As promised, I have another bit from Too Many Shoes. Though this is a short one. I don't want to give the entire story away.
Then, one morning as Abigail tramped through the mall
with a stack of new shoes… at least fifteen pairs tall.
She noticed a box by the doors leading out.
It was big.
And she thought, “What could that be about?”
I just finished the writing portion of my very large project. I thought I had it nearly wrapped up a couple weeks ago but realized that I had forgotten a story about John the Baptist. When that was finished I decided I wanted to add a story, so here I am two weeks later and one week behind schedule with what I hope is a complete manuscript or 20.
Now comes the transition to illustration. I'm praying God supplies me with the inspiration and creativity to complete the many illustrations needed by (or before) the deadline. Perhaps I will post some sketches along the way.
Some of you might remember this from a while back. Anyway, here it is again, an excerpt from one of my favorite stories (of mine) Too Many Shoes.
When choosing which shoes would go best with her clothes
she could never be sure of the shoes that she chose.
With so many choices from which she could pick
the mountain of shoes made her stomach feel sick.
She would search through them all from the first to the last
till her heartbeat was beating two-times-two, too fast.
Then she’d pout, and she’d whine, and she’d whimper and bawl,
“Having no shoes I like… is like no shoes at all!“
I will post another bit of the story later.
I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~ James Michener
Here are some samples of original lines from my story Bicycling Rules of the Road and the final lines after many, many rewrites:
“It’s a beautiful morning,” Said Darrin Van Dyke,
A fantastical day for a ride on my bike.”
Darrin’s mom gave a shout as he darted outside,
“Remember the rules of the road on your ride!”
“It’s a beautiful morning,” Said Devin Van Dyke,
My chores are all done. May I ride on my bike?”
“Fine,” called his mom, as he darted outside.
“But follow the rules of the road as you ride!”
Darrin tried to remember
The things his mom said,
All the rules that were somewhere
Up there in his head.
But Betsy just smiled
And he quickly forgot
The things he should do
And the things he should not.
Devin wanted to do what his mother had said,
But he found that he did what his friends did instead.
Betsy smiled and she waved and he simply forgot
The things he should do and the things he should not.
Thanks, for reading!
I'm in the middle of a huge project and will soon be switching gears from writing to illustrating. That's not too difficult to do. It usually takes just one wasted day of filling my waste gasket with awful sketches to change the way I'm thinking. Sometimes when I'm in the writing mode I begin to think in rhyme, "Must get to the grocery right on time, buy a peach, and a pear, and a yummy lime..." It can be slightly disturbing. Fortunately, the drawing part of the process doesn't come with such hazards. I don't go around sketching things everywhere I go. Unfortunately, illustrating can turn into a long and tedious chore . One illustration can take several days... long days! And a book can have hundreds of illustrations. But it's all part of the process, and I certainly wouldn't want someone else illustrating my stories. At least not yet.
Okay, it's been much harder to find time to write in my blog than I thought it would be. I have so much work to do that I feel guilty taking 10 minutes to write a short paragraph. Which is a good thing.
The first stories that I wrote a few years ago, took me months to finish writing, now I must finish 1 story a week for 17 weeks straight. With God all things are possible. Right? I'm down to the final 5 stories and so far still on track. I can be such a doubter. I should read the story of Gideon every day as a reminder that God is on my side and He won't let me down. Yep. I think I'll read it now before I go back to work.
I have two new books out as of yesterday! Good News of Great Joy and Food For a Fish. They are the first two books in the Magnificent Tales series from David C. Cook. Actually, when I started writing a few years ago Food for a Fish was the first story I wrote. I was illustrating Bible stories at the time and asked my publisher if I could try my hand at writing. "Why not?" she said. I had no idea if I could create anything worth while or not, but it sounded fun. The first few stories, though each was less than a thousand words, took months to finish. Now that I've had a bit more experience, it doesn't take me quite as long, and recently, while reading my older stories I still found a line or two that I wish I could change. An artist is never satisfied with their work–so they say.
Now that the stories are out, it's time to do some book promotion. These days, an author is expected to do a lot of it himself. Blogging, a Facebook page, a personal website and book-signings, school visits and a few things I haven't gotten around to yet: YouTube video,Twitter, radio interviews, etc... Oh my! It could be difficult finding time to create. And I'm not comfortable being in front of people. Sometimes a person has to go outside their comfort zone, so eventually it will get easier, right?.
Well, I've got a couple book signings lined up and a couple video-conference school visits lined up through Vanderbilt University. These are great time savers; I can share my books and talk with students at several schools around the country at the same time without leaving Nashville!
Time to get back to story writing. I have many stories to write and illustrate for a 2014 release! More on that to come later!
Yes! Finished Too Many Shoes in record time. Around two years from when I started to when I finished the manuscript. Actually, I did most of the writing in a 4 or 5 day period, which is fairly fast for me. As usual, the story doesn't resemble my original idea. I'll go back each day and read through it once or twice and make a few tweaks now and then for a couple weeks and then call it finished. I usually illustrate a cover and one spread before pitching it to anyone, but in this case I think I'll send it to my current publisher before I do that. I think the story is plenty good enough to sell itself, and besides, they know my illustrating style. Hopefully, you'll see it in your local bookstore in a couple years!
Writing stories is a new thing for me. I wrote my first story around three years ago. the most recent before that was back in Elementary School. I think of myself as a good rhymer and a fair story teller, but grammatically I'm still back in Elementary School. But I'm improving. I think.
The process of writing is fascinating and fun. I start with a very basic idea and then I start writing. And just make it up as I go. Usually, I have no idea what the ending will be until I get there. That's part of the fun-discovering the story! More time is spent re-writing than writing, making sure every word is exactly the right word. Because with a picture book, every word must be the right one. If there's a line or verse that isn't essential to the story, then it most go. If a line is just okay, then it must be improved. Okay, isn't good enough! When a story is finally complete, it usually barely resembles my original idea.
So, I'm working on this story about a girl who loves shoes, and I'm trying to finish it up before the work week begins. I actually have an idea for the ending, which is good because that's all that I still have to write. It's coming one word at a time, and seems to be taking forever. But the challenge is what makes it so fun!
I just received my copies of Food for a Fish & Good News of Great Joy! They look great! They will be in stores and available online next month! Woo Hoo!
These are the first two books in the Magnificent Tales series, of which there are four being released in the near future. There are big things in the works for later.
These are rhyming Bible stories full of my wacky illustrations. I think they're fun, and true to the stories/messages of the Bible.
Yesterday, I spent the day working on a story about a girl with too many shoes. I'd started this idea a couple years ago, but just came back to it. It's been very fun to write and was a nice break from what I had been working on. I find it helps to work on a couple projects at once to keep things fresh. It reads very smoothly and has a good flow to it. And it's weird, which I like.
Here's and excerpt: She would search through them all from the first to the last till her heartbeat was beating two-times-two too fast. Then she’d pout, and she’d whine, and she’d whimper and bawl,“Having no shoes I like… is like no shoes at all!“
Sound like anyone you know? I didn't think so.
My first blog.
Is it a true blog if it's only a couple sentences long?
This is more likely to be short notes about what I'm working on than what I would call a blog. Time will tell.
I will try to make updates at least once or twice a week, though they may be very short ones. Please feel free to ask me questions, as they will provide me with any easy topic.
Today, instead of writing or illustrating, I'm updating my website, creating an author FB page and setting up signing dates for my next two books which are due out next month(October). Yes, I've again waited until the last minute. I'd rather be writing than scheduling signings. But it must be done.