Monday, 18 January 2016

Ask a Picture Book Editor

Harnessing Your Creativity

January is the time for clean starts, new writing journals and starting fresh endeavours. But what to write? 

This month’s blog is all about creative ways to get creative with your writing. Here you’ll find ten tip-top techniques you can use as a springboard to channel the story ideas that are lurking inside your head. 

NB - don’t forget the brain often works best under an amount of time pressure so set yourself a 10-15 minute window to try each of the techniques below. 









Pick a word (like spoon for instance) at random and then plot out the series of free- flowing/stream of consciousness word associations that come with it. 






Step 1 - Pick a name 
Step 2 - Create their character 
Step 3 - Think about what they like  . . .
Step 4 - And what they don’t like  . . .
Step 5 - Something silly/naughty/funny they’ve done 
Step 6 - Start to plot your outline 






Step 1 - Take three bags 
Step 2 - Into the first bag put 5 names 
Step 3 - In the second bag place 5 objects 
Step 4 - In the third bag place 5 places 

Step 5 - Pick one slip of paper from each bag 
Step 6 - And start to formulate your story. 
<How about something like: Prunella was a real little monster. She was rude, mean and nasty - just how all little monsters should be. And the thing she loved most in the world was Snotrag, her crusty, grubby teddy. So when, one fateful day, Prunella was rowing across the stream and she dropped Snotrag in the crystal clear waters she was bereft! "Oh, no, he'll come out nice and clean," she wailed! . . . >





Sometimes you might have: 
- a catchy title 
- a line of speech 
- a rhyming couplet 
- a character’s name or a quirky scenario 
buzzing about inside your head. 
Write it down and challenge yourself to think the narrative and storyline through. 






Sometimes a simple change of scenery can do wonders for the creative spirit. If you find your self banging your head against your desk, pick yourself up and take a walk. Use the change in your environment to spark new trains of thought. Use things you spot along the way, like:
- a song someone’s singing 
- the bobbly hat bobbing up and down behind the hedge
- the lonely glove lying on the pavement
to start building and weaving in your head. 






The domestic setting is the perfect place to start formulating a story. Take a look at the houses below, think of the sort of person that might live in one of these houses. Think about what sort of adventures they might have, what sort of mischief and mayhem or friendships and relationships might be built inside these four walls.
(Click on the image to see a large version)







Take yourself off to a bookshop or library and immerse yourself in well-written and well-crafted picture books; there’s often nothing more inspiring than feeling like you’re in the presence of creativity. 
Join an SCBWI critique group - having a regular meeting time to share ideas with critique partners can help you to spark your creativity, learn new skills, sense-check your writing and brainstorm when you are stuck.







Children often have a really refreshing way of looking at the world and can bring fresh perspectives, invent silly scenarios or give satisfying solutions to story ideas that need a bit of fleshing out or an innovative twist. Look at the world with their sense of wonder.w






Well, sort of! One of the very best ways to make sure that the basis for your idea is going to be pertinent to your readership is to find out what topics are being covered at the very earliest stages of schooling. You can use these topics as a springboard for the themes and subjects you cover in your story. You can find a comprehensive guide to the key stage 1 subjects here: http://ccea.org.uk/curriculum/key_stage_1_2 






Write a list of fifty or so random nouns and adjectives mixed up in two columns. Randomly choose two and put them together to see what kind of story or character ideas they might spark. For instance: sugar book, ice alien, jigsaw king, baby giant, glass mountain, plant pirate . . .  

Chocolate tug-of-war  . . .

Try doodling it if you can!


Happy creating!




1 comment:

  1. Writing is a best way to convey ideas to edit sentences. To correct sentence online you just need perfect platform.

    ReplyDelete

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