Sunday, March 15, 2009


One thing that I found interesting in gathering these papers for you was that my first draft of Skinny Brown Dog was very close to the final draft. That wasn't the case for my other picture books. Maybe this was one of those gifts writers receive every once in a blue moon because they've worked hard on other stories. I wish blue moons came along more often.

I neglected to scan the first editorial letter that accompanied this manuscript before I donated the papers, but an important point I remember was Christy mentioning that the dog wasn't a fully developed character. Her comment was golden.

Even without the letter, I think you will find Christy's notes interesting. (You'll need to double click to see the notes and if you are fortunate enough to have a mouse with the roller in the middle of the clickers, you can get an even better view.) On this first page, she points out repetitive words and suggests Free Broken Cookie Muffin Day instead of Free Broken Cookie Day.

I had forgotten that it was Christy who suggested adding butter with the slice of bread to show Benny's growing affection for the dog. Isn't it amazing how one word can achieve a big change?

Christy always includes positive remarks in her notes. I have to admit when I first receive her editorial letters and notes, I search them out. I was pleased when she loved Miss Patterson's line, "Yes, I can see that." And later I rejoiced with how Donald Saaf illustrated that remark. (Please see picture at above right.)

If you compare my first draft to this draft, you will see that I finally learned to spell raspberry. That's when I realized I had been mispronouncing the word for all these years.

Christy had suggested changing the sentences in the next to last paragraph below so that one sentence didn't end with Brownie, followed by a sentence that began with Brownie. But when I read it aloud, I liked how it sounded. Give it a try. What do you think?

One lesson I learned on my first picture book was that as the writer, I have to leave room for pictures. In other words the pictures sometimes need to show what happens next. When I wrote the last line, I knew the illustrator would leave the reader with an image that would satisfy.

(Note: Please don't copy the pages I've shared with you without my permission. Thank you.)

Next week, you'll see how I responded to Christy's notes. Until then, I have other fun things in store for you. You will meet another author at home and though I'll be on the road a lot the next few weeks, I'll continue to post about Skinny Brown Dog and the profiles. I also promise to send a few postcards to the nest while I'm away.

Happy reading and happy writing!


  1. Thanks for sharing this process, Kimberly. I look forward to reading more.