SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Agent post on learning or improving your PB writing

Discussion started on

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
FYI: Jenn Laughlan, a senior agent at Andrea Brown, published this Tumblr post yesterday on how to learn/improve PB writing. 
https://literaticat.tumblr.com/post/688217116054355968/how-do-your-clients-improve-their-writing-skills
#1 - June 29, 2022, 06:14 AM

Roving Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region socal
Thanks for the link, Anne. It contains good, practical advice.
#2 - June 29, 2022, 08:54 AM

Roving Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midsouth
Thank you, Anne, for sharing with us.  She has helpful tips.
#3 - June 29, 2022, 10:43 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region dakotas
I like how she summed it up as, and here is your MFA, lol. (From what I have observed from others, that really is an accurate summary!)
#4 - June 29, 2022, 12:21 PM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region sfnortheastbay
Jennifer Laughran's "Ask the Agent" Tumblr is a valuable resource. She used to be a regular contributor to the Blue Boards and was tremendously helpful to many. She's blunt, but to my ears this is a plus.
#5 - June 29, 2022, 04:38 PM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520

www.mirkabreen.com
http://mirkabreen.BlogSpot.com

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
Thanks, Anne!
#6 - July 03, 2022, 11:11 AM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
https://decoowlpress.com

Barb  :owl

Website: https://barbaraetlin.com
Blog: https://owlsquill.blogspot.com

Poster
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
Thanks for sharing this link.  I am studying every piece of advice I can find from agents but it's very confusing.  From what I've read, it seems most agents don't want rhymes, alliteration, animals as main characters, heavy life lessons or morals, in picture books.  When I look at what's been published in the last few years, they all have at least one of these things.  My experience with kids has always been that they LOVE rhymes, alliteration, and animals as main characters, so I'm happy to see them.  Looking at 2019, in particular, it seems the majority of PBs published were about acceptance of oneself or acceptance of others, and other life lessons.  So, have agents changed their wishlists in the last year or two? 
#7 - July 04, 2022, 01:53 PM

Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • Global Moderator
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
I love Jennifer Laughlan's tumbler and her Literaticast (with guests) as well. https://www.jenniferlaughran.com/literaticast|

C. Louise, it is confusing to hear what Agents and Editors say they don't want  vs see what is out there, being published. What I think is, since so much of rhyme is done poorly ( inexperience coupled with perhaps just not a real talent for it) Agents dissuade you from subbing it off the bat.
So much of rhyme is forced & words chosen just for that, as opposed to the best words that could be used if prose. Also, for the sake of end ryhme, your whole plot can change or characters switched to fit the rhyme, so that it's all about the rhyme, not the story you are telling. But then, when it's done perfectly, it is a joy to read and listen to. So it's not a "don't you ever", more a "don't you ever unless you can retain the heart & soul of the story you started out to tell & keep your main character that little boy you began with and not change him to a goat, because it rhymes with boat" LOL
#8 - July 05, 2022, 03:49 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
C. Louise, to add on to what Chris so eloquently said about rhyme, it goes to follow with the other things you say. There are some agents who do not like animal main characters, but there are certainly agents who don't have an issue with them. If you have a story with an animal MC, just avoid sending it as your first story to agents who express that.

As far as "heavy life lessons or morals", yes, the industry tends to avoid didactic stories where the whole plot is shoving morals down your throat. Yes, social-emotional learning books have been popular the last few years. But I feel those stories are written as stories first, with a much more subtle message than "the moral of the story is" type books that sold many years ago.

The bottom line is story must come first. Anything that's well-written and unique could catch an agent's eye even if they said they never want to see that type of story ever. But submitting a type of story they don't want to see is just increasing your chance that they will likely reject it.
#9 - July 05, 2022, 06:22 AM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, May 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, October 2021)
Peculiar Primates (Running Press Kids, October 2022)

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.