I am glad to say I did it, I managed to write 12 manuscript drafts for picture books and I am now looking forward to rereading them again in the new year. I look forward to editing and rewriting the manuscripts until they are polished and ready to be submitted to the big wide world of publishing houses. During the journey I learnt many tips on writing:
On the very first page start with a strong sentence – let the reader know who the story is about, where they are, when the story is happening and what the problem may be
Try to show the story in the words you are using, rather than tell the obvious in story (something which the illustrator will do for you)
Make sure your character grows in the journey of trying to achieve their goal
Use fresh language that will be a pleasure to listen to
resolve your story with a satisfying end!
I’d like to ‘Thank’ Julie Hedlund for creating the writing challenge and if you have also completed the challenge, well done!
A while back I discovered this blog called Rate Your Story and have recently submitted two different manuscripts to their services. It is a brilliant free way of getting someone from their panel of judges to read your picture book manuscript and give a rating from 1 – 10 (1 = the best mark) and a bonus extra little bit of feedback. Most of all it gives you some kind of indication of wether or not you are on the right track.
Many of my fellow participants of Julie Hedlunds writing challenge 12 Picture books in 12 months in 2012 have also submitted their work and it is great to see all their feedback and delight at how their work is developing.
I know I must be improving because I have sent two manuscripts so far. Last weeks story about a zoo, had a rating of 7, so it either needs a lot more work on it or maybe needs to be put at the bottom of the pile for now, so I can focus on others that read better.
The second manuscript about a tooth fairy had a rating of 5. An improvement, even if it is a small one! Do I feel a sudden need to give in and decide that maybe this isn’t for me? Not a chance, I feel more determined than ever to see those ratings get closer to number 1!
The closing date for the latest lot of submissions is 7th Febraury 2012, so you have got to be quick to get in by tomorrow if you are interested.
Of course this is not the only thing I do to give me an indication of the standard of my work. I also send my manuscripts to professional editors and assessors, my critique group, publishing houses and writing competitions. I have written about this before in my post about the importance of Participating. Having some kind of deadline is good for you, it stops you procrastinating and wasting valuable writing time!
Anyway Good luck with your work, wherever you submit it!
Once the last of my Christmas visitors have left I will be able to get down and back into my writing and drawing. Polishing, revising and rewriting manuscripts. Some I have recently received back from professional editors and manuscript assessors, and now have lots to read and think about.
Once I feel my many stories are up to scratch they will be submitted to a variety of competitions, publishing houses and critique groups.
Here are some things you might like to participate in:
Yesterday I received a rejection note in the post along with the manuscript for a children’s picture book that I had sent over a month ago.
A reply in just over a month is pretty good going compared to some publishing houses. It is also very interesting to reread a manusript that you have not seen for a while, as you can see it again with fresh eyes. Maybe you can see why it was rejected in the first place or you may decide that it was just not what that particular publishing house was looking for in this moment in time.
I find space from a manuscript can be a good thing. I am then excited to look at it again and edit it with a keener more experienced eye. I am no proffessional, but I am learning all the time. And with each manuscript I can feel that I am getting better and better. I may sound over positive or sure but if I am not determined to succeed or believe in myself then all this work is a waste of time. I am not a time waster and enjoy stretching my brain, challenging myself and being creative!
So fingers crossed for the other 5 manuscripts I have out there in the book world!