Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
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Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories

by

Artwork: Rotem Omri

After fruitful careers as a scientist and inventor I've gone back to what I love most - writing children's books Read More
  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Published Books 1532

This book summarizes some of the material I presented last year for SCBWI. Unfortunately, the video of the actual presentation is not available, but you are welcome to have a look here and try out the tips and exercises.

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Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

As a young child, picture books were my refuge…

As a young adult, I toyed with the notion of becoming a children’s writer, but ended up becoming a scientist and inventor.

As a scientist, I had to rely on my ability to come up with new ideas, mainly because I was such a lousy experimentalist.

But where did these new ideas come from? Was there some rational scheme to enable me to recreate the process?

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Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

In 2006, Dr. Alon Amit and I began to give courses in “Multidisciplinary Creative Thinking”, primarily to engineering students.

Again, we found that most of the literature and exercises concentrated on ‘problem solving’, rather than the concept of ‘coming up with new ideas’. So we created our own techniques, including 48create (opposite) which is free and fun to use.

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Starting in 2016, I started taking my pb writing more seriously and attended the SCBWI conference in New York….

I found road maps, oodles of books, seminars on everything PB-related, but relatively little on the cognitive road map for coming up with ideas. Again, the same issue.

Hey, but that doesn’t make sense. After all, it should be rather easy to analyze the basis for  successful book ideas, shouldn’t it?

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They are twisted, twilight ideas (‘twideas’), juxtapositions, surprising, incongruous, wrong, childish, unexpected. But wherever do they come from?

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Some examples might include:

Adopting a squash as a pet

A first-grader who eats her classmates

A mouse who frightens a monster

A school’s first day of school

A gentle bull in a china shop And

A visiting alien who decides that dogs are the master race.

 

 

 

 

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While I was preparing this workshop, I remembered the conversation I had with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor several months ago about her new book on our four mind characters….

Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life – Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

illustration on next page from:

https://www.drjilltaylor.com/this-is-a-press-headline-and-it-can-be-pretty-long-and-even-go-on-two-lines-if-it-has-to-3/

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Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

Pay attention in particular to minutes 18-21.

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Character 1 – left brain thinking

verbal, thinks in language, thinks linearly, focused on details, judgmental, concise/precise, conscious, structure/order, categorizes well, critically judges right and wrong

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Character 3- right brain emotional

expansive, open, experiential, risk taking, fearless, friendly, kind, empathic, sharing, playful, joyful, goes with the flow, chaotic, curious, innovative.

Exactly!

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The only problem being that….

CHARACTER 3 DOESN’T READ.

CHARACTER 3 DOESN’T SIGN UP FOR SEMINARS,LECTURES, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS!

CHARACTER 3 WANTS TO BE IN THE MOMENT, BE SILLY, SING, BARK, MESS THINGS UP AND HAVE FUN!

 

 

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Exercise: EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES

Take a rose/yogurt/honey/chocolate/etc.

Make a list of five things that are connected with it.

Now make a list of five things that are absolutely not connected with it.

 

Next: Have fun making the unexpected and absurd connections.

 

 

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OUT OF CHARACTER

If you were writing a story about a plumber/fisherman/movie star/superhero, then…

a. which is the LAST animal you would consider casting as your main character?

b. what unexpected things would the character have in his/her pocket?

 

 

 

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Exercise: Invent New Words for Fun if not Profit

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Exercise. 48Create. Instructions here:

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Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com

Summary:

New ideas pour in the moment your linear, serious, “mind number one” relinquishes control and invites your spontaneous, mistake-loving, childish, juxtemporaneous “mind number three” to join in for some mischievous brain fun.

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Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
Expecting the Unexpected: Creating Ideas for Children’s Stories by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Illustrated by Rotem Omri - Ourboox.com
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Ourboox.com

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It's simple and free.

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