Elise Primavera is the author of Thumb Love, a humorous look at Lulu who goes through a 12-step program to quit thumb-sucking. Elise’s guest blog post deals with writing Thumb Love, which deals with the universal theme of thumb sucking, as well as with getting published as an author. Click here to view the book trailer for Thumb Love, which was just released in stores earlier this week. (Please note: A review copy of Thumb Love was provided by Random House.)
One day I was fooling around with a few ideas that I wanted to turn into picture books. I had several. One was a bedtime story about a stuffed animal, another was a story about a very neat family called the Neatolinis, another was a love story and one was about thumb sucking. I thought the idea about thumb sucking had a lot of potential because it was fraught with so many different emotions: comfort, embarrassment, happiness, anxiety, shame. And—let’s face it thumb sucking is funny!
I’ve spent years writing a single picture book. I write, I get stuck, I put it away, I take it out, I rewrite, I put it away, I take it out six months later. I just worked on a picture book where I totally rewrote it as a chapter book and then a few weeks later rewrote it as a picture book again. But this was not the case with THUMB LOVE.
The idea of using the twelve step program immediately came to me and I was off and running. Having that as a format made it clear that all I had to do was come up with the main character, Lulu (my dog’s name), her story, and then the steps.
I’ve been writing stories for kids since the early 80’s and a lot has changed since then. But the one thing that never changes is that we all want to be told a story. Tell me a story. That’s something that I say to myself whether I’m writing a picture book or a novel. It really just comes down to that.
I think for anyone learning how to do this the best thing they can remember is not to get discouraged. The most important lesson I learned is about the first draft. The first draft is where you get it all out. I don’t edit myself. I try not to judge, I try to just keep going and tell the story. After that other ideas always occur and there could be many revisions. But it’s all such an adventure to see where your ideas and the writing will take you. It’s what’s kept me going!
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