Friday, February 27, 2009
Perking Up a Picture Book
While digging through old versions of Hop! Plop! for an upcoming school visit, I came across my very first draft. Gosh, is it pathetic!
I am calling this to your attention, not to disparage myself (I do plenty of that in other posts), but to remind you that the goal of a first draft is just to GET SOMETHING DOWN. It doesn't matter how crappy it is. You just need something to work with.
Once you have a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, you can work on style, or as my friend Kristy says, "funning up" the language.
There are lots of ways to do this. Here are just a few.
4) Made up words
In Hop! Plop! I decided to mainly go with #1 and #3. In the opening scene Mouse and Elephant find a playground and decide to go on the seesaw.
Here were the original words I put down: So, Mouse hopped onto one end of the seesaw, and Elephant plopped onto the other. But Elephant hit the ground with a thud, and Mouse was flung far into the air.
You can clearly see what I was envisioning, but this did not achieve the effect I was going for. After a few other unsuccessful attempts, I hit on a solution:
Mouse landed with a whop! (this last line later changed)
A lot punchier, huh? In a picture book, less is often more. And now, I had a pattern that I could repeat throughout the book.