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On second thought, don’t. It’s a dreary, cloudy, damp day. It’s a good day for cooking soup (I am), sipping lots of hot coffee (I did), reading (does the newspaper count?), and writing (doing that now). It’s also the first day of NaPiBoWriWee, so the drearier it is, the less likely I will be distracted from my task of writing seven picture books (first drafts) in seven days.

National Picture Book Writing Week was initiated in 2009 by Paula Yoo. I participated several times. One time I won one of Paula’s giveaways (a picture book). I don’t remember ever finishing seven first drafts in seven days, but Paula says it’s okay. It’s only important that you write everyday.

I had no intention of participating this year, however, yesterday, when I was reading Paula’s blog and checking out her new NaPiBoWriWee website, I reconsidered.

I think this will be good for me. I have to learn to be a consistent writer anyway. That’s one of my biggest downfalls.

Brainstorming for Fiction

Who will my main characters be this week?

Boys and girls, of course. They can be of any age, size, shape, race, or nationality. They can be pretty or not, they can be smart or not, they can be rich, poor, disabled, athletic, clutsy, or even dead (a ghost character?).

OR my main characters could be animals.

Dogs, cats, mice, and elephants make good main characters. So do giraffes, tigers, guinea pigs, chickens, various bugs, butterflies, ladybugs, birds, pigs, whales, dolphins, fish, crabs, and shrimp. Then there are polar bears, brown bears, maybe even a grizzly bear, squirrels, chipmunks, monkeys, chimpanzees, hamsters, gerbils, lizards, snakes, frogs, and toads. How about worms, water bugs, mosquitos, ticks, and fleas? I’ll consider lions, zebras, horses, ponies, rabbits, groundhogs, prairie dogs, hedgehogs, penguins, seals, walruses, and maybe even plankton, as possible characters.

I guess plants could also be my main characters.

Daisies, roses, trees (including Christmas trees), bushes, wild flowers, poinsettias, tulips, daffodils, carnations, tomato plants, pepper plants, corn, and other vegetable plants. Avocados, pineapples, apple trees, peach trees, blueberry bushes, and many more.

How about inanimate objects?

A house, a car, a train, an airplane, a rock or stone, a chair, a table, a stool, a pencil, and what about a book? (A book about a book? Hmmm. That’s a possibility.) Or maybe Christmas tree ornaments? (I think I already wrote one of those.) Toys would be good characters. Remember Toy Story? Dolls are good, but could be scary, too. Glasses, cups, forks and spoons, pictures and paintings. And food: pizza, spaghetti, salad, bread.

For me, brainstorming of possible characters can go on and on. But before I write, I need to also consider the plot.

Main Character’s Problem or Goal

What happens to my main character in this story that I’m about to write? It should be downright awful but should be something that the character can fix or overcome without adult assistance (even if that’s not probable).

Main characters can be lost, kidnapped (might be too scary), bullied, punished. They can be forced to do chores they don’t want to do, or be confronted with animals or bugs that they are afraid of. They can get in trouble at school or be scapegoated by another troubled character. They can lose something or find something that they can’t or don’t want to give back to the rightful owner. They can worry about an older relative or neighbor, be forced to take care of a sibling, or to stay home alone or travel alone. Main characters can fall, break things, hurt people, or see ghosts!

Write the Story

Brainstorming is fun and gets my creative juices flowing, but it’s time for me to start writing. My goal is to finish the first draft of whatever story I’m going to write by dinner… or at least by midnight.

See you tomorrow!


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