by Arree Chung

2015-01-14 08:38

Has this ever happened to you? You’re working on an idea. You’re excited about it. You share it with your agent or editor and then they tell you that it’s not working. Thud, thud, thud (that’s the sound of my head hitting against the wall).

Back to the drawing board. Well, not always. Developing an idea and refining it is really hard but sometimes you can make it work. This happened to me, on the book I’m currently working on. It’s titled OUT.

In this post, I’ll share a few tips on developing an idea and how to make an idea work when it’s not working.

START WITH THE FEELING
Stories come from many places but sometimes, I like to start with the feeling. OUT began as a story tilted BREAKOUT.

At the start, I knew I wanted to make an adventure story. As a kid, I loved watching the Great Escape with my dad. I loved the humor and the near chances of getting caught.

THE-GREAT-ESCAPE-006

Kids love to play cops and robbers all the time so I started to think about an adventure of escaping prison. At first, I imagined braking out of prison with a quirky set of animal characters.

2012-08-20 19:30

I worked really hard and made a full picture book dummy of BREAKOUT. I excitedly shared my idea with my agent. He wasn’t in love with it and brought up some good points. Prison is probably a subject to avoid in picture books- some kids have incarcerated parents and we want to be sensitive. But I was disappointed. I had come up with all these ideas that I loved and I didn’t want to scrap them completely.

SALVAGING AN IDEA
I was frustrated and stuck. I shared my idea with a good friend who taught kindergarten and 1st grade. We started to brainstorm.

We asked ourselves:

  • How could we adapt this idea to something more age appropriate?
  • How could we retain the same sense of adventure, escape and mischief?

Still thinking graphically about black bars and shadows, I thought about how cribs are like little prison cells for infants and toddlers. And I know lots of kids hate being stuck in them when they want to roam.

TRANSFORMING YOUR STORY
I made a few new thumbnails to map out the new story. At this moment, I thought about how a baby and his favorite toy could break out of the crib. It wasn’t a fully developed story yet but we were on our way.

ThumbsPG1ThumbsPG2

STEP AWAY AND COME BACK WITH FRESH EYES
I shared this with my agent. I knew it wasn’t working yet but wanted feedback. One of the most helpful aspects of sharing your ideas with story experts is that they ask you smart questions. In this case, Rubin asked me what could happen once the baby is out of the crib.

I could feel ideas percolating. I didn’t have the solution yet and sometimes it’s helpful to step away for a bit. I had a few other books to illustrate so I spent my days working on those. But I always had this idea in the back of my mind. Then it all came together.

PUZZLE PIECES AND INSPIRATION
Stories are like puzzle pieces that perfectly fit together in a narrative. The tough part is you never know where to get all the pieces from. Sometimes a picture you see will be a piece. This picture did it for me.

babypuppysleeping

You probably saw these pictures around the internet too. When a boy and his dog started to take naps habitually together, a mom started photographing them and posting on the internet.

That was the missing piece for me. I knew what the story was. It was about a toddler and his dog. When the toddler gets put to bed, the dog and the toddler are separated. When the toddler escapes his crib, the two are on their own adventure. You’ll have to wait to see what the rest of the book is about.

Here’s are a few tips for making a story work:

  1. START WITH A STRONG FEELING. Think of stories that you love and how they made you feel. Capture this in your first draft of your story.
  2. SHARE YOUR IDEA with a few trusted experts. Be careful not to overshare. You don’t need too many ideas in your head, especially at this early juncture.
  3. If your concept isn’t working, THINK HOW YOU CAN SHIFT YOUR STORY to a new setting or new characters. Remember the feelings of the story you want to create. Sets and characters are actors in your world. Anything can change at this early stage.
  4. STEP AWAY AND GET INSPIRED. Collect references. Make boards, folders.
  5. PUT IT TOGETHER. If you have enough pieces, you’ll be able to put together a new story. If you’re not quiet there yet, repeat steps 3 and 4.

If you have an idea or strong feeling for a story, don’t give up. OUT took 2 years to piece together. Refining ideas into a core story is the hardest part of developing a book. Remember the feeling you want to capture in your story and get excited. Keep at it and you’ll get there.

Happy Holidays and Happy PiBoMo!


arree-chung

Arree Chung is the author and illustrator of the popular picture book, “Ninja!”, which has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal and has been named one of Amazon’s best books for 2014. “Ninja!” was also named one of NPR’s best children’s books of 2014. “Ninja!, Attack of the Clan” the followup to Ninja will be releasing in 2016, along with “How to Pee: Potty Training for Girls” and “Fix-it Man.” Arree has a two-picture-book contract with MacMillan and is also illustrating books from other publishers. Visit him  online at Arree.com.

PrizeDetails (2)

Arree is giving away a signed copy of NINJA!

Leave a comment below to enter. One comment per person, please.

This prize will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You will be eligible for this prize if:

  • You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
  • You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post.
  • You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge.

Good luck, everyone!

As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

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Wow – I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing this journey of revision. Changing an idea that I love is hard to do, and this gave me some good incite to how a good idea can change into a great idea if you allow your story to evolve.

    Yes, being open to changing your original idea can be difficult but can also lead to a great story. I try to hold onto the abstract feeling that I have for a story. That gets me excited. Keep going!

I love that you didn’t give up on the concept through all the bumps, Arree. Looking forward to your next book! Thanks for the awesome tips to navigate through tough times.

Great example of writing and adjusting your manuscript! It is great to be able to transform an idea to make it work!

Thanks for this, Arree. This has happened to me. Brainstorming with a few trusted industry people is such a great thing to do. We all dislike change, but with just a few slight turns we can have a winning story on our hands. Just loke OUT. Merry Christmas and Merry PiBoIdMo.

Thank you for this insightful post.. And I loved seeing your book idea grow and change. Thank goodness you didn’t give up. OUT sounds outstanding.

Fantastic post! It’s wonderful to see how you stayed with your original “feeling” as you developed a new PB idea. Thanks for sharing with us!

Thanks for the great reminder not to give up on your ideas and keep reworking them!

Thanks for the post. I often give up on those ideas that don’t soar soon enough. What a great plan for working them.

    Sharon, I have a special drawer I keep loose ideas and a file cabinet for ideas that I have developed more but aren’t quiet working. You never know when stories will come back, ready for you to work with them again.

    I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic book and thought it was great.

    Glad this post helped. 🙂

What a great story of developing a book from a really catchy idea – a breakout – and making it work for toddlers. Thank you so much for your advice and for sharing.

