Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Character/Setting Mash-Up

Week of June 24, 2012—Reflections from SCBWI, Orlando
Wednesday, June 27, 2012—An Idea-gathering Graphic Organizer

Another of our presenters in the Picture Book Track at SCBWI Orlando was Tammi Sauer. If you’ve never heard Tammi in person, you’ve missed a real treat. Now I have to be honest, there’s no way I can do justice to Tammi’s presentation in Orlando (which was an A to Z list about making great picture books). So, you’re going to have to watch for future conferences where you can go and hear Tammi for yourself. (When you do, be prepared to smile and laugh a lot, and take all your Tammi Sauer books for autographs—I think Tammi got writer’s cramp from signing my book collection!)

In a break-out session, Tammi helped picture book authors generate ideas for picture books. When I came home I was inspired to create a couple of graphic organizers to help me continue doing what I learned. A graphic organizer is a simple way of visually organizing your thoughts and ideas. Today’s graphic organizer is a CHARACTER/SETTING MASH-UP.

 How to use the Character/Setting Mash-Up:
R Across the top of the sheet, list intriguing characters who could live in picture books—shark, cowboy, robot, hamster, tight-rope walker, and so on.
R Going down the left-hand side of the sheet, list interesting settings where a picture book story could take place—zoo, school cafeteria, dentist’s office, ski slope, and so on.
R Then MASH-UP your ideas. What would happen to a cowboy on a ski slope? How could a robot and a dentist office be combined? (NOTE: Not every combination will be inspiring, but push the limits as much as possible.)
R Now choose your favorite MASH-UP and plot out that picture book!

This process has already inspired several ideas and a couple of fun first-drafts for me. Let me know what great ideas you discover!

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