That is, so far…RhyPiBoMo is not quite done.
I have always admired people who can write rhyming picture books. Two years ago I joined a rhyming critique group during RhyPiBoMo, but my rhyming manuscript was largely a dud.
Still it was fun to try. And I am growing more and more interested in rhyming picture books. Who knows? Maybe that’s what I was really meant to do. I just have to push back that mental block that says it’s too hard.
Last year in 12 x 12, I wrote 25 picture book manuscripts. Wow! I am very proud of myself. You can watch the winners’ video and celebrate my success as well as the success of all the other winners in 2015’s 12 x 12 challenge.
This year in 12 x 12 I have written a total of ZERO picture book manuscripts. Yes, that’s right: not even one…Now why is that? I know that I had decided this year to focus on craft, after being rejected by all the 12 x 12 agents last year. But still, I wasn’t even revising any of my manuscripts. That is until now. I have suddenly become a revision machine. I’m going to share with you what kickstarted the process.
I started to use mentor texts to improve my “how-to” manuscript. Inspired by the suggestions and list in this post by Tammi Sauer, I was able to look at my manuscript with fresh eyes. Already I am seeing positive changes in the manuscript that I was stuck on.
2. Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen’s webinar in 12 x12
This is one of the best webinars that I have ever seen. I have always struggled with writing character driven picture books. I tend to write story driven manuscripts. But the way Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen laid out how to write a character driven picture book suddenly made sense to me. She based her examples on Star Wars, although she was quick to point out that in a picture book, there is not supposed to be a mentor. Instead we as the authors are the mentor. Cool, huh? I can’t wait to take her next character building picture book course. In the meantime, I am applying what she taught to the manuscripts I have already have written. And some of them are already looking spiffier.
2. Laura Purdie Salas’ picture book fixes course
Currently reasonably priced at 10 US, Laura Purdie Salas goes through five common picture book mistakes that keep you from being published. Module one takes you through discovering the difference between a picture book manuscript and a short story manuscript. A short story manuscript is something that would be printed in a magazine. I’ve always wanted a more concrete way of judging this, and Laura Purdie Salas gives a good foundation. Right now I am busy comparing magazine articles to picture books, one of the exercises. This way I can discover if some of my manuscripts are really better suited for magazines. After all, if a publisher is going to be spending thousands of dollars to publish your picture book, they are going to be very picky, and so you want to make sure that your manuscript is in top shape before you submit it.
So if you are stuck on your manuscripts, don’t give up hope. Just keep researching and learning and something will come up that will make you see things in a whole new way.