Thanks for sharing your process and the great advice.

Arree, Thank you. great reveal for how I could struggle with a book idea and win. This is very helpful.

#4 is my favorite step: STEP AWAY AND GET INSPIRED. It’s amazing how well stepping back works. Thank you not only for your inspiration and encouragement, but also instilling in us, not to give up on something we believe in.

    I always have to remind myself to step alway and let the work breathe. I tend to try to plow ahead, thinking I can make it work. It’s only after I quit with frustration that the universe starts giving pieces for my story. “Be patient” is what I’m always telling myself.

    Keep going!

Arree, thank you for sharing your process with us! I love watching an idea transform into something else. The transformation is a tale of its own!

I have a lot of stories that need reawakening, so I’ll try this. Thanks.

Revision is hard, but you kept a flexible mind and it worked! Congratulations on your books.

Thank you for the helpful post. I’ve been wrestling with one idea for so long, but I’m not giving up because I know it’s good. It just doesn’t have all the pieces yet.

thanks for the helpful suggestions on reworking an idea until it works!

Thanks, Arree–I’m in a similar position and your tip about defining and beginning with a strong feeling is a big help.

Arree – Enjoyed your inspiring post. I’m looking forward to working with your wonderful tips. Congratulations on your books. Ninja is such a cute character.

Thank you, Arree. It’s so helpful to read about the revision and re-creation process. Great advice to hold onto the feeling during the revision process.

Arree, seeing your thinking on a project to make it better and more -age appropriate is a wonderful learning tool for me. Your suggestions to get the idea “right” are “right on,” as they used to say back in the day! Day 29, here I come!

Arree, what a wonderful post. There is nothing worse than fantastic story in our heads to be met with a whomp-whomp response. It is very hard to stay the course and keep the story going after the letdown. Thank you for showing us the tools to do just that!

I enjoyed reading your post a lot. I agree that working with a picture book manuscript is like finding all the puzzle pieces and putting them together. I loved reading how your idea for OUT came about. Such an interesting post. Thank you for sharing!

You have shared a journey with us, all the ups and downs, bumps and smooth parts, starts and detours and most of all, determination and believing in yourself. Thank you, Aaree, for letting us accompany you on this creative expedition, and for all the suggestions and advice!

Fun! The idea of sticking with the feeling to guide you through is right on. And OUT is making me think of one of my kids!

I loved seeing the evolution of your idea.

Thank you Arree for sharing your process. Invaluable inspiration.

Ahhhh….just the steps I needed to help me right now today!
Many thanks and feeling inspired again.
Great post and congratulations on your accomplishments!
Happy Holidays!

Great advice! I loved seeing the evolution of your ideas into a story. Thanks!

Thank you for sharing how to make an idea work when it’s not working. Your advice is very motivating. Excuse me while I step away and get some questions answered.

Rubin? I’m so envious, Arree. Great post. I’m currently working on a new ms that began from the emotion of something that circulated FB. And you’ve inspired me to go back and read the PBs I have on my favs list to explore their emotion. Thanks!

You are fantastic! Cool thoughts on how to get your book ideas OUT!

Thank you Arree for showing me how to reinvent an idea I have strong feelings for.

OUT looks like an adorable book. Who doesn’t love babies and dogs? Thanks for sharing this inspiring post.

Thank you for encouraging writers to stay with their ideas and reshape them.

A very helpful post! Thanks so much!

Thanks Arree! Watching your idea change and grow into something new was great! I have one an agent liked the idea of, and I changed drastically…now just waiting to hear back…while looking more deeply at others. Thank you again!

We sure need to stay open to shape-shifting our stories! Thanks, Arree!

Great things to remember! Thank you!

Arree, this is so great. Thanks so much for sharing!

Ahhh….feelings! Great advice. Thanks for letting us see your process:>

Your message is empowering. Thank you. Just a side note. I do have to think twice about our society mores and your agents cautious, insightful response. When jailbreak humor is swept under the rug as improper potty talk these days, we as artists allow the topic in its more serious side to be silenced in conversation as well.

    Hi Marty- I agree with your thought about the appropriateness for children’s stories. I didn’t think a story about breaking out of prison by anthropomorphic characters would be a problem but I appreciate Rubin’s comments. He is very insightful and pointed out how some will react to the story. I bet most publishers would stray away from controversial kids books as they would want to sell as many as possible. Plus, it wasn’t my intent to make a controversial book. In the end, I think I ended up with a much better story and it really challenged me as a story teller.

Perfect post! Love your persistence. Can’t wait to read OUT!

You’ve nailed the hardest part of writing for me. Very timely, thanks. I also love reading about the story behind the story and others’ processes.

This post was so helpful (and your books sound amazing)! Thank you, Arree!

Thanks for this, Aree. I find that most of my ideas are character-based. So I tried thinking in a different way, starting with a problem or dilemma, and I love what rose up in my imagination! I so love hearing about how other writers do things.

Thanks for the excellent tips!

Great ideas! Thanks so much!

I love the theme of mischief. Great example of flipping a heavy setting/theme to something not just kid-friendlier, but really fun and clever.

Thanks for a great post Arree! I need to “break out” of my own writing jail.

Thank you for sharing the evolution of this idea. Super interesting post! Will be looking for OUT now too.

Got my 30 done a day early. Now to ‘break out’ and find an editor who will love and want to publish one of my adorable done, re-done and re-done again PB stories! Thanks, Arree, for re-enforcing the need to be persistent and keep trying new approaches for great ideas.

Thanks Arree for the great post! it will be a big help when I’m stuck on a story idea.

Congrats on your continues success!! I really like that idea of having a strong idea and sticking with it! I feel the characters haunt you at times until you write it and get it right!! Thanks for sharing your time with us!

A great reminder to never give up! Thanks for the inspiring post, Arree!

These are wonderful tips. Thank you! 😃

Thank you for the good advice, Mr. Chung! I enjoyed seeing your personal example of how you got the current version on OUT. Best of luck to you!

Thanks so much for sharing your process!

Great tips for re-thinking a manuscript that isn’t working. Thanks!

Thanks for walking us through you’re journey from idea to revision.

Thanks so much – great idea!

Perfect! Just what I needed right now! 😄👍🏻❤️

This was so helpful

Thank you for your thoughtful, inspiring post, Arree!

I love this! Your process of salvaging a not-quite-there idea is brilliant. Thanks!

Such a great perspective on taking an initial idea and reworking it. Can’t wait to read Out

Thank you for sharing how your idea became a great story, Arree!

