Saturday, May 23, 2009

Maybe I Just Have Terrible Taste?

Okay, another week. And still no word from Editor X. I will see her at the NJ SCBWI Conference on June 5th. (But I don't know if I will even have to the nerve to ask her about it there.)

In the meantime, I need to come up with a clever ending for Rat. That whole story poured out of me during NaPiBoWriWee until I got to the very last stanza. Then I was stuck. I hadn't even planned the Cat-napping. It just wrote itself. That has honestly never happened to me before. I wrote the entire story "JOP" style. I just kind of wrote as quickly as possible, without worrying about things like perfect meter. (Of course, I tried this technique again during NaPi week with no success)

Anyway, I sent MelissaPEA a new story (She's the friend who's identity I was trying to protect in my last post, but she outted herself in the comments). It's called Maddie and Mae and it is my latest PB with Becky. Melissa loved it. I myself don't particularly care for it and I can't figure out exactly why. I like the premise. I like the tight structure. I just don't feel any emotional attachment to it at all.

Becky and I subbed it to our online critique group and we got this as our first response:

Okay, I have just about 4 words to say: GET THIS TO SUBMISSION! It is peerless, fabulous, and utterly publishable. Seriously. It totally rocks! I put a few notes throughout, but really there's very little to say. I love it!

Can't really hope for a better reaction than that. So why aren't I excited about this story? Is it possible that I just have terrible taste in picture books? That would explain a lot. It would explain why no one wants to publish Shoo, Scoot, Skiddoo which I absolutely LOVE. It would explain why I can't stand a lot of the best selling PBs out there. Perhaps my mistake for the past several years has been trying to write stuff that I find appealing. Perhaps I should be trying to write stuff I hate?

15 comments:

Lisa and Laura said...

Hmmm...maybe you're just being overly critical? I have a really hard time being objective about our work, especially if I've read it a lot. Perhaps you need to put it away for a week or two and then look at it with fresh eyes. I have the tendency to get sick of reading my own words if I get too close to a manuscript.

Regardless, if you're getting feedback like that it's got to be good!

Casey said...

Maybe you've just got your own style and once you break it in to the publishing biz, it'll be huge.

: )

Great feedback though. Can't wait to hear how it does on submission.

MelissaPEA said...

I think I liked your new book so much because there were no hostages or SWAT Teams.

Seriously, if you make the changes to the new manuscript, it will be of publishable quality. I wouldn't worry so much about your own emotional attachment to it. I don't necessarily love my manuscripts equally, and it has nothing to do with the quality. It has to do with whether there's some personal tidbit in it; a wink-wink or an association with something meaningful to me. (Are you going to make me guestblog on this?)

Wouldn't you still be happy if your manuscript were published, even though you aren't as attached to it?

Corey Schwartz said...

Melissa, Good question. I don't know. I might not be happy if I have to read it OVER and OVER on school visits. If I'm not crazy about it now, imagine how sick of it I'd be then! :)

Kimberly said...

Corey, I just found and read a fantastic book about writing children's books and how to be an objective critic of your own work. It has really helped me out, and I think you might get a lot from it too. It is called Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, published 2009. I hope this helps!

Hardygirl said...

Oh, you should definitely approach Editor X at the conference. You will totally kick yourself if you don't. Seriously.

I have had the exact same thing happen with my manuscripts. Is this like mother love--we can love the most ugly, hideous thing because it's ours? And, then we'll ignore our homecoming queen daughter because she doesn't need us to build her up. I don't know.

Can't wait to hear good news from the conference!

sf

Corey Schwartz said...

Thanks, everybody. Kim, it looks good. I'll order on amazon. Appreciate the recommendation.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Oh, Corey, you just made me laugh out loud! Write books you hate? Do you really hate the book? I don't know why you don't feel a personal attachment to it... maybe it's like with dating... when you finally stop looking for it, the right person walks in and you end up falling in love :^)

taralazar said...

Oh yeah, you're like George Constanza when he realizes if everything he does is wrong, then the opposite will be right.

Have a chicken salad on rye instead of your usual tuna on toast.

But seriously...

You WROTE the story, so it has to have a piece of you in it somewhere. Now, does Mick Jagger LOVE every single song he every wrote? Probably not. I'm sure he's a little sick of the woo-woos in "Sympathy for the Devil" by now. But it's still a rockin' tune.

beth said...

LOL--One of the best things about have critiquers and beta readers is having them give you confidence you don't have.

Rebecca said...

Write stuff you hate?? No way! We share some favorites, you know. We both LOVE Bear Snores On. So, you definitely have good taste.

:-)

Kelly H-Y said...

Wow ... what a great response! That makes you feel good! Too funny, though ... I'm the same way ... the ones I'm totally in love with often get more feedback that I'm not sure I agree with, and the ones I'm not sure about get the great 'it's ready to go' reactions!

B.J. Anderson said...

Lol, sometimes I feel like this, too. The stuff I love gets blase responses and the stuff that I'm "eh" about gets rave reviews. And I just hate writing stuff that's "eh" to me.

C.R. Evers said...

Wow! That's awesome feedback. I know that we are all our own worst critics so. . . beyond that I don't know what else to offer. Excpet that the feedback you got is awesome! YOu go girl!

Christy

Suzanne Casamento said...

NO. Don't try and write stuff you hate. Write stuff you love. If it's good, it will find a home.

And as for the PB you're not in love with but everybody else is, there's a reason you wrote it. You may not know why yet, but sooner or later, that magical quality will click. And you will love it.

Meanwhile, submit it and get back to the stuff you love.