Posted by: nancyisanders | March 20, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book: Writer’s Mini-Retreat Week 5

My intrepid little group of writing friends met yesterday once again.

Once again, we set our writing goals. We all were heading toward the finish line and planned on working on the fourth big section of our picture books: the ending.

And…drumroll please…during the time we spent together I finished the first draft of my nonfiction picture book from beginning to end.

Wow. It feels really good to get to this point. Lots of hard work went into this.

But it’s also kind of a “midpoint” feeling. Now I know that I’ve got to roll up my sleeves and take time for the process of editing this first draft and getting it up to the quality it needs to get published.

I actually spent some time during the mini-retreat yesterday working on self-editing it. My main focus now that I had an entire first draft in my hand was two fold:

1) Consistency: Make the voice consistent throughout, see that the focus I had established at the beginning carried out the entire way through the end, and see that it progressed through the story arc in a balanced way that better followed the plot worksheet and the outline I’d created.

2) Get the word count closer to today’s market of 800 words. The first half of my draft stayed on target but in the second half I got very, very wordy. So I tightened up the second half to be more consistent in its weight to balance the first half (word-count wise). I omitted entire sections and paragraphs (always keeping copies of those drafts and saving the files as new ones in case I decide to plug something back in again later). Then I went backwards and cut at least one word per sentence the whole way through to the beginning. And I ended up with 1091 words.

What next?

Let’s talk about that in the next post.

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