Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm Getting a Little Behind

I've been trying to write 7 picture books in 7 days.
I started out with a bang. Three books in three days!
Monday was a dry well, but last night I finished another one.
So, I have written four.

In desperation, I asked for help over on my other blog.
I needed suggestions for book ideas.

My sister commented "it can't be that hard to think of subjects for children's books"

That is the misconception most people have about writing for children ---"How hard can it be?"

Children's books have been around for years. Every conceivable topic has been written about. The writer needs to come up with a unique twist to a topic. Writing it in a way that makes it seem fresh and different, even though the subject has probably been written about 100 times already by other authors.

Publishers, especially now a days, are looking for something that will sell. They are looking for something a parent will pay good hard earned money for. They are looking for a book a child will want read to them over and over again.

Sometimes, I think too hard. My brain feels like mush right now. My imagination seems to have gone with the wind (Hey, I think I just got an idea for a story). I may not write 7 stories in 7 days, but I'm trying.

I took a somewhat easier route last night and wrote a concept book.
It was an A B C Book. But in doing so, I still needed to make it a little different than the ones already out there. I already titled it, but I did get an idea this morning from one of my blogger's suggestions for a story, and incorporated it into the title.

Even when your imagination takes hold and soars, you still have to convey what you want to say in the least amount of well chosen words as you can. Unlike novels where you can embellish and write and describe to your heart's content, a publisher wants picture books to be under 1000 words, even under 500 words! So you have to choose your words wisely and kick out any unnecessary ones, no matter how attached you are to them.

"How hard can it be to write a picture book?"

"Very Hard," if you want it to shine and stand out among the thousands of others being submitted every year.


  1. Picture book writing is no easy task, that's for sure! At least once you've finished writing seven, you'll have seven manuscripts to polish and send out. Good for you!

  2. I can't agree with you more. It's VERY hard to write good books for children. I am still on #3. This cold has pretty much knocked out any chance of me writing 7. Next year, I'll know about it far enough ahead of time that I'll be able to come up with 7 ideas ahead of time.

  3. It is very hard to write picture books!

    And this challenge was especially difficult. (I couldn't even pronounce NaPiBoWriWee.)

  4. I've heard it said that all stories have been told already, so it's important to put that original spin on it, or give it a unique voice. That's no easy feat, keeping a story under 1000 words too! You're right, it can be more difficult to write less than more. Good luck on your 7!

  5. Janet,

    Writing books for children is harder than writing books for adults. Children are smart and know when you mess up...and you're right...every topic has been done before and you need a unique twist on yours if you want it to be published.

    I'm having a rather difficult time getting through my non-fiction assignment for my children's writing course. Why? Because I'm used to writing non-fiction for adults and I'm scrambling to find my voice.

    Take care and enjoy your weekend.


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