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And the Craziness Begins

Today begins the offical National Picture Book Writing Week. 7 PBs in 7 days.

Yes, that’s right, folks, Paula Yoo has struck for the second year with her PB challenge to writers everywhere. If you drop onto her website at: http://paulayoo.com/ you will find wonders galore. I have no idea how many writers are participating this year. I think last years totals when into the hundreds internationally.

I know that I have several friends who are participating. The goal is to, indeed, write a picture book per day for seven days. Now for those who have never tried to create one, let me clue you in on the difficulties.

First and foremost, it must be an actual Picture book. It needs a beginning, middle and end just like any other book. It must show enough that an illustrator can design wonderful illustrations exemplifying the text. That text must show.not tell everthing. All action in one form or another. It must appeal to children and adult readers alike and be able to withstand daily reading without falling to the wayside. And it must be done in as little as 100 words and not more than 200 words. The average is, of course, the standard 150 word count.

On top of all that the subject must be something concrete, must be a problem of some kind that the MC solves on his/her own, and the touch must be delicate enough so as not to offend the purchasing adult or listening child.

Ready for the challenge yet? You see what I mean?

Now, no one really thinks that a writer will be able to have a completely polished and ready for market piece by the end of each day. It would be enough just to have a working idea on paper that can be tweaked and molded over the course of the next few months. For make no mistake, an excellent PB can take up to a year to get right and that’s before the artist get his/her hands on it.

So this morning I sat down and pounded out my first draft of my first book. And that idea that had been wobbling around in my brain for the past two days shifted so dramatically during the actual writing that I hardly recognized it. But then, that’s what happens when ideas make their way onto paper or the screen. They migrate in intent and direction like birds on the wing.

I’ll try to do the origiinal take on the piece as a separate manuscript and let my crit group grind out which is preferable as a viable contender for submission to a publisher.

At this point I have to admit that I don’t do good picture books, so the very idea that I might submit a manuscript to a publisher for a picture book is somewhat ludicrous. But the trying, flexing of writing muscles, and discipline in the tweaking process lends itself to good writing exercise, which can help sculpt other writing muscles for other genres and lengths, as well as audiences.

Since good PBs must tantalize or, at the very least, bring pleasure to both child and parent, trying to hit a 2-fer on the head is a lofty goal. Great practice. I came away with seven ideas last year, one of which I’ve sold. Three others are nearly ready, though in expanded form to very short stories for the younger set.

Perhaps this year I’ll even come up with a winning PB idea that I really can use as a stand alone PB. Whether or not that happens remains immaterial.

Along with all of this PB madness, I have one YA short story to revise for an editor, another (albeit adult story) to write for the same editor, the first three chapters of my YA fantasy novel to draft for an assignment, and a few other projects to deal with.

Oh, and the unpackiing is still proceeding. With great luck, I can finish that tonight and be free to let my fingers do the walking–all over the keyboard–tomorrow to get some of this done.

I hope everyone is having a marvelous spring. Here in the upper reaches of the Rockies, it’s cloudy today with threats of sunshine later in the afternoon. We have a stalled Canadian cold front hanging over our heads for a couple more weeks.

Yet, even with that wacky weather this year, all is well. Things are doing well right now. I hope you’re all enjoying such contentment in your lives.

Take care, all, and God bless. I’ll keep you posted as to how the PBs keep flowing and the work gets done.

A bientot,

Clauds

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