Probably the sixth or seventh time, I revised this picture book manuscript. Can I keep the flow going without the words? As a predominantly middle grade and young adult novelist who uses lots of words, to squeeze meaning into 500 words or less with a beginning, middle and end including a story arc, well it’s exhausting. You lose perspective on the flow, the rhythm, the characters, and the plot. You read it aloud at least 10 times and you know no more about your manuscript now than you did. So I keep plodding along.
Lily’s Lagniappe: Taking your family to Mardi Gras parades? The best ones for families are off St. Charles Ave on Saturday before Fat Tuesday. St. Charles Avenue is a divided boulevard. So you can easily find an area where you can set up chairs and bring your own coolers. Kids will not be pushed around or stepped on. The float riders through cups, doubloons (Mardi Gras coins), beads and candy. Go early stay late. Laissez les bons temps rouler, (Let the good times roll).
Revising a picture book where the main character doesn’t eat his breakfast and he and his mommy are traveling to see his Grandma and Grandpa for lunch. Before long his stomach starts growling. So I’m revising and really wanting this picture book to get good comments on the website where I’m a member. Hoping this counts as manuscript number two. I revised and wrote a manuscript in January and didn’t get credit for them.
Lily’s Lagniappe: The pastry during carnival is usually the King Cake but there is another cake called a Doberge Cake. It has nine layers and is sold exclusively by Gambinos Bakery. It is a must have when visiting New Orleans.
Working on revisions of several manuscripts, some posting on a website for year long quest for a total of 12 PB manuscripts; one a month. Working on several middle grade, chapter book, and young adult manuscripts also. My brain works best if I keep it thinking about a variety of different problems with different characters in different circumstances. Some folks just don’t know what it is like to have all that in your brain then solve their problems while leading a relatively normal life. I occasionally talk out the problems as I drive to get groceries, to work, to the post office and other places. I probably look deranged while talking out these issues. Beware! There are a lot of us on the road.
Lily’s Lagniappe: Right after Fat Tuesday, lent begins. In every restaurant in Louisiana there is a seafood entree on Friday. Fish, shrimp, crawfish, and seafood gumbo are delicious offerings during this time until Easter. One of my favorites is shrimp and corn soup. There are a lot of recipes on the internet but I usually like the ones that are milk based. I actually like skim milk based recipes. Find one you like and try it. It may become a family favorite!
Still revising the picture book to send out and also the chapter book I want to send too. Still have three YA novels also in revision. How can working on YA novels help me develop and write picture books or vice versa? Emma Walton Hamilton says you must put every word on trial for its existence! Every word so writing picture books will help a writer become a better writer, but how will that help you write a young adult novel? From my experience it helps you get from beginning to end, building you novel’s bare bones. Then comes the filler, the subplots that make your novel your own and the secondary characters you use to help you tell your story. So being able to write both picture books, middle grade novels and YA novels improves your perspective for the overall picture or scope of a book. The bare bones of a book is the skeleton or outline of what you need to address and build upon. The rule Emma Walton Hamilton gives us makes writing to the outline even more important. For a picture book even the manuscript needs to be bare boned; leaving out things for the illustrator to illustrate and keeping the action going from beginning to end. For middle grade novels and YA novels, the words we use should also be on trial, making every word count. So no matter what you write make it the best you can.
Lily’s Lagniappe: Mardi Gras balls are in full swing and yet very soon carnival season will be over for another year. Everyone starts Ash Wednesday planning for next year. If you’re in New Orleans enjoy but be careful, remember you really have no choice once in a crowd. You go the way the crowd is going. Keep your wits about you and drink only after you get back to your room.