This is my journey in creating concepts, writing, illustrating, finding a literary agent, and becoming a published children's book author and illustrator for the picture book genre.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

continuing onward and upward...or westward...

My husband and I spent the beginnings of our marriage moving. Once we were married and our first child had been born, we moved to the East Coast and settled into Cambridge, Mass.  My husband finished his masters and accepted a job in California. Oh joy, more moving. It was around this time of transition that this little ant began to pick up his journey. In my mind, he was an ant. He was a lost ant and needed to find his way home. Andy and I had something in common. We would share in a journey together. I purchased a journal to begin writing this story. I know that most of us use a computer, but I am more of a pencil and paper type gal. This journal was plain, dull, uninspiring, and lacked color. I wrote the first sentence. It felt like I had something there.  The verse became not one, but two. What started off as sentences began to transform into rhyme. His adventure began. Our adventure began.   My little ant had a journey with a place to go. His adventure had just begun. Here, he would learn proper introductions. He would be welcoming and friendly. My little ant had better manners than most adults.  What a courteous little guy.
My plain little journal
Back to my struggles in rhyme and meter. The words of my story did not only need to rhyme, but the meter needed to work. The counting....ugh. This would be an ongoing editing process for years to follow.
I thought back to my college composition classes. As much as I hated those classes and the hours of work involved, I loved them. There was a creativity hidden within me. I found myself able to relate to authors of whom I had not made a connection with previously. The writing style that offered the most impact was titled, "stream of consciousness".  Just write. I wrote. I read it aloud, edited, and wrote some more. I composed rhyming sections and wrote them down. So much writing. So much editing. More writing and more erasing. The black and grey streaks from erasing went left to right, up and down.  There were some sections where the paper had worn to transparency due to the amount of erasing that took place.  I filed this action under "creative process".  My story became bits of wonderful lines and several lines worthy of a train wreck.
My journal book remained in my diaper bag as I began the weary travel westward. As a mom, the diaper bag doubles as a purse.  This ordinary writing journal went where my family went. As we transitioned to a remote, small town in the mountains, this journal held a creative concept with a plan. This little ant's journey was my concept. The theme that needed to be incorporated was introductory etiquette and "using your nice words". That was the plan.  I would create a story that would hold the interest of my child. It would be an instrument in cultivating etiquette for the preschool genre.  Emily Post would be proud.

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