Tag Archives: PBM

Picture Book Marathon 2012

9 Feb

“BANG!” Equestrian bodies hurl past the open gates. Hooves pound the dirt below. The race is on!

For the past two years I’ve participated in the Picture Book Marathon and am proud to say that each time I came out a winner with 26 new picture book drafts.

This year is a little different. Instead of charging out of the gate, I haven’t moved an inch. Ever see a cartoon where one of the horses lazily stays in its pen. That’s me. I keep waiting for the jockey to whip my behind. Though I need to realize that if I’m going to finish this race it’s up to me and me alone.

It’s already well into the second week with 20 days left to pen the 26 required drafts.

Can I do it? Of course.

Will I? Well that’s the question I shouldn’t be pondering. It’s just like those wide receivers in the NFL that look ahead to the endzone before focusing on the catch at hand. What happens? They end up dropping the ball. Someone I love dearly once told me that starting is 50%. In any goal we wish to undertake, the focus shouldn’t be on whether or not we can finish, but rather that we started. I’ve never sat on the other side of an interview, but a resume full of half endeavours looks more promising than a blank one.

Recently, I’ve had some people astounded by the task at hand saying that 26 drafts is just impossible. Quite the contrary, I find it easy to generate new ideas. The hard part comes later with dissecting the raw draft into a marketable manuscript, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

By the end of February I hope you will see a post about my conquest, but to be honest I should be worrying about whether I start or not. So who’s with me in leaving the gate and starting the epic Picture Book Marathon of 2012? Better late than never!

Official Information from the Creators:

Your Goal: Between February 1 and February 29, write one picture book a day, until you get to 26. This year, February has 29 days (thus, Take the Leap!), so you get a bonus break day.

The Basics: We define a picture book as (1) a story or narrative, (2) with a  beginning, middle, and end, (3) for children, and (4) intended to be illustrated. They’re generally, though not always, published in a 32 page format. Given the speed of the marathon, your picture book DRAFTS (for that’s what they’ll be) will be very rough. What you hope to capture is the basic plot, characters, and emotion of each story.

Why Do It:
  • Generate a lot of material in a short amount of time.
  • Get your creative juices flowing by forcing yourself to write daily.
  • Circumvent your internal naysayer – they either won’t have time to criticize, or they’ll be too tired.
  • Practice a writing practice.

For encouragement please check out the official PB Marathon blog

Special thanks to the Picture Book Marathon masterminds Lora Koehler and Jean Reagan and illustrator Will Strong for providing the official 2012 logo.

PBM – Week 1

10 Feb

The first week of February is history, and we’re a quarter of the way through the Picture Book Marathon. I haven’t had nearly enough practice to near perfection, but this being my 2nd year the experience is paying off. This time last year I had already used my two vacation days and was far behind. Desperate to advance to the head of the pack I wrote several ‘visual heavy’ drafts as part of the Mission Imaginable series.

This year I’m not about to just add a stack of paper to my own slush pile. Instead, the goal is to produce 26 usable seeds that when planted, watered, and whispered to will blossom into a publishable bouqet of picture books. Ok, let’s be honest, I’d be happy to have 5 of them bloom, but I’m reaching for 20.

As of February 7th, I’ve managed to pen seven manuscripts. My heart rejoices at seeing old ideas spring to life. But seeing a great range in stories, style, voice is not only comforting but reassuring that I’m not just a one-trick humorous list generating pony.

Of the seven, one is ready for the critique group, another needs an editing bath, four require time to runaway from my ego so that I may slash it to pieces later on, while one is a short cut excuse to jump start the process.

Overall, I’m enjoying this marathon. Not behind, nor needing to rush promotes a kinder attention to detail and editing while writing.

Sadly I’m not an illustrator, so I can’t provide delicious covers like imaginators Nathan Hale, Jed Henry, and Julie Olson. Please visit their blogs, view their impressive work and drop them a comment or three.

I’ll leave you with week one’s marathon roster members. I hope one day we can enjoy them together.

  1. Pin the Tail on the…: There’s a box full of animal tails, help the lost and found find each tail’s owner.
  2. Just Bailey (working title): Bailey doesn’t know if he is a she or she is a he.
  3. Mingo the Dingo Plays Bingo: Through Bingo, Grandma Dingo teaches Mingo the purpose of winning.
  4. Ropunzel: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Get a Haircut: A boy is interrogated about his long hair, but what will he do when the questions stop coming? 
  5. Witches Day: A little boy plans to stop the witches from crashing the school dance.
  6. Coastergeist: A scaredy-ghost must overcome his fears and haunt Mammoth Mountain.
  7. Airhog Day: To avoid the suffocating attention of Groundhod Day, Wilbur takes to the sky.