Have you ever had a manuscript that seemed to morph from one form to another? That’s been the case with “What’s Up Chuck?”
As I did the research for a book about why animals vomit, it became obvious that there was a lot of information. In fact, there was probably too much for a picture book. I was three chapters in when Get the Scoop on Animal Puke by Dawn Cusick was released from Imaginel Publishing. Eighty print pages her book touched on a lot of the same animals but didn’t go into the science like I had planned for my book. Still, I felt that the two books might too easily compete.
I took my manuscript to the Missouri SCBWI retreat and showed it to my critique group. “Rewrite it as a picture book!” they said.
So then I created the picture book version. Just as I was finishing that up, I needed a manuscript for the next Missouri SCBWI retreat. Naturally, I sent the editor “What’s Up Chuck?” I hoped to get a few hints that would make it sing. ::cue the music of doom:: To put it simply, the editor likes my voice but thinks this book is way too short to work.
Now I vaccilate. I’ll be talking to the editor in two days. Based on her comments, I think she considers this a much better chapter book idea than picture book manuscript. I still love the idea of this book and I have to admit that I really like the idea of writing it up as a chapter book. There is so much information and the science is really interesting. Yes, it’s gross but it is also interesting.
But my last critique group was certain it would work as a picture book. Certain.
I’ll be talking to the editor and I’m running three chapters through the peer critique group. I know that whether this book ultimately takes shape as a picture book or chapter book, the decision is mine to make. I just need to make up my mind.
Think . . . think . . . think . . .