Wednesday, June 25, 2008


HOARD is a weird word for the week. Perhaps this illo will do. It’s from a picture book story I started a few years ago. After many revisions and even throwing out the entire first manuscript of 800+words, it’s finally ready for a publisher to review. The new text is just over 250words and has a much stronger voice. If I have learned anything, it‘s that I have to be willing to sacrifice my favorite portions of a story in order for it to take on a life of its own and go beyond my original inspiration. A few friends from my critique group had a hard time letting go of the first manuscript’s direction. I had a ton of puns for coffee to punch up the humor, but in this case the text competed with the illos. I had a complete book dummy by that point, and I thought that I would have to start over with new character designs as well. On a whim, I removed all the text and treated it like a wordless picture book and that’s when something rewarding happened. The main character told me the story. I scribbled the words down in the margins of dummy, tweaked them a little, and didn’t miss any of the old text.
And yes, at the moment I’m hoarding the identity of the main character. She’s not there. Maybe I will share her with you next week.

Friday, June 6, 2008


When I was very young my grandmother sewed dolls for my little sister and me. My dolls were often dressed in purple and wore pigtails. I wore pigtails too. I still have most of my dolls except for my favorite one. She was left under my climbing tree during a storm. later I found her beneath some loquat leaves in a dried up puddle. The dirt wouldn’t wash off, her fabric became brittle, and soon she was gone. My heart sank. It was my fault. I had forgotten her, but only that one time.