Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Present Tense Picture Books

Becky and I have a Cat and Dog story that we have been struggling with for years. We have a refrain that we love, but we have never been able to perfect the rest of it. We've tried changing the rhyme scheme. We've tried switching genres (from PB to easy reader). We've tried writing it in prose. (Or maybe we haven't? But I'm sure Becky's suggested it :)

And still... we're never completely satisfied. Becky's newest idea is to switch tenses Go from past to present. "Isn't present tense a little awkward for a picture book?" I ask. "Not at all," she says. "Look at your favorite: Bear Snores On." Oh my! Is that really present tense? Yes, it is. I hadn't even noticed. Hmm. I guess it's worth a try.

We try it. I can't tell what I think. I am so used to it the old way. Guess I'll have to see what my critique group has to say.

7 comments:

Solvang Sherrie said...

It's hard, once you have it in your mind a certain way, to see it differently. You're lucky to have a critique group to bounce things off of. That's a tremendous help. Good luck!

Kelly H-Y said...

I recently did that ... switched it up to present tense! It was my first time ever doing that with a picture book ... and I LOVED the outcome. But, the first time a friend of mine critiqued it, she was thrown off a bit ... I had to tell her it was on purpose, then all was well! Good luck!

Rebecca said...

It's going well so far, don't ya agree, Corey?

;-)

Carrie Harris said...

I'm the opposite; I recently moved from present tense, where I'm most comfortable, to past, where I feel like I'm in some strange alien nation where the people talk funny and eat unidentifiable things. So good luck to both of us!

Kasie West said...

Why not? It's worth a try. I'm the same as you, sometimes someone will tell me something was written in present tense and I'll be like, No way! I have the hardest time writing in present tense. It is so elusive for me.

The Book Chook said...

One other suggestion: keep your refrain, but forget rhyme in the rest of the book and switch to prose.

Corey Schwartz said...

Thanks. Book Chook, we have tried that. I am a big fan of partial rhyme though, so maybe its worth another look. Hop! Plop! is actually done as a mix of rhyme and prose.