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November was an incredibly productive month for me.  I revised a middle grade novel--now it's fully polished and ready to go.  Yay!  I also revised more than eleven picture book manuscripts.  Six are fully polished and ready to go. Double yay!  Plus, I have three that should be ready to sub fairly soon and a few others that are in pretty good shape--the rest are in various stages of revision.  On top of all that, I won the PiBoIdMo challenge (Picture Book Idea Month) and came up with 87 ideas.  Wow--I still can't believe that number!  I honestly didn't think I'd get more than thirty or forty at the beginning of the month.  It's amazing how many ideas you notice once you get used to looking for them!
I absolutely LOVE writing challenges.  It's amazing to see how much I really can do when I keep a goal in mind.  Plus, it's fun to work toward a goal with writing friends.  That's why I was thrilled when Tara Lazar had asked me to write the kick off post for the event, and I can't wait to see how many gems will come out of these ideas!  Thanks for the inspiration Tara, guest bloggers, and participants--I'm grateful for everything you've done to make PiBoIdMo such an incredible, fun, and productive event.  You all rock!

Here are a few tricks that helped me come up with so many ideas:
* I looked for inspiration online, like Jean Reidy suggested.
* When the ideas seemed to slow down a bit, I created characters I'd love to write about, which sparked several of my story ideas.
* I used Tammi Sauer's suggestion to come up with settings and brainstormed what could go wrong in each one.
* I also used the suggestion from Aaron Zenz to come up with story ideas after looking at pictures drawn by kids.   
* I wrote down all the possibilities that hit me.  But I didn't want to have those tiny nuggets sprinkled around my more fleshed out ideas, so I created a section at the bottom of my file for random thoughts.  Some of them are just titles, a funny phrase...anything I think I might be able to use in a future manuscript.  The amazing thing is that I fleshed out many of my random thoughts throughout the month and had to move them into my main file.  I happy danced every time that happened.  The ideas started off so small, I probably would've forgotten about them if I hadn't jotted them down.  For all I know, some of them could end up in bookstores in the next few years! 

Here's the breakdown of my ideas:
41 fleshed out ideas (two of them already have series possibilities jotted down)
44 random thoughts
Two nuggets that could end up in a future picture book or middle grade novel  

What will I do with all these ideas?  I'm going to flesh them out more this month, do some character sketches and interviews, and see which ones scream for my attention the loudest.  Then, I'll be ready to tackle two upcoming writing challenges.  In January, the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge starts--the goal is to write one new manuscript draft a month in 2012. This is a brand new challenge, and I can't wait to see how it goes!  And in May, I'm going to do NaPiBoWriWee again, where I'll write 7 manuscript drafts in 7 days.  If I'm successful with both challenges, I'll have 18 new picture book manuscripts by the end of 2012 to whip into shape.  WOW!  Plus, I'm about to dive into a revision of a middle grade novel that I absolutely love.   

So...who is going to join me in these challenges or participate in other upcoming challenges?
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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Wow, Mindy! What a great month!
Dec. 6th, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Rose! It definitely helped me get over the guilt of missing NaNoWriMo for the first time.
Dec. 6th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
Glad my post was helpful, Mindy!

And I think you've done more in the month of November than I've done in my entire career. :)
Dec. 6th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
Your post was extremely helpful, Tammi! Setting is one thing I always need to think about more in picture books and novels. Characters and dialogue always seem to come alive first for me.

You're one of the most productive authors I know! I'm sure you'll end up selling several amazing new picture books from the ideas you came up with during this challenge...and I can't wait to read them all. :)
Jennifer Rumberger
Dec. 7th, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)
What a great month! I'm with you on the 12 x 12 challenge. Very excited to keep the momentum going from PiBoIdMo.
Dec. 7th, 2011 02:24 am (UTC)
Re: Wow!
Glad you had a great month also, Jennifer. I can't wait for the 12 x 12 challenge! It's going to be such a productive year.

