As we’re starting out on our second week of writing a nonfiction picture book in 3 weeks, I wanted to give you a heads up that this week is a holiday week for many of us. It’s Easter break at my husband’s school and he’ll be home all week. I know I’m going to have to adjust some of these writing sessions to fit my holiday schedule and you might need to as well.
Go ahead and use the blank calendar I provide to readjust the schedule to fit your personal needs. And if you haven’t yet downloaded either the 3-Week Nonfiction Picture Book Calendar or the 3-Week Blank Calendar, you can find both at the link of my writing buddies, “Writing According to Humphrey and Friends.”
This week we’ll be concentrating on writing the actual first draft of our picture book manuscript. I’ve broken the writing into 5 sessions, so for each session you only need to be writing about 200 words or less. You can do this!
Your Mentor Text
For today, read just the “Beginning” of your mentor text. You should have noted the page numbers of this section on the plot worksheet you filled out on Wednesday last week. Read this section over again to get the flow/voice/format/structure fresh in your writer’s brain.
Focus on reading sections of your research books that have to do with the material you need for writing your beginning. If you’ve been doing tons of sweeping overviews of your topic, today is the day to focus on the facts behind what you want to say in the beginning of your manuscript.
Your Writing Session
Have the plot worksheet and the outline both handy to look at as you’re working on writing, actually writing, the beginning section of your first draft. These two worksheets will be your roadmap, your GPS system, that you follow as you sit down to write.
At this point, let go of any critical comments your brain might be trying to say and allow your creative side to speak up. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect (It CAN’T be because it’s a first draft!) and try not to stress out about it. Try most of all to enjoy the magic of the moment of bringing the first shining sunbeams of your thoughts to light.
After your writing session is finished, take a few moments and plug in footnotes for each of the facts you stated. I like to highlight facts that need footnotes in red in my manuscript so that I remember to go back in and include at least 3 sources for each of them or 1 trusted primary source.