Sunday, January 10, 2010


When I posted my bio on my illustrator website I mentioned how writing and illustration was a road to self-discovery and I meant it. Through the many years I have been pursuing publication I have thought long and hard about what exactly I WANT and LOVE to write. And a few days ago I read a thread on "The Blue" about a situation/decision. The question posed was would you (pretending you were an editor) pick premise over writing assuming one was weak and other strong. And one writer answered how hard it would be to do so because writing has to fit the book and that writing entails many things those being character development, plotting, voice/language/dialogue/pacing/structure/world building etc. (I'll add rhythm). I felt like a glowing coconut conked my head open.

And that premise doesn't always have to be original to make a book strong if the writing works well for the book. (Altho great premises can help.)

In terms of writing all of these things should matter and be apparent in the finished piece. But one of them stuck out for me as something I really l think I am GOOD at and LOVE and that is World Building... but... in my illustration. I love characters and characterization and things happening in a social world. I love places and different settings and movement from one spot to another. I love reactions and responses.

I love main character development, as well. Fun as fun can be.

Plotting is harder, tho, for me. But challenge is good. Yes, challenge is GOOD. And the plot IS the challenge and problem solving. But I think I am getting better at it and am not afraid of it anymore. Actually, when it works I get a "high" from it.

But language I always wonder about. I like it. But will you, my children and adult readers? Will it work for this book? This is my insecurity... and maybe stupid one. I've always been quiet but when I write I can sometimes reveal my own insecurities.

I wonder how many writers are good at all four things. I wonder how many writers would say three of the above come naturally.

I wonder what other writers and illustrators recognize any of these as challenges as they create picture books and novels.

And when I look at big character picture books (my favorite to create) I will try harder to meet all of the above and give them my all.

I've discovered what I like to create, what I think I am good at, what to look and strive for. The four doorways: Character, Plot, Language and World.

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