Let’s say you have a bit of extra cash to spend on yourself and your writing aspirations: Where do you go? Which way do you turn? Who can help? Arghhhh, the struggle! There are so many choices! It’s a great problem to have, really, because so many of the leaders in the kid-litosphere generously give of their time, talents and expertise. Truly, there is no shortage of options or opportunities. For me, and I’m sure so many others, the trouble lies in deciding which course to invest in. There’s a unique twist to each one and the author/instructors are incredibly talented, so you really can’t go wrong. The fact of the matter is, you do have to choose, though. So, if you’re sitting at the crossroads of one versus the other, all I can do is wish you luck and tell you about my latest experience with making magic… Making Picture Book Magic, that is.
If you aren’t familiar, Making Picture Book Magic is a month-long course offered by Susanna Hill, with small class sizes, daily assignments and feedback from Susanna, herself. I’m always wary of buyer’s remorse and know the feeling of investing in a class/webinar that turns out to be disappointing so I eyed it for months and was exhaustive in my research. I asked everyone I knew about their experience. Many had taken it ‘back when they were starting out’ and a few warned me that I probably knew everything she would review. Some said I might find it too basic, others never made it thought all the lessons. One of my nearest and dearest friends, however declared it “one of the best things” she’d ever done for herself. She had yet to steer me wrong before, (I’m looking at you Judy Cooper) so, I bit the bullet and enrolled. The tuition for the course was a belated birthday gift from two of my biggest fans (aka mom & dad). As luck would have it, I was blessed with an incredible group to journey though the month of January with and it only got better from there.
Yes, some of the lessons brought me back to the basics, but I knew that’s exactly what I needed. (The day that I decide that I’ve learned enough about writing picture books should be my last day writing… am I right?) Going back to the basics, now that I have a foundation helped IMMENSLY. You might call it cheating, but I used an existing manuscript through the course and basically stripped it down to the studs. It was the most exhaustive revision I’ve ever done. I rethought and reworked every aspect of the story, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone for this project and got helpful feedback along the way, both from my groupmates and our fearless leader! (I want to pause and talk for a minute about the other writers in my group… they ROCKED! We all engaged with each other via the private Facebook group and I know that’s what pushed our course over the edge from good to GREAT! If you ever do decide to participate, do yourself a favor and go all in… participate, share, offer feedback, engage. You’ll get out everything you put in and then some!)
I’ve suggested this course every chance I get because I know it was a game-changer for me. It changed the way I revise, it changed the way I approach my stories, and hopefully, it’ll change the trajectory of my pre-published journey. If you’re looking for a way to sharpen your skills, someone to hold you accountable or a handful of new revision techniques, look no farther and let Susanna Hill show you all about Making Picture Book Magic! (<- that’s the link right there, don’t miss it… click on it)
Oh! Before you go, I want to introduce you to my classmates! There were a couple poets (Rebecca & Liz) and an illustrator (Hannah) in the mix. Liz has a collection of soccer poems called Soccerverse, set to release on June 4th! The other three writers will undoubtedly be names on your bookshelf one day, each with their own style but obviously and equally talented. Find them & follow them so you’ll be one the first to know when their clever and charming stories make it into the world.
– Rebecca Gardyn Levington on Twitter: @WriterRebeccaGL
– Stephanie Williams aka @StephanieBoyer (also Twitter)
– Hannah Spiegleman, IG @HannahSpiegleman
Thanks for reading, come back anytime!