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Picture Book Manuscript Text

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Hello everyone,

I'm just curious on how my picture book story should be written for an agent to consider. Currently its in a story form where i am describing everything such as facial features, movements etc. example: Johnny woke up to a strange new smell in his puppy nose. He sprang out of his bed to investigate.
I've seen samples of manuscripts where the same line would be written like so: Johnny wakes up, sniffs, exits bed.
What do the agents prefer?

Thanks in advance. Hopefully that makes sense. =)

Greg
#1 - September 17, 2015, 09:25 PM
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 10:19 PM by gregory-bray »

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I'm sure it depends on the agent, but to me your shorter version of this beginning works better for a picture book text.
#2 - September 23, 2015, 03:26 PM
Verla Kay

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Ditto what Verla said. Picture books are a collaboration with an illustrator, so writers need to let the illustrators do half the work. Focus on action and scenes that can be illustrated.
#3 - September 23, 2015, 03:29 PM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, BUSY BUS series, EMERGENCY KITTENS, and more!
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Following on from the others' comments, you could indicate in the query letter, or in a very brief Illustration Note in the text, that Johnny is a puppy. You could alternatively work on suggesting it in the text by devices such as a more doggy name, and "snout"/"muzzle" instead of "nose".
#4 - September 23, 2015, 06:30 PM
I've Got a Tail! - Amicus Ink 2020

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I agree about the text alluding to the pictures, but you needn't sacrifice your voice for brevity.

You might want to post an excerpt on the critique boards to get an opinion.

Good luck, Vijaya
#5 - September 23, 2015, 07:00 PM
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 :thankyou Thank you all for the great advice. I will revise the text and post in the critique section when done.
#6 - September 23, 2015, 09:53 PM

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Focus on the action and stay true to your voice, and the rest will flow. It may seem challenging at the beggining, but finding the ballance between what your text will show and what illustrations will say can be very rewarding.

Good luck and have a wonderful weekend! :)

Hugs,

Mercedes
#7 - September 25, 2015, 06:11 AM

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