Tag Archives: childrens book

A Book is a Book is a Book, Unless it’s Your Book, Then it Becomes a Whole Other Entity

I’ll have to admit I’m enthralled whenever I watch a television show or movie centered around an author. For reasons unknown, this seems to be more prevalent in mysteries.

Being one of my favorite shows, I watch Andy Griffith each morning. This a.m., there was an episode where Andy’s fiancée, Helen Crump, had written a children’s manuscript and sent it to a publisher in Richmond. Surprisingly so, in the mail several weeks later came an acceptance letter and a check for $1,000.

She made the trip to Richmond and reviewed details such as art work. The publisher suggested she begin rewrites. Later on in the show, one of the editors came to Mayberry and began working with Helen in the rewriting process. It was really surprising to see the characters  write with nothing but a pencil.

On one occasion, I saw a typewriter, not in use, but packed up with the lid attached. Even with the double barrel approach of the mighty pencil and the electric typewriter, I cannot imagine having to do edits and rewrites with such archaic writing utensils. Still we complain like babies when our computers act up showing how spoiled we’ve become with the tools of today at our disposal.

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I Would Read This With a Cow, I Would Read This With a Sow, I Would Read This on a Plow or I Would Read This Blog Right Now

I remember when I was but a wee lad falling in love with the written word. In the years prior, my parents would read the wonderful Dr. Seuss to keep me entertained. I still remember Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, The Cat in the Hat and many others too numerous to list. I believe the first book I read on my own was The Enormous Egg. This would help set the stage for my love of Science Fiction later in life. In the second grade, I fell in love with Charlotte’s Web and would read it nearly every day.

My first YA novel was The Red Planet by Robert Heinlein, which I read until the covers fell off. As I graduated to a more adult level of reading, Stephen King was the man. In fact, for me he still is. After I had read King for a while, I made a determination. With all the stuff, he has floating around in his head, had he not started writing, King would have become a serial killer or his head would have exploded. My favorite works by Stephen King are The Dark Tower series and Needful Things. Even though I have published four novels, my writing experience has yet to elevate me to the status of any of the authors I have mentioned, but you never know unless you try. So I guess I’ll keep on writing until the herd of turtles come home.   

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You Best be Gettin’ a Pencil with an Eraser on Both Ends Before You Start This Mess

boybookHave you ever thought of writing or perhaps have written a book with illustrations? No, you say? Well allow me to impart a small amount of insight (no matter how misguided) to you.

If I haven’t said this before and I know I haven’t, this is a children’s book. First, you write the story portraying in your mind’s eye how the characters will look and act.

Then, you find an out-of-work illustrator. Mine just happened to be my best buddy, the Sooz, aka Suzie. She has commiserated with me on several books usually as a typist. When I found out she was an outstanding drawer of stuff, I commissioned the Sooz to assist me in my endeavor.

I wrote the story, then she began to make preliminary sketches. We finally came to the point to begin marrying the concepts together.

It went something like this: How about this? Okay, but with this. Erase, erase, redraw. Like this? Kinda, just more like this. Erase, erase, redraw. Is this more what you’re looking for? Yes, though I’d make this shorter. Erase, erase, redraw. This? Exactly…well, this part should probably be a tad smaller. Erase, erase, redraw. That’s it!

Now, that was drawing number one. It’s kinda like washing your hair. Lather, rinse, repeat in a never-ending cycle of lather, rinse, repeat. This continues until forever ends.

Then, you take the smallest book you have ever written and attempt to reconcile the generations that have passed that will never have a chance to read this eight page long testament to your writing career.

Okay, I’ll admit I’m a bit melodramatic, but you take an hour’s worth of lather, rinse, repeat or more correctly, erase, erase, redraw and see what analogies you come up with.

It’s been fun, kids, but now I must see what other conundrums I may want to dive into the middle of.

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