Love seeing your transformation process. Now I need to go back and look at a couple of my stories and see if they can be transformed. Thank you for a great post.

Great post! I really enjoyed hearing about your revision process for your story. I look forward to reading OUT! My daughter and dog were inseparable when she was a toddler and I think that concept will resonate with many parents and dog lovers.

Excellent advice.

Thank you for reminding me to let go of an idea to let it grow instead of stubbornly hanging on when it isn’t working at all!

Thank you for this great post. I really enjoy learning how others recycle their ideas into even better ones!

Thanks so much for this post. It was exactly what I needed. It’s always so interesting to see how other authors “break through” to the other side.

Playing with the idea is so important. Only way to nurture it for a picture book. Thanks for the advice!

I like that – start with the feeling, stay with the feeling! Thanks, Arree!

This will be one of the posts I will return to repeatedly. Thanks for sharing your process with us. “Out” sounds delightful!

That is so clever! How many babies try to climb out of their cribs? Bravo!

Excellent advice! Thanks so much for the post!

Thanks Arree, I’m working on a story that is not quite working. Going to step away from it but stick with the original feeling, on a windy walk through the woods, right now!

Such a fun post! I loved seeing how much an idea evolved and changed.

I like the reminder to know when is a strategical point to ask for help brainstorming, and when to beware oversharing a sprout of an idea. Thanks!

This is a helpful window into your process. I appreciate the honest look at how to work through the struggles of an idea and how the first idea doesn’t always work as brilliantly as we want. Thanks for sharing!

    The first idea rarely works so brilliantly. It’s happened to me once, maybe. I think the struggle and the persistence to revise is what makes good art. So keep going!

Thank you. I love seeing how ideas change.

Great post! This is one a will be referring back to.

Wow! Thanks for the inspiration. You just helped me work out an issue in an idea.

Thank you, Arree, for today’s PiBoIdMo post! Terrific advice: ‘One of the most helpful aspects of sharing your ideas with story experts is that they ask you smart questions.’

This is a very inspiring and encouraging post for me, especially at the point of struggling with a new illustration project. Thank you!

Thanks, Arree! It’s nice to be reminded that the strong feeling is where good stories start.

Thank you for sharing your process. I can’t wait to read OUT when it comes…out. 🙂

Thanks for sharing your experience developing this story. Can’t wait to see it in stores!

I love hearing about the real problems that authors face, about their struggles and how they solve their problems. It is very helpful to me. It’s nice to have an agent to act as a “consultant”. Id live to find a writing buddy to fill that role.
Thanks again!

Great post!

Great article. Loved seeing how an idea that wasn’t quite there, got polished into a diamond!

Thanks, Arree, for the inspiration and for the advice to just keep at it. Congrats on all your success!

Thank you, Arree! Positive thinking on rewriting a story. Very encouraging for the rest of us. Can’t wait to see your new book on the shelves. Congrats!

Great post – loved seeing how your idea developed.

What a great and action packed post! Thanks for sharing!

What a journey! Thanks for detailing the amount of revising and reframing that is actually involved. I always have to remind myself that all those amazing picture books out there don’t just spill directly onto the page from the writer’s/illustrator’s pen. And I love starting from a feeling too.

Love your thought process. Thanks for sharing.

Don’t overshare. Thank you for that.

Thanks for sharing the story behind the story of OUT. Can’t wait to read it!

I have one idea in particular I’m trying to figure out if I can salvage. People like it but don’t love it so I’m thinking it needs to undergo a transformation. Thanks for the ideas about how to do that!

Love this post. Start with a strong feeling. Revise, revamp, revision. Thanks.

Thanks for being so honest about your process. I appreciated the good synergy between you and your editor/agent — they seem to push you to refine and get to the heart (feeling) of the story.

Brilliant story concept! I’m not an illustrator, but your thumbnails make me want to draw my storylines. Wonderful advice about revising ideas.

    Susan, you can do it! For me, I have to imagine the scene first to get a good idea of the story. Words, characters, settings can all change.

    The drawings don’t have to be nice. In fact, I purposely draw loose so that I don’t get caught up in the drawing. Your sketches can be just for you to develop your story. I know several writers who don’t illustrate but make sketches for themselves.

What a great post! Thanks so much for showing us the step-by-step process you went through in developing the idea for your book. It’s very helpful. Your book looks adorable. 🙂

Really interesting to hear the trajectory of OUT — thanks! It seems like you do a great job of killing your darlings (as needed) and of staying flexible too!

Thanks for the inspirational post!

Great to read about how your idea evolved, and how you managed to keep the kernel of what was important to you in the story!

Thanks for sharing your process for coming up with great stories.

Thanks for sharing, Aree. Can’t wait to read OUT.

Thanks for letting us look inside your mind as you revised. I hope there’s a way to incorporate a jail in your next story–I think kids with an incarcerated parent would welcome it–although maybe without the jail break.

It’s always good to know what to do when an idea isn’t working. Thanks for some great tips.

Just when I wasn’t sure of my new idea – you came along! Thanks. Very curious to see “How to Pee: Potty Training for Girls,” written by a “boy”? Hmmmmm . . . Maybe I should write the same for boys ; )

Thank you for the encouragement and practical tips. A very helpful post!

Extremely helpful post – thank you.

Great story! Thanks for the tips.

I have a story like this. I shared after revising. It’s still on the back burner for now. I hope to get back to it with these tips. Thank you!

Very helpful.Thanks!

Thanks for letting us see the process of developing an idea. Great post.

Thank you, Arree, for the inside view of brainstorming and for showing us how a story can change and evolve into something even better than its beginnings. That’s hopeful.

I enjoyed how you tied your love of the movie The Great Escape and the feelings of freedom children want. The tweaks and turns of the creative process in writing that you shared help immensely.

Thank you, Arree. It is hard to give up on an idea that you feel strongly about. The fact that you shared your process is both generous and helpful. Your story changed dramatically but the feeling from the original idea remained the same. It’s hard to add emotional core once you have a story, I know this from experience. Starting with a feeling is great advice for me to hear. Best of luck in your future book successes! Congratulations on the success of Ninja.

    Thanks! Yeah, you have to be willing to change your story dramatically. I started with the “feeling” because that’s the guiding light in all of your explorations. Otherwise, it’s easy to get lost!

Thank you for the ideas and info!! Great post!

Thanks for the post and the reminder to focus on the feeling first. I have a few ideas I might be able to rescue.

