This is a micro post week. I'm chin deep in dummy book art for a collaborative picture book that hopes to travel to an editor's desk by May 1st. The images are seared into my eyeballs and they chase me to bed. They feel raw, rough, like a scruffy street orphan. I'm a fine artist with no digital skills so everything's freehand. I have no subjects to model for the dummy and I'm not used to pulling figures from my imagination, much less scenes. My art always relied on concrete references, photos or real life.
There's no turning back now. I made a committment and I'm pouring myself into this project. It's consumed most of my creative energy for the last few weeks. My other stories lay neglected. The dust in my house grows daily. And the condition is likely to worsen. This weekend I'm participating in a day long workshop with author Joyce Sweeney. I'm very excited to learn from her. I'm also hoping to attend SCBWI's summer conference, God willing. That requires other stories be sharpened and another dummy book drawn. Aiyiiii . . . no time, gotta run!
I've entered the second week of the sixteen-week dummy book challenge on kidlitart. We started last week by brainstorming story ideas. I already knew my subject, a terrier puppy, but what was she up to in this picture book? I envisoned her leaving her mother and going to a new home. How would she deal with it? What was her goal and what obstacles would she overcome in roughly twenty-eight pages, 500 words or less? During the week, I ran ideas past my husband and eventually, the story jelled.
Our assignment this week is to create the first draft so yesterday, I siphoned the story from my head through computer keys to a file. But the visual part of me wasn't satisfied with that and I'm betting I wasn't the only artist crafting scenes in my head. Tomorrow, I'll start thumbnail sketches. I'd like to have a rough storyboard to present for critique next week . . . if I'm accepted back to the PB&J group. I'm still waiting to hear. There's a tiny person pacing in my head! I sent the request last week when PB&Jers were preparing to leave for the SCBWI conference in Miami. Not the best timing. Rob Sanders, the group leader is posting about the event all week on his blog, Picture This! He's a fantastic motivator, never failing to inspire and lift spirits.
It's good to start the year with a new project. Your mind hums with possibilities . . . that the story will blossom and the sketches turn into memorable art. That phrase "Don't get your hopes up" was never meant for writers. Writers hope every story they start will soar. Unpublished writers hope agents and editors will see the potential in their books. Published writers hope readers will love their characters and get lost in their stories. I hope for the confidence to finish this book.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist. And creatures, always creatures. I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti of Dunham Lit.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor