Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My ABCs of Inspiration: Z is for Zee Winner is...

LadyJai!  My cat, Audi, took forever to finally step on a piece of paper (see it peaking between his paws?), but when he did, I opened it up to find Jai's entry which read:

Z is for the Zingy, Zaney, Zippy words we could all come up with.

Or it could be all the ideas we could ever NOT have: zero, zip, zilch.

Or we could start with the Zodiac or even talk about Zeus.

Or we could just scratch all that, and just go to the Zoo!

I'm not even sure where to start!  Jai had so many ideas in there and I can find inspiration in all of them, actually.

First line of her entry:  I love finding inspiration in word play (which is what her first line implies), as I discussed at various times in this alphabet of inspiration.  And one aspect that I didn't touch on was onomatopoeia.  Find some words that imitate sounds and have fun.  Zip!  Zing!

Next, the idea of nothing.  On the days when zero, zip, zilch is coming together...take a break!  Take a deep breath and walk away from it.  You aren't going to have a lifetime of no ideas!  During this month of PiBoIdMo, I went days with nothing, but then I'd have days with five ideas.  If you put it on the back-burner of your brain, it will eventually work its way to the front.  I promise.

That third line has much more in it, inspiration-wise, than you may first think.  The Zodiac and Greek mythology are great bits of inspiration because they are part of the family of stories that are already out there and you can use them.  Look at the constellations, folk tales, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, myths, legends, tall tales, oral tradition and on and on.  Take your pick!  You can build off of a story that is already out there, you can turn it on its head, you can pick a minor character and explore the story from their perspective.  Play, play, play!  You may find that you start trying to re-write the story of the Great Bear and end up with a story about picking flowers in a field.  Who knows?  They are great jumping off points regardless.

Finally, the Zoo.  I touched on animals in my "G is for Goats" post, so I'm going to go in a different direction with this one.  It is essential to go out and be among children.  Go to a public place where children can be found and observe (NOT in a creepy way please!  I have no bail money for you people).  The Zoo is an awesome choice because inspiration can be found in the visitors and the visited.  And here is an extra challenge to find inspiration:  try hard to not jump to conclusions when watching parents with their children.  It is so easy to write off a "bratty" child or the kid having a fit or the little guy who has a runny nose and keeps wiping it on his sleeve.  As adults we see these zoo-goers as problems.  As writers, we should see them as kids.  As our main characters.  Ask yourself why the child is hitting, the kid is screaming or the little guy is sick.  You'll find inspiration in the "why".

So that brings me to the end of "My ABCs of Inspiration".  I hope you have all had as much fun as I have this month.  I can't thank Tara Lazar enough for PiBoIdMo and all of you for allowing me to indulge in my first blog series to go along with it.   I'll try to create a button at the top of my page this week to have quick links to all the posts in this series in case you find yourself needing some inspiration down the road.

And as a general blogging note, I'm going to cut back on my posting frequency now.  I think I've settled on a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule.  I need to give myself more time to write some of these ideas I've had for picture books!   So, I'll see you all on Thursday!  : )


  1. I was definitely NOT expecting this at all. I just wanted you to have fun with "Z"! But it's a great day when you can arrive at work and receive a HUGE smile for your face! :D

  2. ha ha I am tempted to go get a winner picking cat, my toddler always picks more than one. Congratulations Lady Jai and great series Megan

  3. Ha ha... Good job LadyJai - you sure threw out a challenge. And Megan ran with it beautifull. Yes, you have inspired the alphabet!

    Take a break Megan, and enjoy writing those PBs you've been dreaming up. :)

  4. (And that would be 'beautifully' of course!)

  5. Congrats, LadyJai! Great ideas!
    And Megan, thanks for this steady flow of inspiration. Now you have a winning picture book to write, and I have no doubt you have some fantastic ideas that have surfaced this month. It has been fun.

  6. You ended the month with a zinger! Thanks for playing along all PiBoIdMo-long!

  7. Zany, zealot, zebra. OK, now I'm done, so I think I'll get some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's

  8. Awesome job! By the way...your alphabet month was our inspiration for a blog-themed month! So THANKS TO YOU! :0) christy