Storystorm is a movement- yeah I think I could call it a movement- created by Tara Lazar in which writers take on the challenge of coming up with a picture book idea a day for the month of January. It’s a month of brainstorming for stories. Hence, Storystorm. The goal is to end the month with 30 new ideas to have in the holster.
Sounds like fun, so I’m going to try it. I don’t imagine I’ll find too many gems here, but I hope to mine for some coal that can be refined over time and polished into diamonds. I don’t know if gems come from coal, but it’s all rocks (are gems even rocks, actually? I could just look it up, but I’m not going to. I’m saving my effort for the actual ideas, not the metaphor about the ideas). And I’m going to share my ideas here, and hopefully turn this into a collaborative experience. I’ll throw out the initial impulse, and hopefully it’ll inspire something in someone else, and inspire something else in someone else and who knows how many different stories can be inspired from one seed. All I ask is you add something to the initial idea in the comments, show how you’re making it your own and taking it somewhere further than it was when you found it. Then I give you my blessing to take it.
So here we go:
I’ll be honest, I had this idea today and started flowing with it here but as I was storming it, it kept coming until the idea was so specific and detailed and completed, it became completely not right for here. What fun would it be to take a full idea with a beginning, middle and end, populated with characters with a clear goal, obstacle and triumph and then ask people, “Okay, where would you take this?”
But I was just listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and the song “Satisfied” came on. I’m not going to sit here and get into whether it’s a good song or not. Tony already decided it’s a good song. But there’s a lyric that stood out to my Day-Is-Coming-To-An-End-And-I-Haven’t-Come-Up-With-My-Idea-Prompt-Yet ear.
Angelica Schuyler: Where’s your family from?
Alexander Hamilton: Unimportant. There’s a million things I haven’t done. Just you wait.
Hamilton has these big dreams. He’s all about what he’s going to do. Who else does that apply to more than children who have their whole lives ahead of them? So what are the million things a child could do? When you’re young, everything is still possible, so don’t think about which you have to sacrifice for another. How would a child set up a training regiment that allows them to do all million things? Is there a way to do all million things? What if a story goes through the life of a child who wants to do a million things. This child trains for it all. Does a few of them, but time passes and then the child is a grown up and it’s getting harder to do all these things., and the child-turned-grown up gets a little down because s/he recognizes s/he won’t get all these things done. But this child-turned-grown up has a child of her/his own, with a million new things that haven’t been done. And all of the sudden this child-turned-grown up sees a million new things to do.
Or maybe the kid does a million things. That first way is the sentimental story. Actually doing a million things, though, can be a fun, inspiring way to go. As the story progresses, some of the million things on the list have be combined in creative ways. Some corners need to be cut. But a million things is a lot of stuff to do. And a million ways this story could go.