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Need Advice on Illustration Notes Dilemma!

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I realize illustration notes are frowned upon, since they can warn of an author who wants to micromanage the illustrator. But in one of my PBs, the art tells a big chunk of the story, alternating between reality and child's perceived reality. Knowing that many editors and agents bristle at notes, I'm not sure what to do. If I submit the story without notes, it isn't quite as clear. It feels like something is missing. If I do submit with notes, I'm worried that agents/editors will glance at it, see the notes, and not bother reading it or even give it a chance. Any suggestions?
#1 - October 21, 2013, 10:59 PM

I draw stuff for chocolates.
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It's difficult to give advice without seeing the text. Art notes which are minimal and describe something about action not seen in the text are acceptable. However, if your story is unclear without notes, perhaps it would be best to keep working on the manuscript until it is clearer. Generally speaking PBs should have a clear focus on the main character's action moving forward in time.
#2 - October 22, 2013, 05:13 AM
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RG - This is where fresh readers are your friends. Test the story with minimal art notes. Have a reader read it cold and then tell you the story in his/her own words. See where the logic breaks down. Then, see if the logic flaw can be solved with text - text that doesn't break your rhythm or destroy your voice. If not, then add a note - just a few words in parenthesis and italics. Then repeat the process with a fresh reader.
#3 - October 22, 2013, 07:26 AM
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Thanks Wendy & Jean. I probably went a bit too far in saying the story is unclear without notes. But in my opinion, it is cuter and more clever with a few notes. I had this critiqued at a conference recently, and the agent felt the notes were a bit too much. (They were, I have trimmed a lot since then.) She still loved the story, and requested I revise & send it back to her. I have toned down the notes quite a bit, but am debating between just minimal notes or none at all.

I think you're right Jean, the test is going to be fresh readers. My critique partners are wonderful, but they've seen a lot of this story over the past few months. I'll head over to the critique board and find some fresh eyes there. Thanks for the suggestion!
#4 - October 23, 2013, 08:32 PM

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