Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Lesson In Imagination

My son’s first grade teacher is coming back from maternity leave this week. As a gift to her adorable new baby Olivia, their lovely substitute teacher had the idea of each child making their own mini 6-page picture book for Olivia. What a fabulous gift!!

As a picture book writer, I thought maybe I would have a good shot at being of assistance to him with this particular project. So, I asked him what he wanted the book to be about. He wasn’t quite sure, so I suggested he make baby Olivia the main character. For example, “There once was a princess named Olivia …” (lame example, I know!). The rest of our conversation went something like this:

Braden: “Oh, let’s make her a butterfly!”

Me: “Wow … what a great idea. That will make for such pretty illustrations too. OK, now, what does Butterfly Olivia do?”

Braden: “I know … a plane flies over her and gives her magical powers!”

Me: “Wow … a plane that gives magical powers … very creative. What kinds of magical powers.”

Braden: “She can grow flowers.”

Me: “Oh, yes, that’s a good magical power … being able to grow flowers everywhere.”

It was at this point that I realized it wasn’t Braden that would need assistance with this project. Instead, I needed to take a few pointers from my 6-year old son. Picture book writers know you write from the perspective of the child, not the adult … but that is easier said than done at times.

For me, this was a great reminder of letting your imagination take over. I would have never thought of a plane that flies overhead distributing magical powers!

Realistic? No.

Fun and creative? Yes.

Could the idea use some editing and further development? Yes … if it was going to become a saleable 32-page picture book written by an adult for children.

Is his book for baby Olivia going to require further editing and development? Not a chance … it is perfect as it is!

Wishing you a day of writing filled with creativity and imagination … and, if you’re lucky, a sprinkling of magical powers from any planes flying high overhead.


lotusgirl said...

I love his story. Aren't kids imaginations the best. They have no limits and no inhibitions.

Kelly H-Y said...

So very, very true, LotusGirl!!

PJ Hoover said...

They are a great source of creativity, aren't they!
Cool post!
And flower rhymes with power. How convenient.

Gottawrite Girl said...

Kudos for tapping into the most naturally potent imagination stream of childhood...

: )

How I used to LOVE butterflies... Still do, in fact!!! Only makes sense for a PB character.

Kelly H-Y said...

PJ ... you're right ... they do rhyme! How perfect is that!? And, yes, kids are one of the BEST sources of creativity!

Susan! Perfectly said ... the most naturally potent imagination stream ... love that!
Oh my, do I love butterflies too. The picture on the post is actually one I took at our zoo when they had their Winged Wonders exhibit ... butterflies from Costa Rica ... so beautiful!

CC said...

Love the story. and can use the imagination and creativity today too ;

Corey Schwartz said...

I got inspired by this post and asked my kids to think up an ending for a story I outlined today. They weren't as helpful. (of course, they're only 3 and 4) Their suggestions was "And then they all show the wolf their tushies." :)

Kelly H-Y said...

CC! Thank you! And, hope it worked to spark the imagination!

Corey - Your kids' response made me laugh out loud! Why is it that kids always go ... to the tushies! That never ceases to be amusing to them! So funny!

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

That is great! And I love the look and content of your blog, btw!

Kelly H-Y said...

Sheri! Thanks so much for your kind comments and for stopping by!