I like your listed device, but more than anything, love number one, start with feelings. Those are the books I like most too. Thank you!

Thank you for the great advice. I enjoyed reading your post especially the part where you were able to change the setting from an adult concept to a kid problem.

Arree, thanks for the great ideas and inspiration! Happy Holidays to you.

It was fun reading about how OUT came to be, so inspiring!

Arree thank you for the tips for transforming stories.

I completely understand. You fall in love with your stories, so hearing others don’t feel the same way can be crushing. It’s good to stay positive. I just re-read some critiqued advice and it spawned a new and improved manuscript.

Thank you, Arree, for the tips and examples you have shared today. I like the thought of trying to shift your story if it isn’t working. I look forward to your new books 🙂

Love this post! Great ideas on how to tweak an idea when it’s not quite working.

This is great advice! Reinventing an idea that you love is so hard to do sometimes but definitely worth the effort!

Thank you for the guidelines for helping with a failed or stalled story. I get to this point often and it’s frustrating. I’ll try these steps to help.

Excellent advice, Arree. Thank you! I’m going to share your post with my writing students 🙂

Thanks, I’m going to use your tips to see how I can shift a jammed concept that I’ve stepped away from but still love.

Oh! This came at the perfect time for me. I just shared a new version of a story I’ve been working on for 5 years with my critique group, and none of them liked the new ending! For a day, I really felt like giving up on that story. Your ideas of what you can do when you’re frustrated and stuck are helping to pull me out of the funk.

Thanks for sharing your process. Truly inspiring.

Great ideas. Thanks for sharing. I especially like “Start with a strong feeling”. That keeps the idea from being “slight”. I’m inspired to take a new look at some old ideas that didn’t work.

Thanks for sharing the inspiring evolution of OUT! What a great title! Can’t wait to read it.

Thank you, your tips are extremely helpful. Great post!

I loved this post! It is so helpful to hear about your perspective shifts, sources of inspiration, and process with OUT. I can’t wait to see what happens!

Nice to “meet” you and learn about your work, Arree. I felt inspired by your story of making OUT work. Tara, thank you for introducing me to so many authors/illustrators I didn’t know about before. I have visited their websites and followed them on Twitter. I’m sorry PiBoIdMo is going to end tomorrow.

I learned much from your post. Thank you for sharing!

I really needed this post! Ideas are easier than the next step — making the idea work (when it’s not working!). Can’t thank you enough for sharing how you worked through one of your ideas and came up with a way to reshape it into a book. OUT sounds fantastic!!

This makes me even more excited about some of my own ideas. Thanks Arree.

Love this! Thank you–

Great post, Arree!! Thank you for sharing your journey of revision with us as well as the reminder to never give up on our ideas. Changing a manuscript that I love is very difficult for me to do… andwhen I do change them I feel as if their magic is gone

Glad you shared your process of an idea and following it through to completion.

Thanks for the inspiration and fantastic tips, Arree! I especially like the idea of starting with a strong feeling.

start with a feeling – great advice!

Nice post of how to get from here to there.

Thank you for your tips!

A good lesson on sticking with a story idea you believe in. Thanks.

It’s great to see how the pieces finally fell into place with OUT. This is one post I’m saving for future reference.

Loved seeing your process! Thanks.

So INCREDIBLY helpful! So easy to give up on our ideas – love these tips to not only salvage them, but to make them shine!

I like the way that you have connected things and revised. Good advice

Since we’re talking about feelings, I thought of this song most of you are probably too young to remember
Top of the World The Carpenters
Lyrics
Such a feelin’s comin’ over me
There is wonder in ‘most ev’ry thing I see
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream
Everything I want the world to be
Is now comin’ true especially for me
And the reason is clear, it’s because you are here
You’re the nearest thing to heaven that I’ve seen
I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around
Your love’s put me at the top of the world

http://www.bing.com/search?FORM=U079DF&PC=U079&q=im+on+the+top+of+the+world+by+karen+carpenter

Happy PiBoIdMo Day #28 Feeling good and encouraged by your post, Arree 🙂 Thank you!

This is such an inspirational piece! I have been there so many times. Thank you!

Just the encouragement I needed to hear.

The stepping back and putting the story away is the hardest thing for me to do. But I now realize the value in that. Thank you.

Thank you for sharing your process. I love how the image/idea that made it work was one of connection. that’s it!

Wow, Arree! I loved reading about how you salvaged your concept and made it work. Thanks so much for sharing! Happy Holidays!

Thank you for sharing your process and how you salvage ideas. Very inspiring!

What a great post, many thanks Arree! Can’t wait to find out how OUT ends.

Thanks for sharing all the pieces, Arree. Love that Ninja face!

Great post for illustrators and non-illustrators alike. Thank you Arree for all your advice.

Thanks! The feeling I chose to pursue was the feeling of safety and security, and I ended up writing a story about a boy whose odd “safe space” is a spot right in the middle of a well trafficked living room. As usual, you can read an excerpt on my blog.

Great suggestions! This year for PiBoIdMo, I’ve found that an idea I have one day, is actually an addition to an earlier idea. I think this building of ideas can only make a story stronger. Thanks for validating this for me! 🙂

I like your advice not to “overshare”-ideas are delicate and need time to bloom.

Super helpful. Thanks!

Piecing a story together is like working a puzzle, but, as you reminded us, Arree, one where we aren’t stuck using one set of pieces. When I look back at old drafts, it always amazes me how swapping out a few pieces can reveal a whole new story picture.

Great tips and example, Arree. Thanks, and much continued success to you!

I need to ask Santa for a couple of trusted experts to run my ideas by. :} Loved looking at the transformation dummy from the original story to baby story!

I’m a storyteller, and so many of my stories go through a radical change the first week of the summer season. It’s hard to let go of your favorite ideas, but usually it makes for a better story in the end.

I appreciate that it took two years from idea to polished story…and I love how you encourage us to step away and get inspired. I was watching an old Wagon Train episode and heard some of the ‘down home’ country slang…and realized it was the perfect addition to a story I had been working on. And then I watched another show, and heard a phrase that is totally what my grandson is ALWAYS saying…and it hit me that it was the best title for a picture book about a kid who doesn’t think anyone can tell him what to do. Thanks so much, Arree…you are an inspiration!

Thank you for the wonderful tips!

This was an enlightening post. Thank you for sharing your tips with us.

What great advice. Thanks. 🙂

Thank you for showing us your thinking process on creating a story. Looks so cute!

