Posted on December 7, 2009
I’m in a little bit of a funk. The Max lost his elephant yesterday and try as I might, we just couldn’t track him down (we got as far as learning a maintenance guy at the mall had picked him up, but that was a dead end). And my hubby is off again jet setting around the world (London, this week—Boston, last). It’s the time of year when I feel like I’ve got a million things to do (and I do), but no desire to really do anything other than sip hot cocoa and eggnog (not at the same time) and sit by the fire.
Neither of which I am actually doing. But I’d really like to.
Writing-wise, I’ve been slowly working on my new novel (the as-yet unsold one, but at least my agent is liking it so far) but I need to do some more character construction for one of the main character’s best friends. She’s a little too flat and typical right now. So I’m hoping to get that settled so I can move on with the book.
And I did send off a picture book manuscript to two different editors. My agent doesn’t handle picture books, so I’m doing the legwork on this one on my own. As Michael Stearns says, picture books are HARD. I know a lot of people think “Oh, but they’re so short and cute! I could turn one out tomorrow!” But they are wrong. Dead wrong (and no, that’s not a vampire joke). Actually, I directly hear this from people all the time. Pretty much anytime I tell someone what I do for a living. The next thing out of their mouth is usually “Oh, I’m going to write a picture book” or “I wrote a picture book” or some variation thereof. Like it’s nothing.
Humph. Picture books are harder than novels in many ways. You have so few words to work with. I revised that one little picture book (of around 100 words) far more times than any scene in any book I’ve worked on. And I’m afraid it still isn’t perfect. I can think of at least two other ways to do it, but I finally picked one and sent it off because you have to start somewhere.
I have a lot of respect for good picture book authors. They do a lot with so little. I hope that I’ll get a nibble on my little picture book and it will have a chance to shine as well. Only time will tell.
Now, my poetry, on the other hand…that I only do for fun anymore. I have had a few published in magazines, but I don’t even send them out anymore. They are an indulgence and my new poetry rule for myself is that they are unedited. Because I could spend GOBS of time on them. But I don’t want to. I’m a mediocre poet with occasional stanzas of awesomeness. It’s not my career or my calling. But it’s fun. So I just write them and don’t worry about them and just post ‘em on my personal blog (if you *really* want to read one, you can: Watch Out, He Might Blow is a good example of my brain dump poetry.)
But I should wrap this up with an actual point, shouldn’t I? Okay, how about this: ALL writing is hard. And it should be. It’s work. Work is something you work at. There are no shortcuts.
That’s not to say it isn’t the most fun you can have without chocolate.