Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipe for a Picture Book

I have taken a brief hiatus from writing as my family just celebrated my oldest daughter becoming a Bat Mitzvah this past weekend.  I am so proud of her!  She was poised, confident, strong, and most importantly, happy with herself.  As a family, we couldn't have asked for a nicer weekend.

I wrote a small speech that I delivered to my daughter during her service.  Interestingly enough, it was the easiest piece that I have ever written.  Now the writer in me is trying to analyze why I had to do very little editing.  It was a completely different writing experience than I had ever had, and I believe that it was some of my best work to date.

The answer is easy.  The best writing comes from the writer's heart, and this speech most certainly did.  I sat at my computer, and my speech was written in 15 minutes.  I knew exactly what I wanted to say.  My daughter was my inspiration.  She was my topic as well as my audience.  While I read the speech in front of others, I was only telling the story to her--it didn't matter what others thought of my story to her.

As picture book authors, how do we define our target audience?  Are we writing for the adults who are reading the books to their children, or are we writing for the children only?  I think that this is a tough question to answer.  As a parent, I tend read to my children with less emotion if it is a story that does not interest me.  However, as an author, I have a message that I want to share with children and I want to do it on their terms, not necessarily their parents'.

Based on all of this, I have come up with a simple recipe for a picture book.  Please follow below, and as my grandmother alway said, 'adjust to taste.'

2 cups-- topic
dash-- editing
1 cup-- parent audience
2 cups-- child audience
as much as you have-- inspiration from the heart

Mix well.  Share with others.

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