Over the last three days I wrote a picture book. I wrote, read, revised, reread, revised, and cut MANY, MANY words. I fell in love with my story. Some “experts,” (by experts, I mean the top hits in a Google search) say that a picture book should be under 1000 words. Mine was over 2000. But, when I cut the words down to just over 1000 I knew the story so well that I am not even sure if it actually made sense, possibly because I could fill in, with my background knowledge of the story, all the parts that were cut.
And then I read it to my almost 10 year old. She didn’t “get” my story until I went back over it, paragraph by paragraph. Ugh. I smiled like I wasn’t bothered by this mini-critic, in my own home, but I was. I couldn’t help it, and so when I went through the bedtime rituals and trudged back to the solace of my own bed, I didn’t want to talk to my husband or write a thing.
These thoughts crossed my mind, as I laid there: A story should be able to be heard without the need for illustrations and if my audience can’t “get” what I am saying then I need to figure out what’s missing. I am trapped by that number: 1000. She would have understood the 2000 word version but it is too long for a picture book and too short for a chapter book. What to do? What to do…
Slice of Life is inspiring me to write, but I suffer from a disease called: MUST HAVE INSTANT GRATIFICATION NOW! Okay, this is obviously not an actual disease but I DO suffer from it. I wanted my eldest to “get” my story, to love it, to turn and look at me with those blue eyes, with wonder. It didn’t happen and now I have to move forward. Getting published is not going to be an instant event. It will take time, rejection, more time, more rejection, and well, you get the point. Meanwhile, gonna keep on truckin’…and writing.