Thursday, February 10, 2011

Books are Long!

So, on my first pass getting the story for my children't book down in print, I estimated that the book would end up being about 20 pages long.  Curious, I went to some of Vivian's best books and discovered that the ones she enjoys the most, and the ones I like and am most drawn to, are about 25-35 pages long.  So now I am working on lengthening my book without it becoming too wordy.  This is good.  It means I can go overboard with the illustration a bit if I want.  I'm trying to tell the story in pictures as much as I can and use text to fill in the blanks.

Now, I'm not trying to compare my planned book to any of the classics we have on Vivian's bookshelf, but if I notice that the kind of book I am working on is generally longer than what I had planned, I think it is a good idea to find a way to add more illustration to the book to increase its length and tell a better story. 

I also may be limiting myself too much.  Just because I am basing my book on Roscoe, a real-life bulldog, doesn't mean I'm writing his biography.  If something helps to convey the story that didn't necessarily happen to him and me, isn't it legitimate.  I'm not doing journalism here.  I'm telling a story based on the life of my dog.  I'll have to keep a critical eye on the story (thank goodness I have a critic or two living with me) and make sure everything rings true. 

I started thumbnails for the book today, and I've got what I think are some good ideas.  Conveying emotion through a bulldog's face is going to be more difficult than one might think without the character becoming too cartoony.  I'm trying different ways to communicate anxiety, contentment, happiness, playfullness, confusion, and fear without turning Roscoe into the bulldog from old "Tom & Jerry" cartoons.  Thankfully, I've figured out how to reliably draw a cute bulldog puppy.  Is cute enough for a good story?  Probably not.

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