Friday, July 22, 2016

Ten Things I Know I Need to do for a Successful Revision: Illustrating is More Fun Than Writing

The year is more than half gone and I have succeeded in producing a mouse illustration for each of the 204 days to date. I am encouraged that picture number 200 has garnered more  "Likes" in FaceBook than any picture so far.
"Mousekin Reunion - 200 Mice" took pretty much an entire day to complete, but it was fun. It is quite a different style than most of my drawings. I was amused when I finished to discover that I had included 206 mice, so I had to eliminate six of them. But I am very happy with how it turned out. SO happy that I have ordered a picture puzzle of it. If I like the puzzle, I will be selling it on my "MousekinMarket" on

Maintaining the commitment to produce a mouse illustration every day has been difficult at times, but the joys of social networking provided constant feedback and encouragement, so I have been able to keep it up. Friends and family have "Liked", "Loved" and commented on every picture I've posted. Beaucoup thanks to all who watch for Mousekin every day. This really helps me to keep energized, though I admit that some days (or evenings) the inspiration is hard to gather to make it happen.  Discovering that a number of my drawings are now turning up on Google Searches for mice  or Mousekin, is encouraging too.

Perhaps that is why the writing seems more difficult. Distractions abound in everyone's lives, I am sure. But getting the energy so sit down and rewrite something that you've already written and rewritten dozens of times, something you've loved, is really the pits! I know the rewrites are needed to improve the book, but so many people loved it in the original form that it's hard to get motivated to revise.

Here are Ten Things I Know I Need to do for a Successful Revision:

1. Make time (Schedule it in writing on a calendar) to work regularly.
2. Work at my desk in my studio, not in the living room where distractions are legion.
3. Make a new storyboard with sketches and text on post-its for easy rearrangement.
4. Research wildlife species to find local species that can reasonably provide the numbers required for the counting book at the right time of year (late summer). [I included plants to count in the original version, but I think having it all animals to count will be more engaging.]
5. Get to know (more fully develop) Mama Mouse - now my main character. Have her guide the story where it needs to go.
6. Use Cheryl Klein's idea of writing a letter to a friend about the story, what it's about, what the story is, what I want the book to do, what I love about it and what I think needs work. Then actually share the letter with two or more sympathetic friends.
7. Map the backyard and mark where the action is happening. Accept that some things may need to be fudged, but try to make the story fit the scene.
8. Create a better hook for the first page.
9. Become more conscious of page turns and consider how Mousekin can improve them.
10. Keep reading about revising, but also keep writing revisions.

I'm going to work on #4 right now and see if that gets me off my duff and into the mood.  I'd like to join Mousekin for a strawberry daiquiri, but I think I'd better stick to iced tea for a bit. The day will be more productive that way, I'm sure.