Yesterday, I had the privilege of taking a webinar class from Writer’s Digest University over children’s picture books. The speaker was children’s literary agent, Mary Kole, from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. It was 90 minutes of non-stop, cram-packed information. I was overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. I have not kept it a secret that I have written a children’s picture book, Bella the Cow Who Wants Things Now, and I love this book. I believe in it, and think it is really good right where it is at now.
What I learned yesterday has put me in a bit of a tailspin to be honest. I’m scared to death. The average picture book is 500-700 words. Mine is geared for children ages 5-7. Right now, it’s 921 words. 9-2-1… and I love it at 921. But, I know, deep down, that I need to cut more to make it more attractive in the business world. Not for the reader really, but in order to play the game accordingly in the publishing world. This is painful for me. This is scary for me. Can I cut more and keep the whimsy of the Main Character’s voice? Can I cut more and not hurt the plot and story line? Will I hurt the integrity of the story by doing this? Sigh…if you’ve ever thought about being a writer, and you don’t like stress, you shouldn’t be a writer. Writing is blissful and stressful at the same time. Writing is joy and pain intermingling. Would I change it? No, but I’m weird. Honestly, most writers are…
Last night, I went to the Irving Public Library and heard Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally, speak. She told her story, answered some questions from the audience, and signed her books. One of the things she said was that “Writers are crazy. We hear voices in our heads.” 🙂 It’s a funny line and somewhat true. We are usually already highly quirky people who love to live in our imaginations, our heads. We are also driven crazy by the process of writing and of becoming published. All of it causes us to be a little…you guessed it. CRAZY!
So,back to my book. I have tossed and turned most of the night thinking about my precious Bella, and what I need to do. Mary Kole is giving a critique for each participant with a picture book of 1000 words or less. My question is this, why accept books of 1000 words if the average is 500-700? Is this because most people struggle with cutting part of their book and sometimes refuse to do so? I don’t want to be one of those people. I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot and cause this book never to get a chance when it should. And, I want this story told. In the hands of children everywhere. I want it. More than I possibly have words for. And I’d really LOVE for Mary Kole to love Bella as much as I do. Honestly, she’s a little bit brilliant. And I’m about to put my book in front of her.
So…to cut, or not to cut? That is the question. And how to do it without losing the integrity of the story? I have a lot to think about after yesterday’s webinar. I’m thankful for it and scared to death all at the same time!! Yes, thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. 😉
So, the question is…As a writer, do you stand your ground and refuse to change something you know is good, or do you conform and make it just as good in those perimeters given? Is this painful for you at times also? How do you handle it?