When I was a performing storyteller, we often talked about needing to "kill your baby". It means that those beautiful words that you love because you birthed them, sometimes need to be cut from a story or a scene needs to be thrown out even if you have worked on it for a long time. Usually, it is because that scene or those sentences don't support the most important thing in your story. Or they don't communicate effectively the essesence of your story.
This week I'm getting ready to go to a couple of conferences where I have paid extra for access to editors and art directors.
At one of the conferences, I'm submitting The Monster Under My Bed as a dummy book for feedback.
A dummy book is a mock up of what your finished picture book will look like, except you don't finish all of the artwork in the book. Instead you sketch out your composition ideas, add your text and complete 3 interior pages in the style of art you envision for the book. Then you either put it into a digital pdf to send to editors, or in my case, print off the booklet and take it to the conference for feedback.
I got some unexpected feedback on this book last year at the Whispering Pines Writing Retreat. Which means I needed to change some things.
Wednesday I changed the perspective of who told the story and the hero of the story. My ten year old, who has heard me tell this story her whole life, looked at it when she got home from school and started to cry.
"It isn't the same. I like the original story best," she said.
"I know honey, but the editors were confused with the characters in the story and I think this new version might be a better fit to get it published," I replied.
With a sob in her voice, she said, "Mom, could you just make me a copy of the book with the original story. Just for me?"
She has just as hard of a time killing the baby as I do. And yes, I will make 2 versions. One for her and one to be published.