Monday, February 13, 2012

Slowly but Surely

And here we are seven or so months later with only three and a half chapters, just over 4,000 words, in first-draft form. I never said I would write it quickly! It is coming along though and I am enjoying giving the story some substance.

Recently I decided if I was going to take the time to write a book, then I would want to see if it was good enough to be published. Something which kids other that my own, who by law must say it is the most wonderful thing they have ever laid eyes on, would be interested in reading. So I have done some research into books that I feel are in a similar age range to what I am writing, trying to determine about how long the book should be. In addition to jotting down the length and other facts about each book, I have checked out and read as many of them as my local library has availabe. This has been in between reading books for my own pleasure, as I just had to finish the last installment of The Hunger Games series! I saw a piece of advice in the 2012 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market that said you should "Read at least 200 children's books in the age group and genre in which you hope to be published. Follow this by reading another 100 children's books in other age groups and genres so you will have a feel for the field as a whole." I was lamenting the fact that I barely have time to do the laundry (although as noted above I do make time to read for my own pleasure) let alone go read 300 kids books, and my husband pointed out that I probably already have, seeing that I am constantly reading to my kids who are in my target age group! Unfortunately my kids are currently obsessed with the Hardy Boys books (the original series) so I’m not gleaning any great tips on modern children’s writing from those. But we are all learning the meaning of words that even I need to look up in the dictionary to explain the definition properly!

Judy Moody by Megan McDonald, Candlewick Press (word count 11,249; pgs. 176; AR 3.5) Age Range: 6-10; Lower Grades: K-3

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, Hyperion (word count 12,706; pgs.160; AR 4.5) Age Range: 7-10; Lower Grades: K-3

Ivy & Bean by Annie Barrows, Chronicle Books (word count 7,888; pgs.120; AR 3.2) Age Range 6-9; Lower Grades: K-3

Junie B. Jones Cheater Pants by Barbara Park, Random House (word count 8,174; pgs.96; AR 3.1) Age Range6-9; Lower Grades: K-3

Only Emma by Sally Warner, Puffin (word count 13,763; pgs. 144; AR 3.9) Age Range: 8 and up; Lower Grades: K-3

Now I do feel the need to add here that I am a little upset with Judy Moody’s mother. I am also a mom, with kids in 2nd and 4th grades, and my husband and I are trying like crazy to implement a proper amount of discipline in our family. At this point in the war on discipline, if my son responded to a simple request to wake up and get ready for school with a “ROAR,” that would definitely be the WRONG answer. Maybe it is possible that when the pages of the book close (or the e-reader shuts off) that little Miss Judy gets a talking to, as some parents feel it is not kind to scold their child in public, but I’m thinking not. I was explaining this particular Judy Moody behavior to my husband recently and he was like “Hey, our son says that.” And I said, “Yes I know, this is where he got it from.” And thanks, Judy Moody’s mother, for that.

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