Monday, 21 October 2019

Inspiration on the Internet by Chitra Soundar

When I’m bored, or tired or overwhelmed with deadlines, so basically when I have nothing to do or loads to do, I tend to nurture my muse. I leave my computer behind and sit in front of a notebook – preferably large and one with no lines. I bring all my colour-pens and pencils and start playing with the ideas in my head.
            The other thing I do to inspire my muse is to read about writing picture books. Much of the advice will overlap, sure! But in those corners of the Internet where other writers have hidden their wisdom, I sometimes find an idea I could use. Or even a new way to work. Or perhaps reassurance that my jumble of words will one day rearrange themselves into a masterpiece.
            The sure-fire way to get back to writing a new story, especially if words are not falling in the right order and everything seems clunky as a bronze bucket being dipped into a well, I read books – picture books, writing books and poetry books. Clever words in the right order help me un-jumble my brain too.
            So I thought I’d share some of my recent finds – some advice on writing picture books that might inspire you to write too.
            First, you’re already sitting on a gold-mine of picture book inspiration – here, this site – Picture Book Den is a good place to start. Here we have discussed anything from wasting time to writing the other.  Casting the net a bit further from home, here are some other gems I found on the Internet.

Mick Inkpen, the creator of Kipper has some wise words here.

Kate Wilson, MD of Nosy Crow books talks about rhyming picture books here

David O’Connell talks about gives some great tips on writing and finishing that picture book in your head. Get it out all out. If you’re an illustrator, don’t forget to read Sarah McIntyre’s tips here too. 

Listen to David and Sarah talking about their book Jampires.

Josh Funk, the American picture book writer gives his tips here in 12 lessons. You’re sorted for the next 12 weeks of funk.

Shoo Rayner gives advice to writers in this video. 

And finally, Natascha Biebow, a Picture Book Denner and co-chair of SCBWI British Isles writes a regular column at Words & Pictures. Check out her informative posts here

And if you're an illustrator, do check out the Illustrating Knowhow posts too.

So what are you waiting for? Browse these articles without guilt and I assure you, you'd be itching to write your own story soon. If you have a favourite article on writing or illustrating picture books, leave them in the comments section. 

Chitra Soundar is the author of over 30 books for children. Her latest picture books are You're Strong With Me, illustrated by Poonam Mistry, published by Lantana Publishing and Shubh Diwali! illustrated by Charlene Chua and published by Albert Whitman. Find out more at and follow her @csoundar on Twitter.

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