas (your favorite, unique ideas that had a problem to solve) for the very first time. Judge each idea based on the following:

1.      Does it make me feel something?
2.      Does it make me think or wonder?
3.      Does it make me giggle, chuckle, or laugh aloud?
4.      Does it make me say, “Ahhhhhh”?

Some of the things I said when I looked through my top picks were:
·        That’s cute.
·        That still seems funny to me.
·        I think that’s unique and special.
·        That is so silly . . . . I love it.
·        I’ve never seen anything like that.

I placed a second star on the cards for these ideas. From my 43 original idea cards, I now have seven favorite ideas, and from my 21 title cards I’m down to one favorite. These eight ideas are my top picks to begin planning and drafting. Eight is certainly easier to focus on than 64!

Which of your ideas moves you? Which make you feel something? Which make you chuckle? Which give you goose bumps? Which make you wonder and imagine, think and question? These are your top picks, my friend.


Lisa J. Michaels said...

Thanks for posting this Rob, it made me feel a couple of things . . . like maybe I need to finally do some rewrites, and maybe I'm just a tiny bit jealous that you had SIXTY-FREAKIN'-FOUR ideas!!!!

Rob Sanders said...

You crack me up, Lisa! Did you do PiBoIdMo? Most participants ended up with 30-40+ ideas . . . it was a great experience!