Sifting Through the Colorful Mess of a Brainstorm – April Theme from Tamera Wissinger

When I brainstorm on paper it's messy. Here is a small example of what mine can look like:

This was a brainstorm for a picture book that I was working on a while back. By the time I come to this stage, I know the basic concept that I’m after, but I need to figure out how to make it come together. For me that includes doodling, using colorful pens, making a mess on paper to get all of the ideas out of my brain, and generating new ideas and connections that I hadn’t been considering. Then it’s a process of sifting through the mess to find something cohesive that will stick together. Something that might someday become a book. That’s what happened with this brainstorm. After a long wait and many versions, those messy brainstorm notes became a picture book that released earlier this year called THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO GOBBLED A SKINK. It’s from Sky Pony Press and illustrated by Ana Bermejo.

From brainstorm to book!
I know this isn’t the right process for everyone, but it’s the one that works for me whether I’m brainstorming a picture book, a single poem, or a middle grade novel. How do you brainstorm?


Tamera Wissinger writes stories and poetry for children including Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse from HMH Children’s, This Old Band, and There Was An Old Lady Who Gobbled a Skink from Sky Pony Press. Her second middle grade story, Gone Camping: A Novel in Verse (HMH), is also a product of the colorful messy brainstorm process and arrives in 2017. You can connect with Tamera online at her website, on Twitter, or on Facebook.


  1. Thanks for sharing your brainstorm Tamera. I love the free form style and color. I'm going to try that for my current "stuck in the middle" project. Maybe it will help me unstick!

  2. It's all about knowing what process works for you!

  3. Plus, any excuse to go out and buy a bunch of colored pens works for me...

  4. Plus, any excuse to go out and buy a bunch of colored pens works for me...


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