Sunday, May 1, 2016

Picture Book: self-editing checklist

Update:  I'm pleased to report that I've finished self-editing (re-writing) all but one of those picture books that were on my list of summer writing projects. I've also found more picture book publishers to send them to.


(all photos have been taken by Leanne Dyck on Mayne Island--unless otherwise stated)

Like a sponge, I've been soaking up a lot of information about writing picture books. All this learning has not gone to waste. Since March 2015, I've written seventeen manuscripts in this genre. Most of these manuscripts are currently in publishing house slush piles. Some manuscripts have been sent back and require re-writing. They are on my list of Summer writing projects. Not wanting the sponge to be dry when I set down to work, I've developed the following check-list. 

-Check spelling, punctuation and grammar

To help me with this, I have...

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White

Handbook for Writers by Jane Flick and Celia Millward

-Does the beginning introduce the setting, main character and story problem?
'Enduring picture books must be about something bigger than a mere incident. The story problem must explore some large theme or issue. It must have a kernel of truth about life and our world.' (p. 23 Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul)

-Is the story compelling?

Please click the link to read this helpful article:  21 tips for creating compelling short stories

-Are there conflicts that the main character must overcome? How many?

Please click the link to read this helpful article:  How to create tension in a story in 8 ways

-Does the text leave room for the illustrator?
'The illustrator's pictures are the narrative of our words. That's why we don't need to write long descriptions. The picture will show what the character looks like. They will show the setting. Trust the creativity of the artist.' (p. 157 - 158 Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul)

-Do the characters speak appropriately? 

Hmm, speak appropriately? You might think this is about censorship--but, nope.

Keep in mind that people rarely talk in grammatically correct sentences. 

Remember the age of your protagonist. Ask yourself if someone that age talks like your character does. If not, is there a reason. If there isn't a reason, re-write the dialogue.

Read your dialogue out loud. Does it flow?

-Does the ending solve the story problem and tie up the loose ends?

More...

Please click the link to read these helpful articles...

Try this Picture Book editing checklist


Top 10 Tips for Picture Book Success



Next post:  (May 8 approximately 5 pm PST):  Book review of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
I read a lot of King--I'll explain why



Sharing my Author Journey...
June is usually a very productive month of me. I wondered why and then I figured it out...


 You see, every year I write a list of summer writing projects. There's the key.

Heading that list this summer:  
-finish rewriting my novel (fingers crossed)

I started rewriting my novel last February. I thought, ah this will be easy. It just needs a little tweaking.

Hmm, yeah. 

Did you ever start a project like that?

Maybe you descended the stairs to your basement; looked around and thought, It'll only take an hour. And a day later, you're still at it.

But, on a positive note, I'm thrilled to discover how much my writing has improved. 




4 comments:

Darlene said...

It is amazing to watch our writing improve as we work at our craft. You are doing everything right and it will all come together. Good luck with your summer goals.

Leanne Dyck said...

From this end, at times, things seem to be standing still. I have to remind myself that this isn't a race; it's a journey--and I have to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Your words are comforting. Thank you, Darlene. : )

Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne - "Not wanting the sponge to be dry when I set down to work, I've developed the following check-list."

I admire how PROactive you are!

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Laurie.
The older I get the more I realize the wisdom my mom held. She'd often say, "It's easier to do it know then to wait."
This wisdom holds true in many "writely" things--editing, for one.