by Josh Funk

So here’s the thing: I’m kind of a fraud. This is the fifth time I’ve written a guest post for Storystorm and it’s time to come clean.

Storystormers, I lied to you.

I never took my own advice before sharing it with you.

Let me explain.

Back in my first ever Storystorm post, I suggested you should think of something you want to see illustrated. I strongly implied that I got the idea for the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series by thinking how fun it would be to see a Pancake running through Broccoli Forest or a piece of French Toast skiing.

But that’s not how I got the idea for the book. I didn’t start brainstorming ideas by thinking of things I wanted to see illustrated until after I wrote that post.

During another Storystorm, I suggested spying on people in coffee shops…or better yet…spying on artists on Instagram. And while I do love to snoop on the #kidlitart IG hashtag, I didn’t truly start doing that until after I made that suggestion.

Another time, I suggested that you should think of the worst idea for a book and go write that. I somehow managed to convince you that I got the idea for Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by using that approach (I really milked that book for Storystorm posts, didn’t I?).

But as you now know, that’s not how I got the idea. I didn’t start trying to think of bad book ideas as a source for new stories until after that post.

And in perhaps my most ludicrous Storystorm post, I suggested using autocorrects and typos to generate ideas. As you probably suspect, I never did this before writing that post. It was absolutely not a tried-and-true method of idea generation.

So as you can see, I lied to you. I was a genuine fraud.

But here’s the thing. After I wrote those posts…after I made those Storystorm suggestions…I did start to heed my own advice.

I got the idea for the IT’S NOT A FAIRY TALE series (illustrated by Edwardian Taylor) by thinking that it would be really fun to see the characters in a book arguing with the person reading the book.

I got the idea for DEAR UNICORN (2023, illustrated by Charles Santoso) from artists posting on social media on Unicorn Day (which also happens to be my birthday).

I got the idea for my poem The Ballad of Mr. Zibb (about my cat that poops all over the house) by thinking of an idea that should never get published (and frankly, I don’t really want to see that one illustrated)—although it is available as part of a Writers’ Loft anthology.

But maybe best of all was when I made the typo writing ‘my best fiend’ when I meant to write ‘my best friend.’ I began to wonder what a book called My Best Fiend would be about. I began wondering what happened to the R in friend to make it fiend. If something happened to that R, what happened to the rest of the R’s? Eventually, that led to an entire book written without the letter R, called MY PET FEET which comes out later this year (illustrated by Billy Yong) in which a little girl’s pet ferret turns into pet feet as she frantically searches for missing R’s throughout her mixed-up town.

So now you’re probably thinking, “Great, Josh. You told me how you lied and didn’t take your own advice until after you gave it to us. How does that help me now?”

Here’s how: I want you to think of the advice you give to other people that you often forget to take yourself. We all do this. What is the inspiring advice you tell others to follow…but need to do a better job of following? Today, I want you to utilize that advice.

Better yet, I want you to share that advice in the comments for ALL of us to learn from. What is your one piece of writing advice that you yourself wish you followed more?

You might be thinking, “But, Josh, doesn’t this just mean we, the Storystorm community, will essentially be writing this Storystorm post for you?”

And to that I answer, “Maybe. But maybe this will turn out to be the greatest Storystorm post TO RULE THEM ALL!!! Bwahahahaha!”

(Or maybe this post is another lie in an excruciatingly long series of despicable deceptions…)

Josh Funk is a software engineer and the author of books like the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, My Pet Feet, the ​It’s Not a Fairy Tale series, the How to Code with Pearl and Pascal series, the A Story of Patience & Fortitude series, Dear Dragon, and more.

Josh has written a comprehensive “Guide to Writing Picture Books” that’s available for free on his website’s Resources for Writers section.

For more information about Josh Funk, visit him at and on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @joshfunkbooks. (Photo credit: Carter Hasegawa.)

Josh is offering one of either a picture book critique or a signed copy of any of his books to THREE lucky winners.

Leave one comment below to enter.

You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered Storystorm participant and you have commented once below.

Good luck!