Handing in my homework

I’m happy to report that I actually did tackle the homework assignments I gave myself last week.  I re-wrote my story without rhyming at all, and I loved it, which was a pleasant surprise. In the spirit of full disclosure, the last time I tried this, I did so without a lot of effort.  This time, I wrote with intention and polished it up real nice… in fact, I’m not finished editing it, because I may need it after all.  I realized in the process that I need some outside help figuring out this eternal RHYME vs PROSE dilemma, and if I’m going to ask for opinions, both versions must be equally well written.  I am excited to say that writing the story in prose did, in fact, help me untangle the words in my brain, and I could ‘finish’ this draft, cute little rhyme and all.

So, where do I stand now?  I have my rhyming story, the 6th revision of it, and I have the same story written without rhyme, draft number 1.  I also have the second in this series that I’m slowly chipping away at.  (Have I mentioned that my first book is part of a series?  Again, this goes against most of the advice I’ve received but I can’t stifle this sweet boy and the stories I’ve been asked to tell about him… more on this another day).  This weekend I have the first of a two-part webinar, presented by Ann Whitford Paul titled Picture Book Page Turns and First Pages.  I’ve mentioned her book Writing Picture Books, before.  I’m thrilled because I learned so much from it, I can’t wait to hear her live.  This is an area I’m needing a lot of help in now that my story is “finished”.  A ‘page turn’ is where the text of a picture book is divided, from one 2 page spread to the next.  There’s so much emphasis placed on this concept because I want the reader eager to turn the page and see what happens next.  The page turns help the story to build speed and momentum, setting the pace for the story.  (Pacing is another concept I’m excited to learn more about too.)

One thing I hope she goes through and explains in the course is the benefits of ‘making a dummy.’  There’s a whole chapter devoted to this in Writing Picture Books, so I think it’s safe to assume she will.  A ‘dummy’ is exactly what it sounds like, blank pages, stapled together to resemble the 32 pages of a picture book.  Then, after I’m schooled on ‘page turns’, I can put words on these blank pages and see how well my story reads, as a book. (For those of you who didn’t know this, there’s a standard layout for picture books, which uses 32 pages. Typically, only 24 pages of the 32 are used to tell the story… put this on my “list of things to elaborate on, one day”)

I did something else this week that I’ve been excited about.  I finally mustered up the courage to approach one of the ‘cool kids’ on the playground, and ask if I could play with them.  It didn’t surprise me that she was super nice and approachable, it DID surprise me that she said yes! Slowly but surely, I’m building my writing community.  You know the saying “you are who you associate with.”  Well, I’m trying.

So, what’s on tap for the next few days? Part one of the webinar, ironing out wrinkles in my prose version of my manuscript and figuring out how to blend in with the cool kids. (I have a bad habit of either trying too hard or coming across as reserved and shy… crossing my fingers I can find a happy medium here).  That’s all for now!

 

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

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2 thoughts on “Handing in my homework

  1. My technique for blending in with the cool kids: sidle up to them quietly, smile comfortably like I’m supposed to be there, and ask a lot of questions. Everybody likes people who ask them questions. “Which neighborhood do you live in? Do you like it there?” “Oh, so you’re into fantasy? Are you reading anything interesting now?” “Or, if all else fails, “Those shoes/earrings/etc. are so pretty! Where did you get them?”

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