Hot Potato: Let that Manuscript Cool Off

Darcy, sporting slightly askew Grammar Witch Glasses.

You type, “The End.” Then, you write a fast letter to an editor and send off a couple sample chapters. Oops! You forgot one thing. That manuscript needs to cool off before you send it out. It is the single, hardest thing for me to do. I do not want to wait and besides that, […]

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The REAL Goal of a Manuscript Critique

When you do a manuscript critique at a conference, you must be ready to push for an answer to a crucial question; and you must have a back-up plan. I’ve been backstage at conferences, in the break room where the editors are gathering and chatting. I’ve heard them come back from a critique session and […]

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Old Manuscripts? 2 Questions Before Deciding to Revise

I’m at a place where I’m looking for a new novel idea. (Yes, I’m still looking around for a new idea. I’m slow this time, but I think I’ve found an event that is fascinating. Reading background material now.) One strategy I’m using to find ideas is to re-read old novels from my file drawers. […]

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Donna St. Cyr: 2k9 Debut Novelist


Introduced first in 2007, authors debuting children’s books have formed a cooperative effort to market their novels. Last year, I featured many of the stories of how the 2k8 Novels Were Revised. This is part of the ongoing stories from the Class of 2k9 authors and how they went about revising their novels. From Creative […]

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Revision Attitude

Yesterday, I started brainstorming on revisions for a picture book. I got some editorial feedback in February when I saw the editor in NYC. But it’s been hard to approach this revision because when we talked, I disagreed with much of what the editor said. Cooling Off Period Helps Me See Editor’s Wisdom So, I […]

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Manuscript Length

How Firm are Book Publisher’s Guidelines on Book Length? I had a question come up last week: how hard and fast are the rules about the length of a picture book manuscript? Can you get by with 1900 words? 2000 words? 2500 words? The length requirements for every genre, from picture books to easy readers […]

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How to Mock-up a Picture Book

How to Mockup a Children's Picture Book by Darcy Pattison

When you’re happy with the revisions of your picture book manuscript, it’s time to make a mock-up, or what is usually called a dummy. Why Make a Dummy? Picture books combine text and words in a short 32 page book. The structure is so unusual, that you need a mock-up or a dummy to refine […]

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Picture Books: Those Confusing 32 Pages

I got this comment and thought it needed to be a separate post: Tamar Asks: 32 pages? Not clear Hi, Thank you for your posts. They have been very helpful. It isn’t clear to me from your posting of a 32 page book being standard, how many pages of text that translates into for the […]

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