Remember that PiBoIdMo adventure I posted about recently? I love it because it gives me permission to throw ideas out there without mental-censoring. And the posts Tara Lazar has lined up by creative people are always inspiring. Today's post, however, did more than inspire. It shifted my thinking on a point that has stuck in my throat since I started writing picture books:
"You must leave room for the illustrator" <finger wagging>
In picture book writing speak, this means that we don't need to AND SHOULD NOT write in details (such as "the cinnamon-haired girl with the polka dot dress") that can be illustrated. The marriage of art and words are what make a picture book effective. I understand this cerebrally, but have secretly rebeled because who knows my story better than I? Despite my appreciation -- okay, slathering jealousy -- of artists, I've always felt the story started with me and my direction is the right direction so maybe I can and should sneak in few sign posts along the way.
But the amazing artist, Floyd Cooper wrote today about his Muse and how he lost and found it again. He said he is most inspired by, "a text that sings, that embraces my imagination and injects it with energy." That makes sense to me, but when he said,
"Good story inspires great art."
I finally Got It. It isn't about leaving room for the illustrator. It's about writing story good enough to inspire great art. My throat (and intention) is now clear and I'm looking forward to seeing how this impacts my writing. How about you?
Once again, I'm excited to participate in Tara Lazar's Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) extravaganza that kicks off November 1st. She's pulled together an amazing cast of inspiring people in the world of children's books and I can't wait to start my next 30 days with their insights. Plus, during PiBoIdMo I give myself permission to collect at least 30 off-the-wall-and-who-cares-if-they'll-sell ideas. It's all about the "ideas" -- not the execution -- and that is just plain fun. So thanks, Tara, for pulling this together.
BTW, watch for a Mentorship interview with Tara coming soon!
If you are a picture book writer or illustrator, I sure hope you will consider participating in Tara Lazar's extravaganzic Picture Book Idea Month. She'll have guest posts from some of the industries best thinkers, opportunities for prizes (including critiques from stellar agents), and a community-wide buzz. Go here to learn more.
Tara Lazar announced that Picture Book Idea Month is beginning soon -- and you won't want to miss this party. I've never met Tara personally, but after following her blog for a while, I feel I know her quirky little self just a bit. I'm sure the month is going to be filled with helpful guest posts and motivational information. She provides a short list of how to participate on her site here. You know my motto already: Jump in! You'll be glad you did.
Carrie Pearson is a children's book author and creator-cheerleader.