Bill meets Ron
About a month ago, I said my good-byes to Justin, sending him, the star of ten paintings, off to Harcourt. After Justin's departure, I'd planned to give my full attention to 'Ron', a book to be published by Dutton. After receiving an email from an editor at Lee & Low, I'm reminded that it's been almost three months since I gave 'Bill' any attention. Bill — a manuscript that I wrote — is demanding his story be told. That said, both Bill and Ron will be at the forefront of my children's book pursuits over the next few months.
Fear, and an overloaded work schedule has kept me away from 'Bill'. Last week, I finally picked up his manuscript, and looked over the editor's suggested revisions. I must have been nervous this past January when I spoke with that editor at ALA's mid-winter meeting because I can't even make out my own writing. I think, at the time, I was writing for the sake of looking like I was writing. But, whatever I was doing, I think I got the gist of what she was trying to tell me. Now that time has passed, I realize, her suggestions are right on target! There are so many holes that need to be filled. More front matter is necessary, as well as a stronger conclusion. A few of my writing friends made some of the same comments, but I was stuck on exactly how to resolve this problem. The answer: wait. It's amazing what four months of time will do.
Though I was stuck on how to resolve the ending, today I found my answer. I attended an SCBWI meeting at Barnes and Noble in which author/illustrator, Mark Mitchell, offered tips on finding the story within your nonfiction idea. One thing in particular stood out. His suggestion: "Start telling your story from the climax." That's it! I've been telling my story in linear mode, from front to back. I think I have a strong beginning to my manuscript, the middle is also strong, but my ending flounders, probably because, by the time I get to the end, my creative energy is spent. So, as I approach the revisions, I'm going to start at the end.
I'm looking forward to spending the next few months with Ron and Bill, telling their stories — one with words, the other with pictures — and hoping Justin soon returns to my mailbox with some bacon.
After the meeting, while perusing the children's section, I discovered the book, Mammoths on the Move, written by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Kirt Cyrus. The illustrations are stunning! There's no other way to describe them — simply, stunning. I've seen a few other books illustrated by Kirk, and I'm a big fan of his work, but he has outdone himself with this book. The illustrations are perfect.