Once upon a time there was a picture book fanatic. As a writer, I wonder if you can relate. I write all day as part of my communications job, and then I write a bit more when my kids go to bed. Essays, articles, that YA novel I’m plucking away at, but there’s just something about writing stories for children that just draws me in.
If my daughter mentions something funny, for example, the other day we were talking about the different types of summer camps kids can go to. She mentioned “underpants summer camp.” I immediately think, hey that’s a great idea for a story! I’ll spend most of the night coming up with a plot in my head, most of the next day testing it out on my kids, and if we love it, it becomes one of those written stories I hope to send off to be published and shared with others one day.
Maybe it’s the imagination that goes into writing picture books, a break from the adult world I typically write about. There’s just something so freeing and rewarding about writing a plot that is flexible, where anything can happen and in the most silliest way. To be able to write about anything, but also have the challenge of flushing out all the funny little details too.
Picture books are also the first books children fall in love with. I was lucky enough to have my parents save some of my most treasured picture books like But No Elephants. As a child, I remember feeling deep sorrow for the elephant left out in the cold, and still a few pangs as I read it now to my children almost every night. If I could write a story that my children can connect with and feel fond of their whole lives, I think that would be the biggest reward of my writing career.
I haven’t queried any picture books since my first. You can read about that in my recent post: The story of how my picture book was (almost) published. But the stack is starting to teeter, so stay tuned.
Haikus, crime novels, comic books – I’d love to hear what you guys love writing about. Drop me a comment below.