Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Writing of a Book: With a Little Help From My Friends

Writing for publication—even without a writing or illustrator partner—is usually a social experience involving the suggestions, comments and opinions of family, friends, agents, editors and illustrators. After writing the first draft of Signed Abiah Rose my sister was my first “editor”, as well as various other writers, a famous agent and at least one editor who critiqued it at a conference. They all liked it, which was very encouraging, and when the manuscript won an SCBWI Writer’s Day picture book contest I was very much encouraged! When it sold to Tricycle Press my editor, Abigail Samoun, made just the right suggestions and by asking some great questions she helped me re-think certain sentences and ideas. An excellent editor and just the right one for me. Wearing my illustrator hat I came up with ideas to enhance the story by visual collaboration with my writer self. I was able to thank my sister and my editor in my published picture book which was too small an expression of my appreciation of their contributions in bringing Abiah into published “life”. I believe editors’ and agents’ contributions should always be acknowledged by at least mentioning their names in the books on which they have been involved.

At present I’m happily editing a manuscript with my former editor (now my agent! At Red Fox Literary). We were working on it before Tricycle was closed. Previously it had been critiqued by others – my sister, of course, and a good friend who is an excellent writer. Suggestions were made. One editor who critiqued it at a conference was very interested in it which was very encouraging. It won a Writer’s Day picture book contest which was also encouraging.

Though we write the work ourselves, the road to publication is often lined with wise advice and kind and helpful words.

My next post will be on writers and artists whose work is – from the beginning – collaborative. They work together as a team, believing they can inspire and enhance each other’s work and create something better together than they would separately.

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