IT AIN'T A PICTURE BOOK!
Self-publising my first illustrated children's storybook, only to revise it one year later, has been a valuable, interesting, and, at at times, difficult journey. When my Rate Your Story judge suggested recently that my story may not be an illustrated storybook after all, but a short story instead, my book journey took a detour, yet again. In addition, the judge felt it might be suitable for reading comprehension in schools. I had not thought much about these options, though my aim with this story had been to awaken curiosity. It all started In 2014, after a brief encounter on a dusty road in the southwest of Spain, between a boar piglet, a pointy-eared hunting dog, and myself. That unusual meeting sparked my imagination to such a degree that I enthusiastically set out to write a PB (picture book). The story however, only lost momentum at 2500 words (It now has 1800 words after professional editing). With both of those word counts (and perhaps my style as well) I have placed myself in the PB danger zone. The PB word count in many countries, BUT NOT IN ALL, has diminished considerably. This word count battle kept me busy for some time, and I must admit, became frustrating. I changed the classification from picture book into illustrated storybook. Wanting my story to be the best version of itself however, I edited again. I also asked a few new people (in the children's book world) for critique and feedback (A big thank-you!) Sentences became shorter. Whole sections were chopped and grammar was corrected. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't reduce it to between 500-900 words. You probably understand now why I was quite relieved by the judge's comments. They opened up new possibilities. Perhaps I am simpy not a PB kind of writer? Now, I am not the kind of person to give up easily, so when I stumbled upon Susanna Hill's 'Making Picture Book Magic' writing course last week (via Kidlit411) I jumped at the chance. There was a space in August, so I grabbed it by the horns. The disturbing news is, that after lesson 5 (out of 20) I got swept up into my new story idea and finished the first draft over the weekend. At about 2000 words, it ain't a picture book!