Monday, June 3, 2013

WRITING YOUR FIRST PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT IN 5 EASY STEPS

STEP 1: OPEN YOUR MIND...THEN CLOSE IT
First you need a great idea, and anything and everything can be turned into a great picture book, amIright?

Noooooope.

If you answered otherwise, you might want to take some more time to better acquaint yourself with the children's book industry. Inspiration is everywhere, but good ideas take hard work and proper filtration. It is essential that you feel completely intimidated by your own high standards before you even attempt to latch on to a potential picture book idea.

STEP 2: LET FEAR TAKE HOLD
Ponder your ideas sporadically for at least two, maybe three years. Write NOTHING down. You must earn the right to write by spending as much time as possible being terrified and mystified by the entire writing process. DO NOT attempt to alleviate this panicked state by trying to actually write something. That would be highly logical and therefore completely detrimental to your irrational fear.

STEP 3: CRUSH YOUR EGO
Continue to overwhelm yourself with feelings of inadequacy by reading so many books by authors you admire that you feel like you could never, ever, never ever in a million years actually create something worthy of being read by other people--especially those small humans called children.

STEP 4: GIVE IN
If, after all your self-confidence-diminishing reading and research, your original sprout of a kidlit idea STILL continues to haunt your thoughts like that neglected plant on the window sill slowly withering to death, you might actually have a decent idea for a children's book. And against all odds, you may just have to succumb to writing it down after all.

STEP 5: FORM SENTENCES
Spend one fine spring day in May (but no more than 2 hours) at your computer typing out the first draft of your first manuscript. After all, it's only 500 words - it shouldn't take you all afternoon...

VOILA! Two years of thought and two hours of actual writing and you've finally done it. You've written the first draft of your first ever picture book (apart from that one in college, which doesn't count).  Now, whether your manuscript is good or embarrassingly bad remains to be seen. But you did it!

Congratulations!
You may now proceed to STEP 6:
Creating Your First Picture Book Dummy In 150 Agonizing Steps

TO BE CONTINUED....


3 comments:

  1. Um that sounds incredibly painful...though to be quite honest I've experienced all of those. Mostly about illustration haha! THough, I'm currently working on a story that I STILL feel has potential...which I started about a year ago! haha

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  2. The last two years of procrastination haven't been painful at all-- but the feeling that I've been failing to live up to some kind of potential in my creative life has been crippling to my mental well-being. I think that means I secretly have high expectations of myself despite the odds against me. Whether or not I'm any good at the things I aspire to do (and do well), I know now that the only remedy is actually sitting down and doing something about it. Lesson learned! Creating with words is far more exhilarating than illustrating has ever been for me--I can never form my images with the same richness and dexterity as my mind can. But since the whole of writing is new to me, I guess my self-expectations are lower and thus it feels pretty good to write anything!

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  3. When I write, it often begin like an illustration…a single moment in time and space that hangs quietly. As I prob the surface, everything explodes into immaculate detail, complex concepts and sensory expressions that are impossible to depict with art, or would take months or years to emulate…while it usually takes only a couple hours with writing.

    I feel free when I write and the only limitation is, “What will happen next?” My stories are like full blown movies or visions that come to life …I’m really there! ...But the problem is it only works for me. I am not a professional writer so I do not understand all the rules, limitations, common mistakes, etc of the English language; therefore my ability to communicate what I see would be greatly distorted to an outsider like you.

    I guess my point is, if I had earned a degree in English, perhaps it would hamper my ability to create so freely…such as it often does with Illustration. (Check out this helpful post from Patricia Wrede, author of “Talking with Dragons” series: http://pcwrede.com/blog/spring-shadows-or-how-should-i-become-a-writer-ms-pro/)

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