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DAY TWO - MINING
Chapters 8 and 9 of How to Write a Children's Book: a 7-day Workshop in a Book
It’s time to dig into your brainstorm list using the mining technique to find stories.
Now that you’ve gotten all of your story concepts onto the page, you’re going to read over your brainstorming list and look for details. Entire children’s books, novellas, and novels all come from little concepts like those you’ve written down. They have to be coaxed out with questions.
Ask questions to stimulate story growth from the concept.
As you look over your list, add notes. Write down or type any additional tidbits that come to mind. If the well runs dry, you can easily fix it by asking the magical six questions we all learned in elementary school: who, what, when, where, why, and how.
It’s also good practice to include the senses when asking questions about your concepts. Touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound are all wonderful details that can help to paint a clearer picture of the story.
Being fast is essential. This is not a time to linger. To ensure you do not get stuck searching for details, you will set a timer for ten minutes. Perfect punctuation, spelling, and grammar are not necessary at this point. No one will see this phase of your work, so do not be precious. Simply mine your concepts and see what’s inside.
Note: This is the first of three ten-minute mining sessions in this section.
Let me show you how I did my first mining session.
I SET a timer for ten minutes and mined my brainstorming list from day one.
Some items on my list yielded many images, while others brought nothing else to the table. I could not uncover anything on some of the concepts, such as items 6 and 3.
For example, I love the idea of a picture book called How to Build a Monster, but the only visual I could get from it was a kid in a lab coat and their bedroom set up in a pillow-fort-style laboratory. The visuals are great, but there is absolutely no story there. Other items on the list were more teachable skills like typing, coding, and yoga.
DAY TWO - SESSION ONE
Ready your writing implements
Set a timer for 10 minutes
Add any details that come to mind
Tip: Do not be precious about grammar or sentence structure. Just get the words out.
REMEMBER that some items on your list might not yield anything new. Don’t linger on these items. Move on. Something will come to you, or it won’t. Period.
You can keep this list your entire life using every single item on it eventually. Right now, you need to get through this step.
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from “How To Write A Children’s Book: A 7-Day Workshop In A Book”.
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