Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday Coffee Shop Writing

So far, I've managed to keep my new, Thursday night Starbuck's writing tradition going. Managed two hours away from the screaming preschooler, just me and my laptop and a caramel frappacino, and lo and behold, I was able to edit my very rough first draft of The Goodnight Kiss into a slightly less rough second draft.

Wordwise, it's super short. Well, for me, anyway. Including the title and my name, it's coming in at 260 words. In today's picture book market, agents and editors are looking for books that have fewer than 500 words. The problem for me, is, finding that balance between sparse text, and illustrations. In my head, I can see this illustrated out, and it works, but how do editors judge text, language, that's so stripped down? Do they judge your 'hook' or story concept?

The novelist in me wants to write short stories that are 1500 words long, full of description of every action, setting, etc. What helped me last night was to write this one not as prose, but to break it up, as I would a poem. Back in the day (five, six, seven years ago)  I used to do poetry slams, and some of that started to come back to me last night. That rhythm. Maybe if I keep writing in that mindset when I'm writing these picture books, I'll be able to master shorter word counts.

So, success! Accomplishment! And now I have to stop my preschooler from using my bad back as a jungle gym.



  1. I really like the new version. Thursdays really seem to be working out for you missy. Hope to join you for one before the summer is gone.

  2. BTW are the security codes we all have to type in real words? I am starting to think they are strange messages sent from some strange land with stranger meanings. Or is it just me.