Sunday, May 1, 2016

Picture Book: self-editing checklist

(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?


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

Try this Picture Book editing checklist

Top 10 Tips for Picture Book Success

How to Revise a Picture Book 

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.