Wednesday, June 15, 2016

PART 1: The Manuscript arrives: New Book! I LOVE YOU TOO, I LOVE YOU THREE, Coming Fall 2016

The Manuscript Arrives


I get bunches, heaps, stacks of kids' books manuscripts, but most of the stories won't see the light of day. There are lots of reasons why... some are the bad and the ugly, others insensitive, the didactic, the inappropriate, and the scary. There are some that may be fine but I'm not into them. Let's face it, liking a story is a subjective thing. And there's timing. Even good, no, even great stories can't squeeze into the schedule if I'm totally booked solid for the next year.

Before we continue... a reminder: Please go to the Amazon Kindle Scout site and nominate my book, The Knife Thrower's Wife! Thank you.

Back to this blog's topic...
However, when Wendy Tugwood's story I Love You Too, I Love You Three landed in my email inbox in the spring of 2014 there was something magical about it, even though (thank god) it wasn't about shape-shifters, unicorns, or trolls. The magic was inherent, not plot-driven.

Over time we emailed a few times, and started a dialogue, and I re-read her manuscript. (It helped that it was very short.) However, while the feel of the story appealed to me, I had some issues with the pacing and order, as well as a few beefs with the timing of the rhyming.

For example, I Love You Too, I Love You Three started with the mom putting the child to bed, then it went on to describe their counting game, leading up to bedtime. So, talk about turning the manuscript on its head, I suggested the author take the start of the book and move it to the end where falling asleep makes sense! After all, how can they play their games when the toddler is already sleepy-bye, tucked in with blankie and Squiggly-the-wabbit? Okay, I promise no more baby talk. Author-Wendy agreed with my big switcheroo (hallelujah), and I went on to tweak other more minor wording, cadence, and so forth, and she also reworked those areas.

Keep in mind our brave author is doing all this even though she can't afford to hire me as her illustrator, and she has no publisher!

By the way... For you hyper-typers out there who write for kids, it is pretty normal to have the timing of your story out of order, and for it to be noticed by me as your personal paint-slinging-illustrator. The same thing occurred with Barbara Farnsworth's Where the Lost Things Go and also Katie Burke's Lightning Bug Thunder (currently out of print.) The tricky part is for the author to be open to making changes, the right changes, as Wendy and these other authors did... to not be handcuffed to your precious words. And listen up illustrators... you need to notice these things: the inconsistencies, the messes, the grammar! You are your author's new best friend, be meticulous because you're their second set of eyes... eyes not only for your drawings, but for all things bookworthy.

I Love You Too, I Love You Three is about two things... a parent who is missing their child and a bedtime counting game. And I was concerned one would cancel out the other, but somehow Wendy pulled it off. How? Stay tuned for part 2 for that and more.

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The opinions on this blog are mine alone. I welcome your comments.