Another Picture Book Revision Check-In

OK, this is too funny, and a good example of why you really need to let manuscripts sit before revising them. I had last looked at this particular manuscript in September of 2015. I’m going to substitute some phrases here and put the replacement examples in brackets to keep my actual idea to myself, but this will give you an idea of what I discovered.

My initial idea from PiBoIdMo one year was kind of like [Santa Claus for monsters] revealing all his tips about [good behavior], with each monster giving a tip relevant to his or her monster form. Over the months that I played with it, it became a story within a story within a story. Way too complicated. And it had, by the time I got to the actual fun part of the manuscript, lost all need for Santa Claus.

As I did my manuscript check-in this morning, here’s what I wrote.

OK, this has NOTHING to do with [Santa Claus]. So…even though that was the initial premise, this really is about [Behavior Tips from Monsters]. Need a catchier title, of course. Get rid of the double beginning and ending. Decide: Is it a TV show (live?)? Or what. I kind of like that, with a somewhat clueless host. And then the structure is a script.

  • Shorten the tips.
  • Move voice.
  • Delete a tip or two.
  • It’s 600 words right now. Get down to 400, including illo notes.

I did a quick revision right after writing the above and then wrote:

This draft got it down to 500. Still too long. Also, what is my target age? When do they study [behavior skills] in school? The humor here feels like 2nd-3rd grade. I pry need more like K-1.


About Laura Purdie Salas

children's writer, poet, reader, visiting author, speaker/teacher, mentor, copyeditor, freelance writer
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