Metro Morning

Writing a children's book, one crowd-sourced line at a time

Tyler Clark Burke is an artist and author who is crowd-sourcing the text for an online picture book, one line at a time.

Toronto artist writing a children's book with other people's words

Have you ever wanted to write a children's book?

How about a page of one?

Tyler Clark Burke is an artist and author who is crowd-sourcing the text for an online picture book, one line at a time. She's turned to social media for suggestions for story lines, calling it The Exquisite Picture Book Project.

"Design by committee, could be disastrous! But I actually think it could be really fun, I'm getting great submissions," she said.

The artist is soliciting opening lines, and then after that is selected, she will ask for the next line, and then the next, and after 16 weeks, a book.

Next week she will post the first two pages.

Ever wanted to write a children's book? How about a page of one? One Toronto artist and author is crowd-sourcing the text for an online picture book, one line at a time. 5:27

On Facebook, people submit lines like: "Pink platypuses playfully pelted Petunia with potato pizzas and peach persimmon puddings."

Another opening line: "As she walked in, she saw a mime chopping carrots in her kitchen."

Or: "A dog, a cat and a bird are on vacation together, they forgot to bring their sunglasses."

It's a story that could go any way.

"I'm trying not to think about the outcome too much," said Burke, who stressed she wanted to be open.

She came up with the idea when she was writing her own children's book — a more traditional process in which she comes up with the words and the art herself. She said when you're writing a book, it's almost like a closed circuit, but the idea of soliciting others for ideas forced her to think outside the box.

She said parents and children come up with the lines together. Burke thinks people want to see their words come to life.

Many of the people who submit lines for The Exquisite Picture Book Project tell her it's been their dream to write a kids book some day, and surprisingly, not all of those people are parents.

She's finding there's a huge culture on social media of people who love children's books. "Building community is really important to me," she said.

Clark Burke is accepting submissions here for one more day.

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