Thanks, Arree, for this great advice and plan to make what’s not working work! Looking forward to reading Out! Great idea!!

Thanks for the tour inside your head. Like visiting the studio of a visual artist, or a chef experiencing another chef’s kitchen, I am fascinated when writers write about process.

Thanks for the tips and advice. I’ve also come to realize that the process is much like solving a puzzle. Instead of stressing over the fact that things don’t quite fit, it’s reassuring to know that a little time often provides the perspective necessary to make all the pieces snap together.

Once again, great suggestions

I love this idea of reworking an idea you really like into something marketable. It’s amazing see how much better your story can be with some massaging and a critical eye. Thank you for sharing your story– it’s so helpful to see your process.

Thanks for your advice; I especially like the illustrations you shared.

I like thinking that some of my ideas can still be reworked. Going back to revisit some of those initial feelings. 🙂

I love this new book idea! My daughter launched herself over the rail of her crib at one with her little stuffed toy in tow during a thunderstorm. I love the potential here. Thank you for sharing. I’m so impressed you illustrate your books as well. That is something I have no hope of ever doing. 🙂

Recycling ideas to make them stronger. Good tip, Arree!

Love the “break out” ideas. Thanks so much!

Great advice! Thank you illustrating the points with such a personal and wonderful story!

Arree, thank you for this nugget – “Sets and characters are actors in your world. Anything can change at this early stage.” It really hit a chord with a few of my stories that were causing some “head banging.” THANK you so much.

Hi Arree, I think your idea from prison to crib was genius and then top it with adventures between a child and a cherished pet. This looks like a really good story!

Congrats on your agent as confidant.

Great advice, thank you for your post!

I love that you took an idea and reshaped it until it worked. Can’t wait to see OUT in print. Thanks for sharing your journey and passing along the helpful advice Arree!

Your advice is very encouraging. Thank you!

Some of my best writing experiences have been like that: keep the core oomph and rejigger the rest, sometimes wildly, until it falls into place. Thanks for the reminder!

That’s what true, thoughtful revision is all about. Thanks for sharing how you got there from here.

Thank you Arree very good post…I look forward to reading your books…

Good advice. Nice to see someone else also works with a story for years, trying to get it just right.

Awesome post, Arree. Thank you!

Elizabeth McBride- Thank you for the helpful post, Arree. Putting the feeling first is such a good idea to keep in mind. It is what drew your interest in the story too! It is easy to overthink and lose that attachment.

Sent from my iPhone

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I loved hearing how OUT transformed over time. Thanks for sharing.

Out sounds adorable! Revising is good, but you’re right – In a pinch revising isn’t enough. Rethinking completely is the next step. Love it!

Real examples of how a story comes together are the most valuable. Thank you.

Thanks for ideas on making it work. Those internet photos are great sources sometimes.

Great way to adapt and restructure adult ideas into children;’s book ideas.

Great ideas! My kids love Ninja!

This is one of my favorite PiBoIdMo posts yet! Thank you so much!

Step away…how far and for how long? Sometimes it seems like years!
Thanks.

Arree, Thanks for sharing how you developed the concept for OUT.

Now I can’t wait to read OUT! Thank you for the helpful advice, Arree!

Cool! Thanks for walking us through the process for “Out”.

I’m inspired, and your post did it! Thank you.

Thanks for helping us “out” when we’re stuck. 🙂 Seriously, great advice and inspiration! Hugs! 🙂

What great ideas, Arree! I’ll have to use your system to figure out which of my 30 PiBoIdMo ideas is going to work.

I love the transformation.

Sometimes I just give up instead of changing the direction of a story. Thanks for the advice.

Thanks for sharing your creative process. It’s tough getting stuck on an idea that isn’t working. You gave us some great tips to get past those rough first ideas.

I’m loving the idea of Out. Can’t wait to read it. I’m firmly convinced that a book with a dog in it is always best.

Great advice, Arree, and thank you for thoughtfully sharing the frustration of a response that sends you literally back to the drawing board.

It was interesting to hear how your story changed and grew.

What a great story to re-read & share, Ree, as we write & rewrite, seek out feedback, & rewrite some more! An excellent example of writing is a craft, no doubt about it!

Step away…great idea and lots of wonderful tips. Thank you.

Reblogged this on Pearlz Dreaming and commented:
I love this idea, and have been going through a process of this with some of my picture ideas. Ah and I do think kids find cots kind of scary sometimes. My children much preferred their bed!

This is such a great post. I am looking at some of my manuscripts that maybe I loved a little too much and applying these tips. Thank you, Arree!

Thanks for the advice, Arree. It’s definitely hard to stick with an idea that had promise but just isn’t working yet. It’s good to hear from successful writers just how long the refining process may take.

When I start with a story birthed from a strong feeling yet get stumped, I find if I “turn around” or step away, unexpectedly, or — from out of nowhere, out of “left field” — insights shift an element of the story, then I experiment. Arree, you and me together, babe.

Wow! Thank you so much for the incite. I needed this post!

If all the ideas from this month and last year all come together at once in two years, I am going to be very very busy. Here is hoping!

Thank you for sharing the journey!

Loved your suggestions for reworking stories that aren’t quite there yet. I’ll be using them to take a look at a few of my works in process.

Thank you for sharing that you are a creator who
is in for the long haul, once an idea has taken hold. I’ve had similar experiences and I can vouch that what you are saying here is 100% true!

I love the behind-the-scenes peek at how your story evolved. Thank you!

Thanks for the great post! Tenacity is a wondrous thing – congratulations! And love the title, “OUT”.

This is a great reminder to :salvage” ideas. Sometimes I think if it doesn’t work then stop working on it. Thank you!

Wow-Zaa! Ditto to what LJ said, “I needed this post!”
Thank you, Arree!

Fun process. It sure led you to a winning idea!

So helpful. I arrived at the “banging my head on the wall” with a story that wasn’t working recently. I’m going to dive back in and use this process. Thanks!

Thanks for the great advice!!

Love the idea of breaking out of a crib! Thanks for your suggestions!

There are so many directions that an idea can go! The possibilities are nearly endless. Thanks for encouraging us to keep at it, Arree!

Arree, thank you for sharing your process. I LOVE seeing how successful people approach their work. There’s such beauty in how stories/books develop and evolve 😀

Your book sounds great and it was a nice way to illustrate how to shift an idea to something that really works. I look forward to reading Out!

Thank you! Great advice, as I have lots of stories in different stages of not working….

Love the advice & can’t wait to see Out. Thank you so much for sharing, Arree!

