I’ve been working on a new story for a children’s picture book. I know, I thought I had given up on the picture book genre, but I keep being drawn back in. I’m a big fan of them I guess. Plus I think this idea works best in a picture book.
I have to thank my oldest daughter for the idea. She’s been practicing her writing (and illustrating) by writing her own short stories. One of the stories she shared with me had a character I really loved. That night I started an outline for a story to see if I could make it work. A few days ago I finished my first draft. It’s funny, computers add so much ease with doing work, but I prefer to write out my outline and first draft by hand. I don’t know what it is. The words seem to flow easier with a pen I guess. Perhaps it’s because I can carry my notebook anywhere and write when the mood strikes. Sometimes it’s hard to make out my writing. I always start off very neat but as an idea builds in my head my writing becomes a little more excitable, mirroring my feelings about what I’m writing.
So now that the first draft is done I start the long phase or rewriting and revising. Although I like to write my first draft by hand, I perfer to review a typed copy, which means transcribing all my notes. Sometimes when I’m typing I catch parts of the story that don’t make sense or are in the wrong order or should be expanded or removed. I try not to edit myself when I’m transcribing, but instead just type in everything I’ve written. Only once I have a clean printed copy do I start reviewing and revising.
To some people the rewriting and revising stage may not be as exciting or as enjoyable as writing the original piece, I actually enjoy it. I can see a mini movie of the story in my head as I read it. I can see and hear where things are confusing or unnecessary or boring. Sometimes new ideas come up that I hadn’t thought of in my draft. Some that work and some that don’t. I scribble between the lines, in the margins and on the back, all my revisions. Then I edit my electronic version. I print another clean copy and go through the process all over again.
I’ve just started this stage and I know I will be revising a number of drafts. I know the likely hood of this story being printed is very slim. I think I keep doing this because I really enjoy the creative process. I guess the day I start to write for the sole purpose of having something printed is the day I should stop writing.