A Month of Brainstorming

Storystorm January writing challenge

Just want to give another shout-out to Tara Lazar and her amazing Storystorm January writing challenge. For 31 days, writers (primarily picture book writers) try to come up with 30 potential story ideas. These ideas can be a snippet of a scene, a character sketch, a plot idea or just about anything that sparks a potential story idea. The goal is not to create a whole story, but a notebook (or computer file) filled with potential ideas that you can work on throughout the year. I’m a bit behind in this year’s challenge – thank you Flu B — but I hope to catch up. Even if I don’t come out with 30 ideas, the sheer practice of sitting down and just seeing what comes to mind is great brainstorming practice.

The Winding Road of Fiction

Admittedly, I sometimes have a hard time motivating myself without a firm deadline. I like deadlines. They keep me on track and remind me of the days when I worked at the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia and had to juggle 2-4 stories a week. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

So when I arranged a deadline for the second book in the Layla’s diary series, I figured it would be a no-brainer.

I was WRONG!

Writing fiction uses a very different mental muscle from journalism. There’s no road map for how to pull it all together. (I cannot plot a book. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for me.) I just have to travel the road the story wants to take and sometimes it meanders when it should be going straight ahead. Sometimes detours challenge the narrative I am hoping to tell.

I’m back on the right road now. I turned in the edits to Layla’s diary book two, Layla’s Sugarland Adventure, and have started book five in the Achdus Club series.

I want to thank all the bookstores, grandparents, parents and kids who have been asking for a new release. I can’t tell you what your interest has meant to me. Stay tuned, book two is coming and here’s your sneak peek.

Page 1 Layla's diary series
Page one of Layla’s Sugarland Adventure!

And in case you are interested in some of my newest nonfiction stories, check out: