Saturday, July 27, 2019

COMMENTARY: MORE Insights from a PB Chat Mentor by Lynne Marie and SPECIAL SUBSCRIBER OFFERS for Applicants

My life got a little crazy (just being back from Europe and having so much to catch up on, and how life so often does!) so I had a little breather and now I'm looking back at the applications. I do think that some distance from the manuscripts and now focusing on my short list has served me well. I imagine that editors do much the same thing and that you will need to survive several rounds of reads to get an offer.

What I was basically looking for in this round, was:

1.  Does the story still stand out to me?
2.  Was the story as rewarding to read on the second round?
3.  Again, is this a story I want to work with?
4.  Again, is this a story that I feel I can offer assistance on?

I am also going through and reading the bios and questions with a little more focus, since I will be working with these writers.  And again, I want to be sure I can help facilitate their goals in some way.

Here are some issues that stuck out to me on the second read.

Primarily, that the story was not as satisfying the second time around, AND
that it just wasn't a story that I wanted to read again and again as I worked on it.

So do keep that in mind while writing your manuscripts. Re-readability is key. Most buyers/readers want a book they can read again and again. Most of my favorites have that quality, as I am sure do  yours. Here are some factors that contribute to re-readability:

Kid appeal.
Fascinating setting.
Endearing character.
Engaging plot.
Active attempts to solve problem.
Physical/emotional journey.
Satisfying resolution.

Now keep in mind that I was not even looking for polished manuscripts. The above list is actually kind of general and broad. But I am looking for the potential for these things in the the manuscripts.

As I read through the short list of manuscripts, I found that many weren't as intriguing to me on the second read. This is one of the reason for instilling different layers in books. It's great when you read a book again and discover it had another layer to it. Something else to think about!

I know I've mentioned layers again and I do that a lot. Picture books should work on several levels.  But don't get overwhelmed. Think of them like rows of yarn threads in a knit cap or in a crocheted blanket. You get a rhythm, you pull the right colored threads and weave them together to form a piece with no holes where there shouldn't be.

Here are some things I know will be working on with whomever I chose. These are more specific and more detailed than the items mentioned above, and all lend to creating those bigger concepts.

Character flaw (+ how relates to problem)
Potential for Illustration
Page Turns
Active attempts to solve
Kid appeal

If anyone is reading this to use as a revision checklist for their manuscript, I would recommending picking one item and checking for that with each read. Then pick the next item and focus on that, making sure each layer is intact and as best as can be.

So after sifting through the manuscripts again all day, I am happy to say -- I have selected two Mentees and one Runner-up!

I am so excited and can't for the announcement on 7/31.

If you applied to me, but I did not choose you, please know that I am so very sorry that I could not choose more. It was tough to limit to three.

Please consider signing up for my blog -- I will try to share as much as I can here from time to time to try and assist as many as I can on their journey.

I wanted to post again that I am happy to offer a FREE PITCH CRITIQUE to anyone who follows this blog and who does not get selected for a Mentorship on 7/30. Believe it or not, once you have perfected your pitch, it is often enlightening and helps you write and make sense of your story.

Please note that this is a first-come, first served offer, and that there is no promised time-frame for return as I often get very busy with critiques. But I will do each one, and I will return them in the order received. They must be sent to THEPICTUREBOOKMECHANIC@GMAIL.COM. And you must comment here, that you have sent an e-mail with a pb title pitch and any other comment you wish to make. I will post here when the offer has expired. Until then, feel free to submit (1) pitch for critique.

ADDITIONAL OFFER: If you would like to try out one of my picture book critiques, for the month of August ONLY, I am offering a $5.00 DISCOUNT per manuscript critique discount to #PB Chat Members for their first critique. Current clients may also take advantage of this offer, as long as you are a #PB Chat participant/applicant.


(when you return from your trip!) 


  1. Hi Lynne, thank you so much for being part of the #PBChat mentorship program. And many thanks for the generous pitch critique offer, I am emailing you mine (SYBIL THE SUPERHERO GOAT) this morning.

    1. I hope my comments were helpful, Nora. If so, please do feel free to share on Twitter.

  2. You are very welcome! I look forward to reading it!

  3. Fantastic reminders of all the layering, Lynne!

    1. Thank you, Yangmama -- I hope it's helpful! Thanks for stopping by My Word Playground!

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