Natascha Biebow shares tips on how
to revise your picture books on a macro level.

Last month's blog was all about revision on the micro-level, but you also need
to check that your manuscript is working on a macro-level.
Once these are BOTH working, you'll know you are ready to submit.

1.  Can you sum up your story’s hook in no more than two sentences? If your theme and problem is not clear and different from the competition, you may need to re-examine your premise.


2.  Read your opening – can you quickly identify the main character and problem and does it hook in readers? Is the main character (or main subject) the first person (or thing) referred to? 

3.  What motivates your main character – can you clearly cite and identify this?

4.  Is the main character child-like and the narrative voice child-centred?

5.  Circle the parts of your story where the tension builds. The parts you want to be a little powerful.

6.  Check if there’s enough at stake. Can you up the ante at all? Make things worse for your main character?

7.  Find the 10% and the 75% marks of your word count. Draw a line at each mark. You should spend no more than 10% of the time setting up the conflict and the turning point should come a 75% of the way through. See where you might need to revise to adjust.

8.  Make a dummy book to check pacing, page turns, format (e.g. is this really a picture book?), variety of imagery

9.  Check your title does what it says on the tin.

10.  Does your ending comes full-circle to the opening?

Sense-checking all TEN of these elements will help you to determine what you might need to focus on to tighten up your story even more. Don't be afraid to be bold. Go back to the drawing board if necessary. Listen to your gut feeling!

Chances are if it's niggling, then you should address it or it will be the thing that causes that manuscript to come right back to you. Keep going!

Read about micro-editing in last month's blog post
I have blogged about all these checklist topics (in yellow). Find more tips

Natascha Biebow is an experienced editor, mentor, author and coach, who loves working with authors and illustrators at all levels to help them to shape their storieswww.blueelephantstoryshaping.com
She has been awarded an MBE for her services to children's book writers and illustrators as Regional Advisor of SCBWI British Isles.

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