Okay, way back when... I posted a before and after stanza from THREE NINJA PIGS to give you an idea of how rhyming picture books evolve.
I thought it might be fun to do the same thing for GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS.
GOLDI was much more of a struggle than PIGS. It went through many more incarnations.
In the first draft, I just try to get the skeletal frame down. Roughly what content will fall in each stanza. I do try to make it rhyme, but I don't worry about the meter at this stage.
Perfecting meter can take hours tweaking. I don't want to take the time until I know I have the content right. Stanzas may have to combined or cut completely. So, I wait until I can take a look at the big picture. I may LOVE a stanza on its own, but it may not work within the larger context of the story.
Here is Goldi entering the Bears' house:
She heard the bear's stereo blaring
Without hesitation, she knocked
"It's such a great oldie!
"I'll join in," cried Goldi.
She soon found the door was unlocked.
We later realized, we didn't want Goldi to be enticed by music. So it turned into this:
She spotted their quaint little cottage.
"Oh what a sweet house!" Goldi cried.
She rang the front bell
Is that porridge I smell?
"I'll just take a small peek inside!"
The story turned out to be too long, so we had to combine this stanza with the previous one in which the bears set out to find a singer.
They set out to find a soprano
Soon after they left, a girl knocked
"Is that porridge I smell?
Gee, that would be swell.”
She checked and the house was unlocked.
We save all drafts. You never know when you might want to return to an earlier rhyme (knocked, unlocked)
Sometimes when you are revising, you have to kill your darlings. My favorite stanza in the whole story got cut :(
The Bears kept on ruling out singers:
"Too fancy." "Too dance-y." "Too plain."
While they judged in the square…
a young girl with blond hair
was wandering down the Bears' Lane.
I could see the three bears sitting at "The Judges" table like Paula, Randy, and Simon! I loved it, but I had to let it go!
We have dozens and dozens of drafts. And we are not done. Goldi sold to Putnam, and our editor will no doubt want at least one more round of edits.