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I am an author/illustrator. I am in the second phase of edits on my early chapter book (High interest/Low Complexity). It is a humorous story and the illustrations absolutely add to the story's humor. I have submitted dummy picture books with my queries in the past. How does it work for early chapter books (as a general rule) I understand that the first 10 pages (or so) will be submitted with my query letter (as a general rule) but do I include sketches/complete illustrations embedded with the text of those pages? Cover?

All advice welcome. Thanks in advance.
Picture Books (PB) / Re: Running into a Wall (Question about Voice)
« Last post by Debbie Vilardi on Yesterday at 06:21 PM »
It sounds like you have a draft. That's great. Set it aside for a bit and read every picture book you can get your hands on that was published in the last few years as well as classics with spider and butterfly characters.

Then imagine yourself at age 5 or 7. Younger you needs to write this story. Bring that wonder to it. You can leave spider and butterfly facts for the back matter. Focus on the story for the rest. And leave room for the art. (This last can be done in edits.)

You might also post what you have for critique here: That may help us see any issues and guide you.

It could also be that you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself because the story is so important to you. Dad will love you no matter what.

I hope this helps.
Picture Books (PB) / Re: Running into a Wall (Question about Voice)
« Last post by JulieM on Yesterday at 04:02 PM »
I agree with Vijaya, and will add that it's great to visit the local library and study books that interest you. Note their different voices - what works and what doesn't. Try writing your story in similar voices and keep going with the versions that show promise. You'll eventually find the voice you like best for your story. Sometimes it takes a number of tries to find what works. Yes, it uses up time, but that time is not wasted in the long run because you are learning how to write children's books along the way, which will come in handy if you have future books in you.
Best of luck!
Picture Books (PB) / Re: Running into a Wall (Question about Voice)
« Last post by Vijaya on Yesterday at 02:54 PM »
I hear you. Just begin. It doesn't matter that you don't have the right voice for it yet. You will get it by writing and playing with different styles. Check out my interview with Carolyn Fraiser who wrote a lyrical PB. That's NOT how it started: And good luck!
Picture Books (PB) / Running into a Wall (Question about Voice)
« Last post by amanda-mueller on Yesterday at 01:46 PM »
I'm running into a writer's block wall here -- but it's not at all where I expected. Any motivation or help is appreciated!

I have the plot and outline finished for my first book. It would be a picture book; working title is More Than a Meal. It is about an unlikely (and unexpected!) friendship between a butterfly and a spider, and as an added bonus I am hoping to draw attention to the migration patterns of endangered Monarchs.

Now that all the pieces are in place....


I can't nail the correct voice and I feel silly and bland when I sit down to revise the copy. Any tips here?

A bit of background:
This is a joint project between my father and myself -- the concept is his idea and I absolutely love it, so he asked me to make it happen.

I was an avid writer as a child and always thought I would  publish a novel as an adult. I ended up working as a journalist, but have let creative writing fall by the wayside for more than 15 years at this point. I am now trying to get my inspiration back, but I have to admit that writing for young children was never something that was on my radar. I have a suspicion that it may be impeded by the fact that I now work as a Public Safety spokesperson and I've only been writing and speaking about investigations for years.
The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez.
Thank you for the books you suggested, Debbie and danalapomy1010! I'll check out the stories!
I don't know about any books. But my father told me his story.
I'm a first generation American Latina.

Ha, maybe that's something you can write about!
Picture Books (PB) / Re: Is this a good idea for a PB?
« Last post by C. Louise Donovan on November 26, 2022, 09:17 AM »
I love the combination of Debbie's and Vijaya's ideas. You could even stretch Vijaya's into a modern-day GIFTS OF THE MAGI.  I would suggest a more original title.  There are already several books called THE PERFECT GIFT.  As a side note, hats off to all knitters, (pun intended).   I was a very smart kid who learned things quickly, but when my mother tried to teach me to knit, she was forced to give up in frustration.
Picture Books (PB) / Re: Is this a good idea for a PB?
« Last post by Vijaya on November 26, 2022, 08:56 AM »
You've rec'd good advice, Anna. I would also think about adding in layers--an element of sacrifice is such a good way to reinforce the idea of love. Giving up something treasured to incorporate into the hat. You'll also want to structure your story so that there are obstacles and frustrations that the boy has to overcome until he nearly gives up on the whole idea but then he gives one final push to get through and then there's the reward. Think about the rule of three. Enjoy writing your story.
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