Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Fun of Experimenting

I haven’t posted in a little while now, but I think I have a pretty decent justification. In addition to the semester ramping up, I’ve been busy with my last revisions on my YA manuscript…and doing something else entirely.

Writing a picture book.

In the past, I didn’t see myself as a picture book writer. I’m not sure why. I love picture books and read A LOT of them to my 3 year old. I guess I never thought I’d be any good at it. My brain didn’t seem to work that way—I was too busy plotting out teenage drama and romantic interludes for my YA characters. :)  But then an idea for a picture book came to me and I started jotting some notes down. You know, just hypothetically.

Over Christmas break, I had some time on my hands and I figured I’d at least try. What’s the worst that could happen? So I started writing—in rhyme of all things—and a crazy thing happened.

I became obsessed.

Every evening I would pull up the text and start playing with the stanzas. Changing one line out for another. Using a different rhyme or trying a different verb. Writing a picture book is so different from writing a novel. There’s something both wonderful and horrifying about having only 300 words to tell an entire story. I do love being able to see the entire manuscript on one page, but BOY does every word count!

Once I got it into decent condition, I started sharing it with others. My friends, family, beta readers, and members of SCBWI had some really positive comments about the story, as well as helpful suggestions. Over the last few months I’ve continued to revise the story and recently I began to send it out into the wild world of publishing. 

It’s hard to say what, if anything, will happen with this story about a rat who wants to sculpt cheese instead of eat it. But I know I love it. And I’m really proud that I pushed myself outside my novel-writing comfort zone and expanded into a new genre. I’m already working on ideas for two more picture books and I hope the experience continues to be just as fulfilling. This is definitely a testament to being open-minded and allowing yourself to play (as the wonderful Sarah Aronson wisely recommends)!

Finally, as always, I’m including a picture of my sticker calendar. (I’m a day late posting it but who’s counting!)