Rev Up Your Picture Book: Regain the Romance in Picture Book Revision

Are you past the honeymoon stage with your picture book? It was soooo good in the beginning, wasn’t it? You had a great idea–maybe the best idea ever. You wrote a manuscript–a really good one, you thought. You revised it, and then somewhere along the line….eh.  You stopped wanting to read it. You couldn’t bring yourself to send it out again.  Suddenly something that started out great ended up fading into the deep recesses of your hard drive.

How do you get it back? What will make picture book revision more fun and exciting?  What will make you–and others–love your picture book manuscript again? Here are a few ideas:

1.  Let it ride: If you don’t feel like looking at that manuscript anymore, maybe you don’t have to.  I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, often: Working on something else and returning to a project later can help you see it in a whole new light. Perhaps love will be better the second time around.

2. Embrace The New: Sometimes we are so tied to our idea of what something should be, that we forget to notice its intrinsic beauty. That is, we may start our picture book with a particular idea in mind, and yet what we write has the capacity for something different, perhaps something more.  Is there a theme you neglected to notice? A potential refrain that you haven’t used yet? Is there a refrain that you’ve created that you can vary somehow to enhance the story? Can you tie the ending of the manuscript back into the beginning? As you reread your manuscript, be alert for patterns and ideas you may have missed before that could strengthen the manuscript. Try to bring those to the forefront.

3.  Try A Twist: Maybe you didn’t choose the right voice, or the main character should be a boy, or the pet should be a frog and not a dog, or it should be set by the beach rather than the mountains. There isn’t necessarily a right choice to any of these–except the one that gets you excited to write or revise and brings new life to that old love.

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