Thanks for these suggestions for taking an idea and developing it into a real, child-friendly story.

Sallie Wolf

Thanks for the suggestions!

    Hit post too soon! I meant to say…
    Wow! What an amazing re-treatment of your original idea! Thanks for encouraging us all to keep an open mind as we journey through our projects. Thanks!

If only I could find the right mobile to talk to me and tell me how all the pieces should fit…

Thank you so much for your great tutorial on what to do when ideas aren’t quite working! This is so helpful because we generate soooo many ideas this month!

So interesting! Another great PiBoIdMo post!!!

Thanks Arree, I have a couple of manuscripts in this boat. Time to bring them ashore for help and advice from others.

Loved this. My brain is turning. Thanks.

Step back and shift things a bit… I will try this with a story that I love the “feeling” of, but is not quite working. Thank you for the post!

Thanks so much for these fantastic strategies for making something work that previously wasn’t. I appreciated your agent’s point about a prison break story and age appropriateness. My father spent time in prison when I was very young and I have long thought about how to broach that topic sensitively in a picture book for other young children experiencing what I did. Your post reminded me of the importance of the kind of approach used for this young target audience. Thanks!

Such a great topic! I admire your perseverance. I know this will help me work on my ideas. Thank you.
My gratitude to Tara for setting up such a wonderful event. It’ s hard work. Hats off to you!

Thank you Arree. Great post. Big help with what I am working on now.

Thank you Arree for the great post! Thanks for sharing this journey of revision. Changing an idea that I love is not easy to do. But it helps me to realized that how a good idea can be changed into a great idea if I allow my story to develop. Thanks for sharing your drawing.

Great post – I loved seeing the evolution of your story and I can’t wait to put your tips to work! Thanks

I love the idea of working with the essence or kernel of your idea in ordr to make it work. I’m quite certain the advice i this post will become a key resource in working with my PiBoIdMo ideas! Thanks!!

Thanks for the inspiring post, Arree!

Great post Arree! Can’t wait to see OUT when it comes out!

Thank you – wonderful advice – I appreciate your sharing this with us.

“If you have an idea or strong feeling for a story, don’t give up. OUT took 2 years to piece together. Refining ideas into a core story is the hardest part of developing a book. Remember the feeling you want to capture in your story and get excited. Keep at it and you’ll get there.” You have no idea how encouraging this is to read. I’ve been struggling for a year with one of my ms’s. I gave up on it, truthfully. This post, however, has given me hope and courage to try again! Thank you!

Thank you so much for sharing your process! Very inspirational!

Thanks Arree, for sharing your process.Thanks for giving hope.

A great post that will keep me in the trenches. Thanks, Arree.

Thanks for the tips! And I’m looking forward to seeing where the Out adventure continues!

Great post, Arree. I loved seeing the revision process and detours you took while finding the right puzzle pieces for OUT. Hysterical thumbnails! So many people think revision is just rearranging or cutting/adding words. But it’s giving that core feeling or idea permission to take a detour, and turn itself inside out to find the missing pieces, creating a new and better ‘vision’ of itself.

Thanks for the encouragement to keep reworking an idea. Your post is very helpful.

OUT looks adorable–I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the great advice–especially that of starting with a feeling and of being open to change characters, etc. to make the story work.

Thank you for the tips for when I can’t quite pull it all together!

Thanks for insights into the process. Looking forward to reading Out!

Oh, I always love a peek at early sketches! And the idea of lifting out the emotional core of a story that’s not working and plopping it down into a new setting or set of characters is genius. I will absolutely try it.

Thanks for sharing your process and your perseverance with your great idea.

Thanks for sharing the evolution of your idea. Great read!

Ah! I love the sound of OUT! I’m looking forward to reading that one when it’s finished and in the world! Thanks for sharing your wisdom along with this.

Fabulous illustrations, Arree! Great advice. I really enjoyed today’s post. Thank you!

Wonderful advice. Thank you!

Thanks for some good ideas for reinventing ideas.

Thanks for sharing your process of salvaging and transforming stories that aren’t working. I have several stories in that category and this is the inspiration I needed to get back to them after a long break.

I find these posts that are honost about how hard idea generation is both daunting and inspiring. Thanks! I like knowing it’s not all magic and fully formed, but the hard stuff, whoa!

Story shifters, an evolution unto itself. Thank you for your encouraging words.

Great post, and I love idea of ‘OUT’. Good advice showing how ideas can be salvaged and transformed into a great piece.

Thank you, Arree. I loved NINJA and can’t wait to read OUT.

Aree: I love your advice to always keep in mind the feeling of the story. It is so important to remember the heart and soul of the story, then everything else will fall into place! Thank you for the reminder!!!! Also, I love the baby and dog idea for your story! BRILLIANT!!! I can’t wait to read it!

Thank you for the tips! I’ve got an old story that wasn’t working either. I’ve been letting it percolate for about a year now and am still collecting pieces. Maybe another year will do it!

Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement for salvaging ideas that don’t work- yet!

This gives me direction & hope for a couple of “old ideas”. Thank you!

I love it…thanks for describing how you turned an idea until you saw it from a workable angle. I can’t wait to read OUT; it sounds like the perfect fantasy escape.

+1 on the advice to start with a strong feeling – reminds me of e. e. cummings’ poem “since feeling is first.” It was insightful and encouraging to both read about and see the meandering progress of the storyline of Out. Thanks for the generosity and best wishes with your work.

Interesting hearing how the story unfolded. Thanks for telling us about it.

Thanks for the great ideas. Adapting an idea is really hard, but I can see that it can be well worth the time and struggle!

This really hit home for me and my struggles with revision! I am vowing to focus on feeling.
Thank you so much. Congrats!

Thank you, Arree. Wonderful advice!

I hear that thud, thud, thud a lot lately. It’s nice to know someone else hears it too!

Start with the FEELING you want to capture in the story. I love that idea. It’s so simple but so important. Thank you!

Thanks for explaining your writing and idea-simmering strategies. Great advice!

Love your process, thanks for sharing!

Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

Thank you for sharing your process. These are helpful tips.

It’s wonderful to learn more about your writing journey! Thanks for the tips!!

What a helpful behind-the-scenes look at story development and revision. Thank you! Your agent was good at reminding you to think, “And then what?”

I’ve got a couple of “subject matter won’t quite work for this age group” PB manuscripts – now looking forward to going back and revamping them. An exercise in humility and hope 🙂 Thank you.

