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Expanding My Horizon

I’ve always been a bit peculiar, to be honest. When I was a young kid, I skipped chapter books to get started on middle grade right away. I quickly brushed past middle grade, skipped young adult and ended up in adult territory. By the time I had reached age twelve, I was reading Magician by Raymond E. Feist, Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradley, Earth Children by Jean M. Auel and a whole lot of other epic fantasy books meant for adults. Looking back on it, I feel like I’ve missed something. There’s a certain magic in middle grade and younger novels that adult novels simply don’t have.

That’s why I’ve decided to take a radical decision today. I’m going to write a picture book.

I spend the last four hours doing research. Don’t be fooled by the fact a picture book is usually about 1,000 words long, sometimes less. Writing picture books is hard. I finished my first draft, but it needs a LOT of tweaking. I’ve posted it on the AbsoluteWrite forums for the wonderful folks over there to comment on it, and hopefully help me improve my writing.

It’s a huge step from writing young adult to writing picture books. I have difficulty grasping what words young kids can and can’t understand. But I’m deadset on it. I will turn this first draft into acceptable writing. I don’t know exactly why I want to do this. It’s not because I want to see my work fully illustrated (although that would, of course be amazing) or because I want to make an easy living (trust me, those 940 words for this story were more difficult than 5k in any of my young adult novels) but because I want to inspire children to read. When I was younger, the small amount of picture books that interested me did so because they involved witches, vampires, werewolves or princesses. I wasn’t a big fan of talking animals (still am not) and contemporary stories. I always felt like there weren’t enough speculative fiction picture books.

My picture book in progress (hum hum) is about a vampire, Valentina, who goes to live in a haunted mansion and has some fun adventures there.

Have you ever tried writing a picture book? If you did, why? How did you get started? Any newbie tips?

See you in June 🙂

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