|I made a video about my wonderful day reading |
picture books at Foyles
This is because I'm kind of in a mini gap while waiting for the proofs of my next book SHINE which is out in September ... which means I'm trying to write picture books.
I'm definitely no expert on picture books, it's an art form that has baffled me since I got my first rejection slip almost a dozen years ago now.
But it so happens, this week has been a week of brilliant posts about the making of picture books on the blogosphere.
Ragnhild Scamell over on the Picture Book Den, deals with how picture book texts have to be formatted on submission.
I was relieved to discover that there was no proper way - the key is to create an enticing reading experience for your editor.
But Ragnhild's main point is this:
A picture book is a story visualized by three people: the writer, the editor and the illustrator. Read the articleAs Ragnhild's work became more polished, she found herself wondering how much of the book she was leaving for the editor and the illustrator to get their teeth into:
"Do publishers actually want thoroughly honed stories? The editor will be looking for something new and exciting, and the story must first and foremost be capable of inspiring the illustrator, so that she can produce her best and most imaginative work."Adam Rex, who illustrated Neil Gaiman's new picture book Chu's Day (geddit?), blogged on Muddy Colors, the Illustrator collective blog, about how he makes a picture book, from storyboard to final artwork.
You can read about Adam's process here. But in the comments he explains something that I'd never understood - which pages are the 32 pages that make a picture book? It's the subject of much conjecture, as evidenced by this well illustrated discussion on the Drawn Blog (with thanks to Dana Atnip for the heads up on SCBWI's LinkedIn group).
But here at last is the technical explanation. If you can't be bothered to trawl through the comments of Adam Rex's post, here's what Adam said (non-geeks, this might give you a headache):
...only those pages that are printed on the same paper as the story itself should be considered in the page count. So if the endpapers are of a different paper stock (which is most often the case), you do not count these. Such a book is called "separated ended."So now you know.
But sometimes a book's endpapers are of the same paper as the rest of the book. This is a "self-ended" book, and the endpapers count. And here's the weird part: in such a book, the first page is the one that's pasted face-down against the board. The second page is the first visible (yet still un-flippable) page, and so on. The last page is similarly pasted face-down against the back board.
A half-title is a page that displays the book's title but typically nothing else. It's accompanied by a full title page (or spread) as well.
You can also budget a full page just for a dedication, or stick that dedication with the copyright.
If you want to look sophisticated in the company of picturebookerati, you can now casually use the words 'separated-ended' and 'self-ended' without looking like a total fool.
Apologies for life being a bit slow on the Slushpile this month. Teri very suddenly found herself touring the country promoting Fractured (energetic publicist, you see), Addy's been cycling and getting lost in the North of England, Maureen is working on her forthcoming utterly wonderful book (I read Florence and the Meanies and lemme tell you, it was wow - and that was just a draft), and Jo foolishly started a new blog (Space on the Bookshelf - go check it out) - that makes three blogs she's involved in now! But don't worry - there's even more blogging going on - do check out Words & Pictures, the new online magazine of SCBWI in the British Isles.