When friend and South Australian illustrator, Amanda Graham and I were asked to create a Picture Book workshop for primary classes, we prepared a story idea in advance. We planned to demonstrate how we’d attack the process and ultimately end up with the bones of the story and the first lines (or sketches) of a story. (working title: Tim and Maxie, Maxie being a dog)
Because it was part of the Onkaparinga’s Readers’ and Writers’ Festival, the librarians at Woodcroft Library had created a great idea, called a Book Picnic. Children could pluck items from particular picnic baskets to help stimulate ideas. Amanda and I had already chosen a shell, and decided that we’d use the word SHELL to brainstorm associated ideas and memories.
The whole program worked well; the two classes brainstormed their own ideas, wrote extensions of that idea, and jotted words and/or sketches on a storyboard. Hopefully, many of these will end up as their own books.
The first lines I’d written for the demonstration story were these:
“Tim liked everything about the beach, but Maxie especially liked . . .
One day Tim took a new, special ball to the beach. His Grandpa had given it to him for his birthday.”
At the conclusion of the session, one girl asked me, ‘Janeen, are you going to finish the story about Tim and Maxie?
To be honest, I hadn’t considered it. It had simply been part of the exercise. Besides I was tired from a very long and hectic period of touring and workshopping.
But one sunny morning, a couple of weeks later, I woke up and said, ‘Ah, what the heck. Just do it for fun!’
So I did. And it was FUN!
Three drafts later, I still like it. Will it be accepted for publication? That’s a guessing game.
But at this stage, the title is still Tim and Maxie . . . in case you ever see it in the bookshops!