Sunday, October 25, 2009

Makeover Time

October has been busy, but I have found time to work on a few things. Most recently, I have started revising one of the very first stories I wrote, "Wobblejohn." It's been pulled out and dusted off for possible submission to the annual Highlights fiction contest.

The theme this year is a real experience from your family. Wobblejohn was a goose that lived with our family for a summer. He was a Canadian goose born with a lot of problems. One eye was missing; one leg was shorter than the other; and most curiously, his head was cocked to the side, like he was thinking about something all the time. Believe it or not, we (meaning my mom and I) taught Wobblejohn how to fly that summer. And it wasn't that hard. All we had to do was run through the yard flapping our "wings." (Okay, embarrassing, but not hard!) Amazingly, he learned to fly. He left us to go on the yearly migration with his brothers and sisters, so we thought we would never see him again. But he did come back, and his spunk has stuck with me all these years. I hope I can do him justice in the story (although I doubt I will...he was a pretty special little guy).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Grandpa Bill Gets "Dummied"

This week I wrote out my "Grandpa Bill" story in dummy-book form. This means that I placed the text of the manuscript into a 32-page format (typical for most picture books). And I don't just divide the text on my manuscript page. I actually put the text onto 32 separate pages of a real book that I can "read." I always learn a ton from doing this. For instance, I'm better able to visualize the pictures that might appear on each page, and I can see where I've provided too much description, or not enough visual interest. I can also get a feel for the rhythm of the book, which is key to a great picture book writing. Even if a book doesn't rhyme (and most of mine don't), they need to have a lilting, easy speech. Or a parent will never want to read it again! We have a few of those at my house...hidden somewhere!