typewriter keys

It’s been quiet in these parts because I’ve been working on my picture books. Yes, there are two, and I’ve been trying to get one of them polished and shiny enough to send to an agent, who requested some revisions. There aren’t many second chances when it comes to literary agents. That means I better impress her or go home.

Writing for children is not as easy. It has taken me two years to get to this point. I think I’m close. Very close. I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on, and I’m always thinking about my books, their characters, and how to turn a phrase. I’ve also been thinking about some testers. Published authors often urge aspiring writers to listen to children for dialogue and to read to them for their reactions. I just so happen to have a kindergartner, and her teacher allowed me to read my work to her students.

The first book tells the story of a little girl who discovers her color. The 5-year-olds didn’t like that one much. They told me they saw the pictures and asked a few questions, but they didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about it. Maybe it was too quiet. Children love to interact with books these days. Many of those popular today are far from quiet.

The second book is about a 5-year-old who uses every tactic in the book to delay going to school. It weighs in at about 100 words and uses the same phrase several times. The children giggled in the right places and told me the manuscript is funny. For that book, I got the highest compliment. “Read it again!” And I read it one more time.

What’s interesting to me is that the book I’ve got my heart set on, the one I’ve been working on for two years fell flat. The book I wrote in a half hour got all the praise. Maybe the lesson here is that I’m trying too hard or simply need to inject some fun into the other book. I’ll soon find out and hope to share good news soon.