Are you going to dive into any drafts before January, or are you fleshing out your ideas until then, like I am?
Jennifer Rumberger
Dec. 7th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow!
I think I'm going to just keep fleshing out ideas and get organized. And get some reading done for when I start blogging again in January. There's always plenty to do! :)
Dec. 12th, 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
Re: Wow!
That sounds perfect, Jennifer! I wouldn't even know where to start if I didn't take the time to flesh out the ideas first and see which ones beg for attention the most.

Good luck with the 12 x 12 challenge! I can't wait to celebrate your progress throughout 2012.
Dec. 7th, 2011 03:18 am (UTC)
Wow, you had a busy and productive month--hooray! I can't wait to hear your future PiBoIdMo success story!
Dec. 7th, 2011 03:37 am (UTC)
Thanks, Tara. And thank you again for everything you do for us. I hope you were able to get a lot of ideas jotted down while keeping us motivated with all those awesome guest posts, prizes, and an extremely active Facebook group!
Dec. 7th, 2011 03:29 am (UTC)
Your accomplishments in November are amazing, Mindy! Wow.

I, too, am looking forward to 12 x 12! Glad to hear you're in the group as well.

(Just one question. Do you sleep? Because I'm totally in awe of all you did in one month.)

Beth of elizabethannewrites.com
Dec. 7th, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, Beth! And LOL, what's sleep? It's definitely hard to pry myself away from the computer at night.

I can't wait to tackle the 12 x 12 challenge with you in January!
Dec. 7th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
The Next Step...
I will, I will! I'm joining you in the 12x12 challenge...and possibly the NaPiBoWrWe.
87 ideas? Amazing Mindy!
Dec. 12th, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
Re: The Next Step...
Thanks! And yay that you're doing the 12 x 12 and possibly NaPiBoWriWee, too! 18 sounds like a lot of manuscripts, but broken down like that, I bet we'll make our goals.

Dec. 7th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
Still trying to wrap my mind around eighty seven ideas in one month. I didn’t think it was possible to have this many in a year. You’re sizzling, Mindy E.!

Mirka Breen
Dec. 12th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Thanks, Mirka! If the goal was 87, I probably wouldn't have thought it was possible. I'm still amazed at the number of ideas I came up with, and can't wait to see how many manuscripts they'll turn into throughout 2012.

Dec. 7th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
I feel the same way about writing challenges; they're so motivating! Glad you came up with so many potential ideas. I hope they'll blossom into full stories!
Dec. 12th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Thanks, Anna!
Dec. 7th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, those numbers are mind boggling!! Good for you =D
Dec. 8th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
That is so cool, Mindy. Sounds like your synapses were crackling!
Dec. 12th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
Thanks, Karen. It's amazing how we can train our minds to be more open to the ideas around us. I've noticed that I've only had a few ideas since the challenge ended. I wonder how many of these ideas would never exist without this challenge!
Dec. 16th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
I see you're still the Energizer Bunny of Writing!! Congratulations on 87 book ideas, Mindy!! What I find amazing is that you have 41 of your ideas fleshed out!

I didn't do nearly as well as you did... I ended up with 80 ideas and even put a few of them into rough drafts. I am signed up for the 12x12 Picture Book Writing Challenge and in May I hope to do NaPiBoWriWee again... so I'll see you there!!
Dec. 31st, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Hmm...I'm guessing this is Sharon because of the Energizer Bunny of Writing comment. Thanks so much for the congrats!

And it sounds like you did amazing. 80 ideas is incredible, and you have some rough drafts, too! You are going to have such an awesome 2012...and I can't wait to hear about all the great manuscripts that spring to life during the upcoming challenges!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )


Mindy's head shot
Mindy Alyse Weiss
I write humorous middle-grade novels with heart and quirky picture books.

I'm an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, the FL SCBWI Newsletter Editor and Critique Group Coordinator, and a proud member of From The Mixed Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors

I've been married for twenty years and have two beautiful daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix pup who was rescued from the Everglades.

I've been published in Highlights three times and placed in the 80th Writer's Digest Competition.


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