“Where do you get your ideas?”
Asked where the baby monsters that people my quirky rhyming lullaby came from, I can say one of three things:
- “Go to Sleep, Little Creep” was an improvised lullaby my Wise Wife and I would sing to our infant daughter Olivia.
- It mutated from a Looney Tune earworm planted in my fertile baby brain decades ago, as Sylvester the Cat sang to Elmer Fudd, “Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep, Close your Big Bloodshot Eyes…”
- It was a placeholder hook spontaneously thrown into proposal mode when two different production company and a book publisher asked me, “What are you writing next, David?”
Asked where the baby monsters came from, I can say one of these three things – and they would all be true.
- Lullaby: She may cringe when we sing her awake in the morning, but Olivia always loved it when Wise Wife and I sang her to sleep. Traditional lullabies, gentle pop, jazz vocalese… and even improvisations like “Go to Sleep, Little Creep.” (And what’s your favorite, kiddo?) Good night, my Wolf Girls.
- Looney Tune: Show, don’t tell, remember?
- What’s next?: One pragmatic hack I’ll never forget from writing for comic books and film: always have an answer to “What else have you got, David?” Oh yeah, have an answer even if you make it up on the spot. Some call that BS, but I call it inspiration. So, quick story, it’s 2009-10, artist Devon Devereaux are actively producing The Littlest B****: A Not for Children Children’s Book ™ for our editor Mark at Sellers Publishing and we get the question, “What’s next?”
Then the same question from a producer within Disney XD.
Then concept co-creator Michael Davis and I get the “What’s next?” again from Wild Brain, fun little company doing Yo Gabba Gabba at that time.
You get my point. “Go to Sleep…” was on my pitch list for years before I finally wrote (and rewrote and rewrote…) and finally sold it via my Agent and Sister from Another Mister, Bernadette Baker Baughman.
From a pitch doc
It may take years for hooks to grow up to be books – nothing can happen till the writer’s done the writer’s work, but you have to have the hooks primed and ready when they ask, “What’s next?”
Of course, the creeps would never have yowled to life without the talented Ashley Spires, who fleshed and furred them out to full life on the page, and their godmother and editor supreme, Phoebe Yeh, backed by her team at Crown Books for Young Readers. I’ll have more to say about their talents in future blogs.
Wise Wife’s Bitmoji
Go to Sleep, Little Creep, Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
On Sale Jul 24, 2018
Copyright 2018, David Quinn
Illustrations copyright 2018 Ashley Spires