I have read in numerous places that if you want to be a picture book author, you need to read every picture book in your local library from A to Z. Sounds easy enough, right? I decided to do it.
Well, I didn't pick the best day to start. I was just getting over a head cold, and I felt like my head was swimming in a vat of jell-o. I started with A and the first two books were long fables. Not my favorite. Not bad writing, mind you, just not my favorite kind of picture book. But I made it through those and kept going. Then I hit a really bad book. Wow...didn't I just write a book that sounded kind of like this dribble?...keep moving and don't look back! Then finally, something refreshing. Some books by Alma Flor Ada structured as letters by famous fairy tale characters. Really cute and funny. How had I not seen these before (perhaps too early in the alphabet when I mosey over to the shelves and browse)? And talk about voice. Each character had a very distinct voice that came through in the letter.
And then I stopped. My nose and my brain called a timeout. Whew! This is going to be harder than I thought. But I'll give it a go, and let you know how I'm progressing. I can certainly see after just one day, however, how certain books jump out from the rest. The ones with unique writing, strong voice, fresh ideas....versus, well you know (i.e., the backlog of crappy ideas floating in my files!).