by Cara J. Stevens
Part 1: From idea to first draft
The first time I submitted a manuscript, it was rejected within 24 hours. “This story is more instructional than engaging,” the editor said, and went on to suggest that it would make a great article. I was dismayed and confused. I thought I had written a story that hit all the notes of a good picture book. I wondered where I had gone wrong.
I reached out to a colleague who used to be a children’s book agent. “Your main character has no agency,” he pointed out. “If your main character has a problem and someone else solves it, then he’s not really your main character.” My mind was sufficiently blown. As soon as he said it, I saw it so clearly! After a lifetime of reading and exploring picture books, how could I have missed that?Continue reading