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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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Comments

mindyalyse
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!

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mindyalyse
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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