Friday, February 4, 2011

The Evolution of Mr. Duck Means Business (and a giveaway)

Okay, there is a definite theme here this month.  Has anybody noticed it?   Some people claim that ideas just come to them wholly formed.  But for most of us, ideas evolve.  For the next few weeks, I am going to focus on how ideas develop and change during the process of crafting a story.

We may start out writing a PB and it ends up a middle grade novel!  (Yes, come back next week to hear about the evolution of Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner)  We may start out writing in prose and it may end up in rhyme.  Or... we might do what Tammi Sauer did.   I'll let her tell you in her own words:

MR. DUCK MEANS BUSINESS stars an uppity duck that goes a little haywire when the other barnyard animals mistakenly think they’ve been invited for a swim in his otherwise peaceful pond.

The original manuscript, however, didn’t have a duck or a pond. It featured a huffy little old lady. Miss Matilda’s house was located near the park and all of the neighborhood kids used her yard for the shortcut. The chaos drove her bananas. After some doing, Miss Matilda found a way to isolate her house and yard from the commotion. But…it didn’t take her long to discover she missed those kids.

Pre-agented, I subbed MISS MATILDA MEANS BUSINESS and received lovely rejections and a revision request. But no takers. Then something occurred to me about a year later—kids don’t relate to an old lady who wants to keep a nice yard!

Shocking, I know!

I kept the same premise, tweaked the characters and the setting, and *presto-chango*, the manuscript sold in a multiple-bidding situation.
To enter to win a copy of this adorable book, just "Like" my Three Ninja Pigs page on Facebook.

You get an entry just for being a follower.  You get an extra entry if you leave a comment. Winner will be picked Monday, Feb 7th at 10:00 AM EST.  


Kristin said...

Ah! I love these back-stories! :)
Thanks, ladies!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me, Corey!

I probably should clarify that *presto-chango* involved A LOT of work on my part. As you know, so much is involved in getting a picture book manuscript just right. Word choice, the right character, tension, showing instead of telling, and 362 other things have to fall in place to get a mansucript to work. :)

--Tammi Sauer

Hardygirl said...

Great story! I love that it started with a little old lady.

I actually turned (what I thought was) a middle grade novel into a picture book manuscript.

I think it's that willingness to turn your manuscript on its head that's one of the most important things in writing.


Dana Carey said...

Really helpful! This nugget could come in handy.

BK Mattingly said...

I love hearing the paths books go through before they're published,so much fun.

Jewel Sample said...

It is good to know maybe one of my old stories has future possibilities if I think out of the box a little. Great reminder. Thank you for sharing.

Susan R. Mills said...

This is good stuff. You never know where your little nugget of an idea will end up.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

This is fascinating. I love hearing the inside info on how a picture book (or novel) ended up the way it is.

Thanks, Corey! And thanks, Tammi!

Tana said...

Tammi, what a great story! And what a great lesson on knowing your audience. Thank you for sharing!! Have a great weekend Tammi and Corey!

Rebecca Gomez said...

I've "liked" your Three Ninja Pigs page since the beginning.

Sounds like a cute book!

Kim said...

How smart of her to realize this. Although I love the idea of the crabby old lady. :)

Waaahhh...I'm not on FB so I can't enter the giveaways. :(

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Tammi~ I knew you were one smart cookie the moment I met you! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Great post, Corey! I liked your Three Ninja Pigs page. :)

Christie Wright Wild said...

Oh, that was great. Seeing how things revise gets the rest of us thinking how to change things up.

Larissa said...

I liked the page!

Larissa said...

Commented on FB!