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Blog: This Writing Life


  • Writer's pictureMelissa Stoller

When Inspiration Strikes

This post first appeared on #BookBlastoff.

Here’s a short pitch for my next picture book, RETURN OF THE MAGIC PAINTBRUSH: Magic Paintbrush misses painting with Scarlet. When a new character causes all of Scarlet’s colors to disappear, Brush will do everything in her power to get the colors back and save her friendship with Scarlet. So what was my inspiration behind this project? I knew I wanted to write a sequel for SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (illustrated by Sandie Sonke, Clear Fork Publishing, 2018). In fact, I added an art note at the end of Scarlet’s story leaving the door open for this possibility. Then the fun began. I brainstormed about how to write a sequel that could stand on its own and also be a worthy successor to my debut picture book. The underlying story and themes of SCARLET included leaving behind the search for perfection and relying on one’s own creativity. I knew that these themes could be touched upon in the sequel but I had to move forward with a new story and new characters. Also, I decided to write the sequel from the magic paintbrush’s point of view. I asked myself several questions as I was considering the sequel: How did Brush feel about being so bossy regarding what Scarlet painted? Did Brush miss painting with Scarlet? What was Brush willing to do in order to save her friendship with Scarlet? And how did magic factor into this story? Through answering these questions, I knew that the sequel would focus on friendship. Because ultimately, friendship and connection are the most important parts of Brush’s relationship with Scarlet. I am thrilled that Sandie Sonke is illustrating RETURN OF THE MAGIC PAINTBRUSH, releasing from Clear Fork Publishing/SPORK in Fall 2019. And the marvelous Mira Reisberg is editing/art directing again. I can’t wait to see Sandie’s magical vision for the returning Brush and Scarlet, as well as the new characters and scenes. * * * I love hearing about how writing inspiration strikes – please share your inspiration in the comments. Happy writing and creating!


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