When Picture Book Characters Evolve - Lynne Garner

Sometime in 2007 I started working on a picture book idea which featured a mischievous rabbit by the name of Cottontail and his annoying little sister. I loved the idea.  But it didn’t matter how many drafts I wrote, ‘their’ story wasn’t working. So, the story was filed away in my WIP (work in progress) file.


Burdock's favourite toy
A year later I started a book illustration course. I decided I’d resurrect this story and reconnect with my two characters. I hoped by drawing them the story would ‘write’ itself. However, as I worked the original characters evolved into Burdock the rabbit, who had adventures with his toy rabbit. Again, I fell in love with the characters, but the story wasn’t quite right. So, into the WIP file it went.


Five years later I was clearing out my files and rediscovered Burdock and tried again to write a story that worked. Eventually after a rename and many rewrites I reached the point where I felt I could send to a freelance proof-reader come editor. After she’d worked her magic and with a lot of support from some very clever people a set of book apps featuring Burdock Rabbit and his toy rabbit were release. A year later, I decided (I have no idea why) to design a crochet pattern for Burdock’s toy rabbit. 


Whilst researching how to do this I fell down the internet ‘rabbit hole’ and rediscovered Brer Rabbit. I was surprised to find that Enid Blyton (whose versions I had enjoyed as a child) wasn’t the first author to write about this character. I couldn’t help myself and found eBook versions of the originals, which were written in the late 1800s. The results of this reading resulted in my third self-published short story book, Ten Tales of Brer Rabbit in 2017.


Last year I decided to try my hand at script writing. I was extremely lucky to find a wonderful mentor, who is supporting me in my endeavours. Having fell in love with Brer Rabbit I decided to use my versions of his stories as my starting point. As I've worked on my scripts I've discovered I'm using some of my picture book writing skills, both being very visual forms of story telling. I’ve also realised my latest character is made up of little bits of Cottontail, Burdock, and Brer Rabbit.


So, although those very first picture book stories still languish in my WIP file little hints of the characters are creeping into my first set of scripts. 






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