The focus group has spoken

And they don’t like revisions. They like me to keep the stories exactly the same. When I change things — and I do tend to change things — they always notice. And then they get annoyed.

Mean Mommy. Changing the words around.

One of the first children’s stories I wrote a while back was about a boy who dreamed he’d stolen the last cookie away from Mommy, and felt bad about it. This came from my son, who dreamed he’d stolen the last cookie away from Mommy, and felt bad about it. He woke up and apologized. (I know. Aww.)

But the story itself — well, there wasn’t much to it. I hadn’t really started researching picture books yet, and didn’t know about average story lengths (500-800 words, more or less, if you’re wondering) or that it was better to have the children in a story solve the problem themselves. So once I started writing other stories, I back-burnered the cookie story.

Finally I thought up a way to rewrite the idea into a proper picture book. I started on that last week. I hope to have a draft banged out soon.

My daughter and I were sharing the oversized chair over the weekend, reading books together, and since my laptop was handy I pulled it out and read her my troll story. She liked it. Then she requested the cookie story.

“No, I’m rewriting that one,” I explained. I’d prefer to finish the rewrite and read the kids that version.

“Mommy!” She was most displeased. She tried to talk me into changing my decision. I counteroffered with a different story. She ended negotiations by dismissing my work altogether, and insisting on one of the library books instead.

Truly the focus group is fickle.


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