Saturday, August 22, 2009

Picture Book Fun

It's been a while since I've done any picture book writing. In fact, my last picture book, Ten Naughty Little Monkeys, a takeoff on the familiar jump rope rhyme, was published three years ago. In the interim, I've been writing lots of series fiction, the latest being the series that Joan Holub and I are co-authoring. (Goddess Girls, April 2010). Anyway, with Book #3 (of 4) off to copy-editing, and Book #4 with our editor, I find I have time to consider my next project(s).

Instead of rushing into more series work right away, though I do have a few proposals making the rounds, I've decided to take some time to work on picture books. To prepare myself for the mental switch involved, I went to my local public library and asked the wonderful children's librarians to point me toward some of their favorite picture books published in the last few years. After reading them, I actually typed the stories out to get a "feel" again for picture books texts--the pacing, the dialogue, the characters, etc. I also took note of the word counts, which have gotten shorter and shorter over the years. Then I went through my files and pulled out a couple of stories I'd written a few years ago. These were stories that never sold, but that I still liked.

Yesterday I revised one of these stories. At 1200 words, it was way too long, I realized. I cut the length by a third, tightening the story, and creating more space for illustrations as well. It was fun to work on the story again, and since it had been several years since I'd read it, it was also easier to see the flaws that needed correction. Time will tell whether my revised version will sell, but at least I had fun with the process!

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