Bluebonnet Ball is coming along nicely. It’s almost done. I’m in the revision stage. It started at over 1200 words and now it is about 885.
When I was teaching and would read aloud to my students I would think about the book I had just read. It was short—only a few words per page. I would think to myself, I can do that. It can’t be that hard.
Well, I’m here to tell you a picture book can be harder to write than a long novel. In a novel you have lots of words to describe feelings, thoughts or actions. In a picture book you have only one or two words to say the same thing you could take paragraphs to say in a novel. Each word must be the perfect choice. Your thesaurus becomes your best friend.
You have to write with the illustrator in mind. Actions have to be evenly paced in order to give the artist enough material to stimulate his/her imagination. However, too much description of setting or actions can limit their choices.
Once you have your first draft done, then the revision process starts. It is so hard to hit that delete key when you have worked and struggled to say something just right and then realize you don’t need it. I usually have to save it to another place for a while before I can actually throw it out. Sometimes I don’t ever throw it out thinking I might use it somewhere else.
My Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie stories have many of the Texas icons that we teach in the early primary grades. I am writing my stories to go along with Texas history units for kindergarten, first or second grade. The Mockingbird (Texas state bird), pecan tree (Texas state tree), Longhorn cattle (Texas state large animal) armadillo (Texas state small animal), Monarch butterfly (Texas state insect), and Bluebonnet (Texas state flower) are the most common icons. Bluebonnet Ball has other common Texas wildflowers as well. I will be using other icons as I develop new adventures for Ruthie.
Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie is a spunky gal – determined, strong, and fearless. She has blonde curly hair and sparkling green eyes. She is a Texas cowgirl in cowboy boots and hat, jeans and a western style shirt. Varity is her desire in life. No job is too difficult, but she needs a little time to think before she solves the problem.
She lives on the Bar B Ranch in Texas with a community of friends, both domesticated and wild. In the stories so far readers will meet the following characters:
• Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie – a very talented fairy
• Tex – a stubborn Longhorn bull
• Bertha and “the girls” – Longhorn cows
• Mockingbird – Ruthie’s friend – always willing to help
• Armadillo – plods along, slow and steady
• Coyote – helps Ruthie because she worries about her pups
• Rattlesnake – dangerous – but reluctantly helps Ruthie
• Monarach butterfly – Ruthie’s date to the Bluebonnet Ball.
The next Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie adventure is rolling around in my mind. I have a title and a vague idea for a story. Hint – think Texas storms.