Purple Horses

A fried egg? Or the Millennium Falcon?
A fried egg? Or the Millennium Falcon?

“A parent saw a child drawing a horse, and it was purple. The parent asked the child, “Why are you drawing a purple horse? I’ve never seen purple horses.” To which the child replied, “How sad for you.”

I kick off with this quote in Get Started in Writing an Illustrated Children’s Book. I can’t remember who said it, but it’s stayed in my head for around twenty-five years, and so naturally I had to use it. Seeing purple horses has always struck me as a vital aspect of being a children’s writer.

It doesn’t specifically have to be a purple horse. It could be a shape in the fog, a tree masquerading as a ship, Bishop Brennan’s face in the skirting board. A log that might be a guinea pig if you squint. Something which proves that your brain is malleable and open to alternatives.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen? Could it be the start of a story?

Get Started in Writing an Illustrated Children’s Book, publishing November 2016.

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