This is a helpful way to think through the process. I’ve gleaned several ideas on how to better focus myself in writing. Thank you.

Sometimes keeping the excitement is not at all exciting! But I agree..it’s a must have. Because if you’re not excited, it shows in your writing.

Love seeing your process and the progress the book went through.

Thank you for the tips. Love your story.

Thanks for sharing your witting process – it has given me (and lots of others apparently) hope.

Thanks for sharing your process!
Great help!

Great post on revision! Thank you!!

Thank you for the outline. This is so helpful and inspiring!

I love the idea of starting with feelings, Arree, since so often my reaction to picture books is a gut one. I cannot wait to read OUT! It looks so much like my kind of book :). Thanks for the inspiring post!

I like this process for salvaging ideas. Thanks for your insight!

Thank you for that inspiring post. I love the step by step summary.

Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your process of not giving up on an idea and the interesting way “Out” became a story. Will think about this post as I ponder how to reinvent mine.

Great advice for adjusting throughout the process. Thanks!

Feelings. It always comes back to feelings. But I like the way you looked at your idea as elastic, changeable. You could keep the core feelings, and make the story in a different setting. Thank you!

Terrific reminders that ideas don’t have to be thrown out, simply modified. Thanks for the “how to” suggestions, as well Arree!

Love this practical advice! It can be so heartbreaking to see an idea just. not. work. But so inspirational to see how one idea can seed an even better idea…with work and perseverance. Thank you!

This is such a hopeful post! I have countless ideas which I’ve discarded because they “didn’t work.” I’m going to give them a new look and see if I can transform them from prison to baby crib. Thank you!

Persevere…that’s what I hear from this post. Thanks!

Thanks for this great post!

Great tips for struggling stories!

It is helpful to know that other writers struggle with what they envision as a wonderful idea that gets the axe from the editor. The suggestions of what to do next, is even better. Thanks for sharing!

Great post for those of us that believe eventually an idea will work. Tenacious to a fault. Thanks for the post!

I loved seeing your process to transform your original idea to a very cute story. I have a story that my critique group says just won’t work so I’m going to take your advice from your post and see what I can come up with. Thank you!

I know what you mean about finding the pieces to make a story work. I have one manuscript that wasn’t working for a long time, maybe it still isn’t, but that may be because I haven’t found all the pieces yet.

Thank you for the wonderful advise.

Wow, I loved reading about and seeing the illustrations of your evolving story.

I loved this post so much. Thanks , Arree.

Great advice. Ideas are percolating and I can smell the coffee.

Splendid post! Thank you for sharing how your project developed. I find it very helpful.T

I love how you shared your story behind Out, and how you had the persistence to keep at the feeling you wanted to capture, when your first story container wasn’t working. I’m inspired:-) and will also be looking for Ninja–I have two sons who most definitely would enjoy reading it.

Great advice about stepping away. I’ve been doing this recently and it really helps. Weeded out a few stinkers. 😉

Aree, great advice to start with a feeling. Sometimes, in an effort to control our writing, I think I forget to just sit in the feeling for a few moments, and that the story will emerge. Thanks for sharing advice with PiBoIdMo folks!

FANTASTIC tips! Thanks for sharing your process!

Great story about your story 🙂 thanks for sharing.

Thank you. I think everyone doing PiBoIdMo has a few ideas they know are good but are struggling to execute well. This is very helpful.

Thanks, I needed to see this! Sometimes I feel I don’t have that missing piece, either. My stories often go through an evolution based on the original germ of a feeling.

Thank you – I saved your steps 1-5! 🙂

Great idea — start with a feeling. I love Breakout!

Thanks so much. I especially appreciate your point 3: If your concept isn’t working, THINK HOW YOU CAN SHIFT YOUR STORY to a new setting or new characters. Remember the feelings of the story you want to create. Sets and characters are actors in your world. Anything can change at this early stage. I’ve copied it (obviously!) and pasted it into a notes file I keep. I hope you don’t mind. 🙂 I also love your illustrations.

Perseverance, kindergarten brainstorming, and expert questions save the day!

Looking forward to reading OUT. Love to see the evolution of ideas. Thank you.

Arree, thank you for walking us through your process when you find yourself stuck it needing to reinvent an idea that’s not working. Congrats on your success!

Very helpful post! Have to keep reminding myself that’s okay (and GOOD!) to shift things around and try new approaches to a story that’s not working… Thanks!

This is so very helpful and encouraging! Thank you!

Great post! I like to let things percolate too and see what develops. I’m doing that with a few PiBoIdMo ideas, but I’m writing them down first so I don’t lose any while I let a few swirl around.

Wow, this is another great post on craft! Sometimes I get an idea that starts out so strongly and then evaporates before the end. Your suggestions for developing an idea and working at it from different angles are so helpful. I’m going to pull out some of my abandoned stories as soon as I push “post comment”. Thanks. 🙂

It’s always good to hear the nuts and bolts of an author’s process. Thank you.

This is so helpful! Thank you.

Wonderful advice that’s both practical and creative!

Every nugget of an idea is worth keeping and nurturing. We never know which one will work in the end. Thanks for your tips.

Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement. 🙂

I love the idea of thinking about the feeling you were trying to create. Thank you!

Great advice, thanks, Arree.

A five-step process that will be one of my new go-tos for stories that are struggling. Thank you!

Thanks. It’s good to remember that a good idea can become great with a little tweak!

I also loved seeing those images of the boy and his dog on the internet – I’m looking forward to reading Out! and seeing how it inspired you! Thanks for sharing great tips with us!

Perfect……I will use your ideas to guide me as I currently struggle with a story I’m working on. I am excited to implement your ideas. Thank you kindly for sharing.

Great post, Arree! It’s great to see how you developed your ideas! Thanks for sharing with us.

Put your hands in the air and step away from the idea. (I have to tell myself that, sometimes!)

Thanks for remembering us to put an idea away and work on something else. Sometimes you need fresh eyes to make it work.

Thanks for showing how to transform a story that isn’t quite working!

Thanks for sharing – sometimes I feel trapped by the bars in my own mind.

Maybe this will help me get past a block I have in my story development. I appreciate the suggestions! Thanks.

Developing and refining my many ideas into a story is truly the hardest part. Your words that resonate with me are, “Remember the feeling you want to capture in your story and get excited.”

I look forward to reading your book OUT. Thank you, Arree.
~Suzy Leopold

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve had tons of ideas that weren’t working and I gave up on them. Maybe I’ll go revisit a few and brainstorm new possibilities.

