What is this, then? This is a silly idea that I had when I was thinking about what I wanted to work on that caught on in the insides of my skull. I thought "I need a specific project with some focus". I thought "I need a structured challenge". I thought "I need to get writing productively and work my mojo". All these assessments coalesced and ultimately culminated in me saying "I need to write something every day for a set period of time! I need to once again embrace a focused mission over an exact, agreed length period of time!"
It's an ideal moment to launch a fresh project as well because a new month is upon us. 'March Madness' is apparently a thing in American sports and it's suitably catchy so I'm going to pinch it and bring my own bit of March Madness to the next 31 days. It also helps that the idea I'm embracing and running with is slightly insane. What I intend to do every day for the next 31 days is write a picture book story. It's like NaNoWriMo - which I may do one of these Novembers - except I'm going to finish lots of little tales that are designed to be accompanied by images.
I love visual stories and sequential narratives (comics, graphic novels, illustrated tales, picture books, etc.) and I love writing them. I script a webcomic and have several complete stories lying around (my favourite involves a lonely cat meeting the Sicilian Mafia) but I'm still itchy. I want to write more and ultimately see the things I scribe up visualised by artists (I'm a scribblish doodler but want better, more gifted hands than mine to draw these things) and, ideally, pushed out by publishers.
First and foremost though, the main issue is putting vague notions down on paper and making content. Thus, I'm applying myself to a trial which guarantees I produce material. As an exercise it's good writing practice that provides an intellectual and imaginative challenge. I'm interested to see what I come up with under pressure and I want to observe how my mind works and see the shape, character and nature of the 31 stories I'll have at the cut-off point.
Part of me also wants to see how eclectic the range is and whether my inclination towards 'dark' or 'disturbing' dominates. (I'd say that the majority of what I've already written in a picture book format would be filed under the 'adult', 'niche' or 'alternative kids' category. Mainstream wisdom dictates that kids don't like horror, grossness or surreal to which I cry "bullshit!")
I'm going to blog along my mini-adventure and talk about ze process 'cause it'll help me clarify my thoughts and it might interest people. This adventure has the potential to be anxiety-inducing but I know I'm going to have a lot of fun while wrestling with ideas and attempting to write up a storm on a daily basis. In fact, even if I end up with a month's worth of truly atrocious tales, I'm gonna have a blast anyway. I live to create and creating is living.
Hopefully you readers (well done for sticking around this long and thanks in advance for hanging around), will also find some enjoyment, if only from seeing what kind of half-baked concepts I cook up when my brain is on overdrive. If any actual accompanying artwork or publishing (of the proper book-you-can-leaf-through-and-smell variety or online) happens then that's brilliant, but the main thing is me being systematically creative and producing stuff.
We'll see what happens. All I know for sure is that come April Fools' Day I'll have 31 manuscripts, a sense of achievement and hopefully at least one piece of work that I'm proud of. One day I'll read it to my kids if they survive the trauma of being born through 200db Blitzkrieg Bop.
Here goes March Madness, then. Hey ho! Let's go!