It’s November 17th and I only have four ideas on my PiBo list. You know, little things like “no power for a large chunk of November” got in the way of starting on time. My kids were home from school for two solid weeks and spent a large part of that time crying because Halloween in NJ was canceled for the second year in a row!

But am I worried? No! I’ve been through this before. In fact, this is my fourth time participating in PiBoIdMo so I consider myself quite a pro. I will have no problem getting to 30 ideas by November 30th and here is why… I brainstorm in themes. I pick a topic or concept and run it to ground.

2011 was the year of the MONSTER.

My list looked like this:

  1. Monster – Mistaken identity?
  2. Monster Mash (Monster Math?)
  3. Midnight Monster
  4. Monster in the Middle
  5. Mister Monster
  6. Monster who really wants a brother
  7. Attention Hog (yes, other things creep in! ☺)
  8. Monster who has bad dreams?
  9. Monster who is not ready for something? To move from under a crib to under a bed?
  10. Mini Monster
  11. Mini Me
  12. Monster who eats vowels
  13. Piwate Twouble
  14. Monster who is over-scheduled

I am currently working on #9 and #13.

2010 was the year of the DINOSAUR.

  1. Piratosaur – or Pira-saurus? Plundersaurus?
  2. Pizza-saurus or pasta-saurus – picky eater?
  3. Diapersaurus – toilet training?
  4. Tumblesaurus – dino who is the worst in her gymnastics class (Pike-a-saurus, stretch-a-saurus, bend-a-saurus, tuck-a-saurus) – handsprings, somersaults, cartwheels, splits- they nickname her bumblesaurus
  5. The Drama Queen
  6. Add-a-saurus, Minus-saurus
  7. Dino-snores
  8. Tyrannosaurus Specs – dinosaur who wears glasses

I took at stab at #8, but my real “winner” that year turned out not to be a dinosaur story after all!

2009 was the year of the FAIRY TALE

  1. Three Ninja Pigs sequel with Little red Riding Hood? Ninja Red?
  2. Technology- twisted tale with email, cell phone, digital camera. Goldilocks? Goes to three bears’ house and fixes all their gadgets?
  3. Fractured fairy tale with a surprise twin? Goldilocks has a twin sister, or Little red? Little Pink? Tawnylocks?
  4. Princess who is the bad guy? Could she be the villain in a surprise twist? A princess who is a pathological liar or something?
  5. Goldilocks and the Three Pirate Bears
  6. Goldi Rocks and the Three Bear Band
  7. Goldilocks shows her daughter an album of the three bears and daughter decides to pay them a visit? (tied to #24?)
  8. Using fairy tales to teach fractions. Goldilocks and the three and a half bears? How can you have half a bear? Bear in Mommy’s tummy? Could mama bear deliver right in the middle of the story?
  9. Coldylocks and the Three Polar Bears
  10. Little Red Gliding Hood

So far, three of these 2009 ideas have sold.

I sold #6 in 2010.

Then I sold #1.

And… are you ready for this?

Tara sold #10!

Tara had given me the idea for my Ninja Red story and I knew Tara used to skate competitively, so I suggested Little Red Gliding Hood to her one day. She loved it, wrote it and sold it to Heidi Kilgras at Random House.

So, if you’re stuck, pick a subject you love and run with it!

What’s my topic for 2012? Maybe… the year of the BLACK OUT.

Corey Rosen Schwartz is the author of HOP! PLOP! (Walker, 2006), THE THREE NINJA PIGS (Putnam, 2012), GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS (Putnam, forthcoming) and NINJA RED (Putnam, forthcoming). Corey has no formal ninja training, but she sure can kick butt in Scrabble. She lives with three Knuckleheads in Warren, NJ.

Corey is giving away a RHYMING picture book critique to a lucky PiBoIdMo’er who completes the 30-idea challenge. This is a fab opportunity for rhymers—after all, Corey’s one half of The Meter Maids!

Leave a comment to enter. If you also complete the challenge and sign the PiBo-Pledge in early December, you’ll be entered to win.

Good luck!