Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Less tributaries, omit social issues, add outrageous

In my writing, I like to use little inflections. Several times in a sentence, I take steps off the main path, creating tributaries like those that feed a river. I do this by using words that — I think — help build the story, or create rhythm or add interest overall. I've seen this style used in folklore, where the author is trying to capture a certain dialect or a colloquial voice. Problem is, my little colloquial inflections add up, causing my word count to skyrocket, making it impossible for me to keep my story within the guidelines of a picture book. Make any sense?

I’ve spent some time the past two days revising my 1000 word manuscript. Recently, an author described it as a social-issues concept book. Tackling a social issue is not my goal; I’m going for fun. Now, I’m trying to drive it into the direction of a tall tale. I’m only halfway through this rewrite, and already, I’ve added 400-plus words.

It’s interesting how deleting four words omitted the possible social issue, and turned it into more of a problem solving, character driven book. But, now, I’m having trouble being outrageous, a necessary ingredient for a tall tale.

Whoever says that writing a picture book is easy — and I’ve met a few who think so — has never written one. At least, not a publishable one.

3 comments:

Melinda said...

Don, I couldn't write a picture book to save my life. Not enough words. I like to blab, obviously.

I think eventually you'll work out what you're doing with your style and how you can use your style with economy. But it's the "eventually" part that's so damn frustrating!

Anastasia said...

deleting four words omitted the possible social issue

Hooray! I'm glad to hear it!

rindawriter said...

Don, if you need more room, consider a picture story book. I see a lot of "tall tales" and folk tales in that format, and they are being published more and being used more with gradeschoolers. You could go up to 1,500 on a picture story book, between 800 to 1,500 words. Classic PB's seem to still be very tight on the word count, 500 words or so. Write long. Let it all out. It's not fabric, brotha! It's not fabric! You can always put workds back in or take more out! Now, I'm going back to sewing and crying over the EXPENSIVE fabric I've cut away.....I know you'll come up with "a good thing!"