Starting with a “feeling” was very helpful for me. Thanks Arree.

Super post!

My kids will love OUT! I think they spent most of their time climbing out of their cribs too! 🙂

Oh, Arree! I’ll have to share the video of my puppy escaping from his fenced in kennel with you sometime! He wanted out and made it happen. It wasn’t until we video taped him that we figured out how he did it! You book sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing your process with us!

Thanks for this! I absolutely love that photo of the boy with his dog. OUT sounds fab.

Oh my gosh–such great inspiration and advice here! And it gives me hope that it’s totally possible to salvage an idea that I love but that might not be working! Thank you!

Thank you, Arree. I found this advice incredibly helpful!

Thank you for the great post.

I loved hearing about your process, and I can’t wait to read your book. Thank you!

Loving the thumbnail sketches! I am a big fan of the STEP AWAY AND COME BACK WITH FRESH EYES approach too! Thanks 🙂

Thank you for your advice on re-working an idea. Great story!

I love you tips on how to make a story work. Could prove to be very helpful to some things that I have in the works. Thank you for sharing how your story came to be. Very inspiring!

Thank you for your honesty and detail. It’s so rare that creators share the ribs of their workings with the world. Thank so much!

As a dog lover, I think your book sounds like a wonderful!

Great tips! Very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

That was super fascinating to get to see into that process, thank you! And Out sounds so good!

Thanks for a great post. I think the moral of this story is – Don’t trash anything! Great tips for breathing new life!

Thanks for sharing the process with this book – it’s great to see all the iterations of the same original idea.

OUT sounds like a lot of fun, I look forward to reading it! I love seeing the process on how the idea was developed!

Thank you for the suggestions. Reworking ideas seems so much better than scrapping them!

I am in love with your new story! I can’t wait for the final book to come out! Thank you for sharing your thought process and how to not get discouraged if an idea doesn’t turn out how we intend because sometimes it will work out even better than we had imagined!
Jamie Palmer

We all have had some head banging moments over stories/ideas we love. Thanks Arree for providing some padding! Here’s to making them work.

Great post! Thanks, Arree!

Thanks for sharing your journey in creating Out. can’t wait to read.

Arree,
This is awesome advice! I love to be reminded of not being afraid to share your early ideas, especially the ones your feel so passionate about! Other people can really shed light on aspects not originally thought of- or alternatives!
Great article! Thank you!!! ⭐️

This makes me want to revisit my old ideas and look at them from a different perspective. Thank you!

Love it! I tend to give up. Now I’m determined to revisit old manuscripts. Thanks for the inspiration! And thanks for describing a rewrite in progress!

I got a feeling that something great is going to come OUT of this year’s PiBoIdMo!

Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your process! 🙂

This was such a great post! Thank you for sharing!

Thank you for sharing your process!

Keeping that certain “feeling” when we generate an idea is critical. Thanks for your great suggestions, Arree.

I love your Ninja book and love this post!

Wonderful way of reviving reject ideas! thank you!

Thanks for sharing these great ideas, Arree.

Great post! Thank you for sharing!

Thanks for walking us through how you went from one idea to another, while keeping the important part of the feeling and theme. It also helps to see the iterative images as well.

That’s a great idea to re-work or redo some of my old things that didn’t work when I have run dry of new ideas.

Great ideas! Thank you! Darlene Gaston

Really enjoyed your post and reading about your creative process. Love the advice about starting with a strong feeling – explored this recently with a revision workshop where we discussed reader response. I have an 11-month old and have definitely thought about her little crib jail…looking forward to “Out” — Amanda Sincavage

I love this one. I’ve never really used pictures from the internet for inspiration for my stories, so maybe I’ll give it a try with my current story. I need to rework my story to really show what my character wants. This is hard. Your post was inspiring. Thanks!

Thanks for sharing! Especially loved seeing your early thumbnails in progress!!

This is a great post- really enjoyed reading about your process!

Thanks Arree for your posting and suggestions! I’m responding later than I had planned (Thanksgiving power outage that finally was corrected later today … whew!). My takeaway is “start with a strong feeling” …thanks again! 🙂

OUT sounds like a really sweet tale.

Love your post, Aree. Thank you for reminding us to never give up and also for sharing the story behind your story.

Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing thumbnails and other images.
Cindy

I am in awe. God knows how many ideas I have discarded out of hand but this post makes me want to revisit all those and see if they can be salvaged. Can’t wait to find out what happens when the toddler is OUT!!

I love hearing about the process and it is encouraging. Thank you.

Love the concept of Out and thank you for the practical advice!

I love how you adapted the story from prison to a crib! Looking forward to reading this story! Thank you!!

Love your ideas!

WOWEE ARREE! What a gift you gave us, to pull back the curtain
and reveal the inner workings from idea to book. THANKS !

I love seeing your process- how OUT developed.

Great post. Loved seeing the transformation from the Great Escape inspiration onward.

“Think of a story that you love and how it makes you feel” is such a great nugget of advice.
I loved this post, Arree, and the story you have told has inspired me to dust off a few long-neglected ideas and revisit them again with fresh eyes.
Heading out to find OUT today!

Thanks for this interesting peek into your process. I love how brave you were to take the “feeling” to a whole new setting and characters.

Thank Arree. Love seeing your sketches in progress and couldn’t agree more on starting with a feeling. It seems to ground my work when everything else is up for grabs with interchangeable pieces.

I loved seeing your process for the book. Thanks!

It’s great to have an editor in your corner to help with critical, honest feedback. Never give up!

Thank you for these practical ideas!

So helpful to see your creative process – thank you.

Great advice. Thanks.

“Feeling” I like that.

Thanks for the encouragement. Great post!

So many great points in this post. I will recall your words of wisdom frequently. Thanks so much!

Great post! I really enjoyed reading it. Seeing the process of how your book came about was fascinating and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for the great ideas.

Wonderful tips. Thanks!

Great tips. Thanks!

Bookmarking this post under Follow that Idea!

Thanks for sharing your process with us!

I loved reading about your process (and how you kept on working on the idea)! Thank you!

How inspiring! “Refining ideas into a core story is the hardest part of developing a book.” I wrote this quote on a card and hung it on my idea board, so I can constantly be reminded to hang in there with my ideas. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Love the photo!

These are great ideas to throw in my “book of tricks” thanks for the ideas.

Loved you post, Arree! Thanks for sharing you awesome tips! Can’t wait to see how OUT worked out!

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing your process!

Great story of how Out emerged. I look forward to reading it.


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