Monday, February 7, 2011

Too Quiet

No the title of this post does not refer to the fact that I've not been blogging much lately! It's in response to a question posted on my local SCBWI listserv about what 'too quiet' means in a rejection letter for a picture book. Since I'm often asked this question, I thought I'd share my response here. 

To understand what `too quiet' means, consider your story in terms of narrative structure and character arc. Does your story introduce a protagonist with a problem right at the beginning? Does the protagonist's problem and ensuing tension increase until the climax? Does the protagonist solve their own problem? Does the climax come right before the end, at which point there is resolution for all?

If you answer no to any of these questions, that's very likely the reason for the `too quiet' comment. I have often made that comment myself on manuscripts, which might strong in other ways and beautifully written, but in which nothing much actually happens, there is no tension, nothing driving the protagonist's growth forward. Often such manuscripts are journeys through an environment, explorations of a moment, vignettes.

Now, on the subject of my own sluggishness in blogging, I'd like to say that, after a little much-needed respite, I'm back and ready to take your editing questions, edit your paragraphs and sentences, and discuss all things kids' bookish and writerly and grammar related. 

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