Monday, May 5, 2008

A year after she rejected the manuscript, Christy told me that the story had potential. I asked her, "Does the text have potential or the premise?"

She smiled. "The premise." She talked to me about making a dummy of the story, roughly sketching the pictures that would go along with the words.

I never glanced at the original manuscript again. A few years later, after reading hundreds of picture books, now as a writer, I thought of a new story with the same premise. This time I wrote the story with pictures in mind. This last page shows an early attempt at that.

The dummy idea has never worked for me. Probably because I'm not an artist. But the results of my process are the same. I break down the story with pictures in mind. What I'm able to imagine looks so much better than what I'd achieve in a sketch. Still, what Christy taught me was golden: Picture book texts must provide picture opportunities.

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