Storystorm 2020: A Month’s Worth of Ideas

What is Storystorm?
It’s a month-long story brainstorming event started by author and Highlights Foundation faculty member Tara Lazar.

Tired of watching novelists have all the fun in November with NaNoWriMo, Tara created Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) in 2009 as a 30-day challenge for picture book writers. In 2017, PiBoIdMo was moved to January and the name changed to Storystorm to reflect a broader scope. Any writer eager to brainstorm ideas can now participate–professionals, amateurs, teachers and students.

Tara writes: the Storystorm challenge is to create 30 story ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes!) You don’t need potential best-seller ideas.

You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas. Your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass. Eventually, you will have a list of ideas to flesh out into concepts and premises in the coming year.

As a way to inspire Storystormers, Tara’s blog has daily posts in January by authors, illustrators, editors and other publishing professionals. Here are some of this year’s posts:

Jill Esbaum Knocks the Rust Off Her Receptor Antennae
Jill shares where she got a few good ideas that ended up being books!

Traci Sorell Finds Inspiration in Form and Structure
Traci talks about how books by other writers can inspire you to write your own.

Hope Lim Lets Her Ideas Evolve
Hope writes about finding inspiration outside, and also about how the revision process improves her stories.

Joana Pastro’s Senses Search for Prompts
Joana talks about finding–and pursuing–writing prompts.

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen Grabs Feedback
Feedback: all writers need it! Sudipta talks about using feedback to move you forward.

Heidi E. Y. Stemple Loves Non-Fiction Ideas
And in this blog post, she talks about how she finds them and what she does with them!

This is only a few of this year’s blog posts. Find more at

Posted on: January 29, 2020

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