Having been a member of the NSW Writers' Centre for a couple of years now, this year I joined one of the two self-help groups for writers of Picture Books for Children: 'Picture this!' and 'Picture that!'. As I have to go by public transport, and the centre is out at Rozelle, it is only feasible that I go to the monthly Saturday arvo session. Turns out I am now the moderator of this group. This weekend we had a f2f critique session out at the centre involving 5 of our members, and another 5 members are involved in an email critiques session.
It is a really hard ask, to read a manuscript for a PB for 5 minutes and then talk about its good and not-so-good points. Hard, but sooo valuable for the writer. I have one story that I have been working on since February, and another story that I cobbled together just this week. 'Cobbled' in the sense that I had it on the last and spent hours trimming the leather and tapping in fine brass tacks!
By the time we meet again on the 2nd Saturday in July, I want to have a 3rd story on the last. I gather the consensus today was that my 'story' was not a PB but rather a chapter story, albeit with a line-drawing every-so-often.
It was a fiction story about marbles, in rhyming couplets. Yes, I have to tighten up the scansion. Yes, the word 'watching' does not rhyme with 'hatching'. But it has strong characters, is firmly set in a landscape, and has a narrative. Of concern to my readers was the amount of marbles 'lingo' I used. That the story was from an adult rather than a child's point-of-view. And, that the heroine's team did not win in the end, so how could they be happy.
I have lots of notes, to consult, make a decision, and then attempt a rewrite.