4/25/13

Middle Grade Novel vs. Picture book

As I mentioned before, I have no clue how to write a picture book. When I attended the local SCBWI conference last Saturday, I was all ears listening to an art director break down a picture book.

So I finished writing one. It's just like writing a regular book.
  • It has a beginning, a middle and and end.
  • It has action. It has adventure. And it has an 'all is lost' moment.
  • It has a story arc. It has a character arc.
  • It has a little twist in the end.
  • It has varying sentence structure. It has a few complicated words.
  • The story builds upon every scene 
And it's less than 900 words in length. It should be closer to 500 words, but when I took out my descriptions of various things, it didn't make sense. This will take many, many more edits to tweak.

What it doesn't have is:
  • rhyming
  • a 'lesson'. Though you could read one into the story, I didn't write this story to teach or preach to a kid. (and if you know me at all--that's my one pet peeve about literature classes--can't people simply write a good story? I mean, what if there really wasn't a deep meaning to Moby Dick when it was written? Why do lit teachers see 'symbolism' in everything?) . . . sorry, rant over.
One other factor that is a MUST with a picture book, is the fact that it is read out loud . . . sometimes many, many times. The text must make the speaking fun and easy.

The editing is just as intense as editing a longer novel, though editing 3-4 pages is a piece of cake vs. 300 pages. You want the words to flow in a longer novel, but the words are read in your head versus out loud. When you do edit a novel, a good trick is to read it out loud so your ear can catch all the inaccuracies.

Anyhoo, I'm at the editing stage of this story . . . and managed to add a 100 words! Eeeeek!

I'm supposed to be cutting words, not adding them!

Here's the sitch: When I wrote this story titled, for lack of anything better at this point in time, "Go Away, Piper!" I added many, many descriptions as part of the process. I wanted to visualize the scene. When I cut all the descriptors, there were some serious issues with flow and cohesion--I had to add some words back to the story.

Over the next week, I'll periodically mull this story over, tweaking it as necessary and then write a query letter before I send it out.

One of the reasons I attended the SCBWI conference was to get direct contact to editors. This gives me a foot in the door.

Whether or not my story is strong enough for them to want to publish it is a whole other problem.

But that's another blog post.

Later, Peeps!

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