By Donna L Martin
It doesn’t matter how old I become, I think I will always love the smell and feel of play dough. Life can be full of twisty challenges and hard decisions sometimes but nothing reduces the chaos of a hectic existence like sinking your fingers into a can of the squishy stuff. I even use it to help me take a budding picture book idea and turn it into a fully developed story.
So you’ve thought up a main character for your picture book. Now what? Do they remain one dimensional or do you add layers personality traits to create a character your readers will connect with? I love making little pizzas and hamburgers with playdough…layering things up until I have turned a simple crust or patty into a masterpiece.
You’ve created a multi layered main characters. Maybe you’ve even created some minor characters to go along with it. Now you have to think about the world you will invent to support your story line. Don’t be afraid to use all those bright play dough colors to build a place your main character would be proud to be a part of. Does your main character live under the sea? On a mountain top? Down on the farm? You get to decide where your main character will live…just make sure it’s somewhere your readers will want to be as well.
Sometimes writers can start out with a great world and a strong main character but end up with nowhere to take them. Their plot just ends up being a jumbled mess of colors with no smooth transitions from point A to point B. I have discovered some of the prettiest colors in play dough land are the ones that come from blending two very different colors into a stronger, more vibrant one. Storylines can evolve in much the same way. With a little brainstorming and a little blending of the best parts of several ideas, writers can create a vision their main character (and their readers) find believable. Then it’s just a matter of laying down the rainbow path for them to follow.
Don’t be afraid to explore the world of play dough. The mashy, mushy, squishy, squashy land of creative play flowing from the worlds of your imagination onto paper or computer screen to be shared with a waiting audience. Just imagine what you can create next!
A treasure map leading to the lost city of Atlantis?
A vial of dragon’s blood?
The key to a fairy’s home?
A set of glowing stones?
What could you add to this list of possibilities?
Children’s book author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, middle grade chapter books and young adult novels by night. Agented by Jessica Schmeidler of GOLDEN WHEAT LITERARY. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins Christian Publishing as part of their Book Look Blogger division and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, good stories, and an adoptive mom to 20-pound guard kitty in Knoxville, Tennessee.
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2015 Summer Sparks post:
- Family Celebration by Tracey M. Cox
- Back Where I Come From by Tracey M. Cox
- The Benefits of Playdough: Molding your PB Idea Into A Story by Donna L. Martin
- Go Jump In a Lake by Tracey M. Cox
- Take a Vacay! by Tracey M. Cox
- How to Rhyme Right in a Picture Book Manuscript by Nancy Raines Day
- Don’t You Know that You Are a Shooting Star? by Tracey M. Cox
- Sun Burst by Tracey M. Cox
- Writing Tips from the Big Bad Writer by Pat Miller
- Get Out! by Tracey M. Cox
- Pieces by Tracey M. Cox
- Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson
- Do the Twist by Tracey M. Cox
- Celebrate! by Tracey M. Cox