Plot. H’what is this mysterious thing known as a plot? The plot is very important. It defines half of the things that happen in the story (the characters define the other half). Great, we know that a plot is important, but how in the world do you find one?
You have two choices. Either follow en masse and pen a picture book about sparkly vampires and their serious need to visit a dermatologist, or be inspired. Might I suggest the second option?
First, think about your life. Any particular anecdotes that spring to mind? Can you change it a little so that it applies to children? For a serious example, say that, for a few years now, you’ve wanted to get rid of your old Toyota and buy that luxurious Porsche, and finally you’ve saved up the money. However, before you can buy your dream-hicle, your aunt falls down some steps and breaks her hip. Even though you really want that expensive gas-guzzler, you give up the money so your auntie can walk again. Well, move that into a kids’ universe. Tami wants to purchase an expensive new doll that costs, say, twenty dollars. Tommy, her brother, scoffs at the saving. They both receive five dollars a week as an allowance. Every weekday, the ice-cream man comes around, selling cones a dollar each. Tommy buys a cone each day, spending all five dollars the week. Even though Tami truly wants a cone and can’t stand her brother eating one, she keeps on saving her money. At the end of the month, Tami has twenty dollars and Tommy has none, having wasted it all. Proudly, Tami prepares to buy the doll. On the day before, however, Tommy accidentally breaks his knee playing soccer. Tommy can’t play soccer now, and he’s terribly upset. Tami swallows her pride and, to make Tommy feel better, she spends her twenty dollars on a soccer-ball-player action-figure. Tommy thanks Tami, but Tami is sad because she didn’t buy that doll she wanted. Two months later, it’s Tami’s birthday, and Tommy, having saved all of his allowance, gives Tami two dolls—one for her, and one for him to play with her. Tommy agrees to play dolls with Tami. Tami knows that she did the right thing. It’s a lesson in giving gifts, in savings, and in one good deed deserves another. Your life experience was just turned into Tami’s Gift, a picture book.
Next time, I’ll discuss nature as an inspiration.