Its cold and rainy today. I sit in my local coffee shop and will my muse to be kind and give me just a smidgen of inspiration.
I prefer to work in public. I like to people watch. I like to be a part of life as I am creating. It generates ideas for me. Characters walk by, sit down, peer into the window, drive by.
Today, I "attended" the second session in Marsha Diane Arnold's self-paced e-course on "Writing Wonderful Character-Driven Picture Books" (Picture Book Academy). This session focused on "Where to Find Your Great Character." The cool thing is that I felt like I was totally just having coffee with Marsha and she was giving me all of this amazing inside information about where her characters come from. Its a fun feeling. Not many of us have the opportunity to hear such a highly-successful author dish (but in this course, we can be so lucky!)
Marsha's character exploration varies from mine. In fact, I have never really looked closely at where those ideas come from. I know a few have come from NPR stories. Others just pop into my head. But bottom line is that we need to look, listen and watch. If we are lucky, a good character "will come and sit on your shoulders". The key is to be receptive.
And then its our job to write a story about this character. A former teacher of mine used to say your story needed to be about the characters BEST or WORST day. I like that.
Now if you'll excuse me...I am off to write. This little girl just walked in...and I think she is sitting on my shoulders right now.
Visit the Picture Book Academy for more information on "Writing Wonderful Character-Driven Picture Books". Its a self-paced e-course so registration is always open!