January 12 x 12 Check-In

The first month of the 12 x 12 2012 picture book draft writing challenge has been a good one. We’re developing a great community, especially through the Facebook Group. It’s been fun to see people post their accomplishments and have others leap in to cheer them on. Resources, blogposts and encouragement are regularly shared. Julie Hedlund, the driving force behind 12 x 12 was interviewed on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast. So much exciting stuff going on!

Oh. You’re wondering what I did? Okay. I could tell you that. Click on that nifty “read more” thing, and, well, read more.

The object of the challenge is to write one picture book draft per month. It doesn’t need to be a fully polished draft by the end of the month, but it does need to be a complete draft with beginning, middle and end.

I was quite pleased with my first draft for January. Of course it needs work, very few people can write well enough in the first draft to be publishable at that point. However, I wrote a 478 word picture book manuscript. (If Emma read that, she’d be stunned. My usual drafts start out over 1000 words.) This is another in a planned series, and follows nicely from the book I’m polishing at the moment (but it’s completely different).

I experimented with writing in first person, present tense, and this particular story idea worked well that way. And I wrote my first-ever circular ending.

Next month will be a totally different experience, with a younger target audience (younger than I’ve ever written for). Tune in on February 28 for my next Check In (usually these posts will be the last day of the month, unless that would overlap one of my regular features).


24 thoughts on “January 12 x 12 Check-In”

    1. Thanks, Erik! At the moment, I can’t think of how to give a hint without giving away too much of the story. Hmmm… Maybe sometime I’ll try out a pitch in Susanna Hill’s “Would You Read It?” series, and then you can find out more. How about that idea?

    1. Thanks, Susanna. The brevity really startled me, to tell you the truth! (Now to go back and see if I truly do have a complete story arc, etc.) As I said to Erik, I’m not at the hint-worthy stage just yet. Perhaps after I’ve worked on it a bit, I’ll do a pitch for “Would You Read It Wednesday”.

  1. Congrats on the draft. I love picture books, because it’s a good medium to experiment with tense, POV, etc. You can see how the story changes in minutes. When a memoir-writing friend shared some feedback on her manuscript, I said go for it in a chapter or two. See if it helps, because it helps with PB so much to experiment. Good luck with all your drafts.

    1. Thanks, Stacy. Yes, it’s so nice to be able to experiment and see results — much easier in a picture book to stay in the tense one is experimenting with, as well. When I tried a “present tense” experiment in my MG first draft, I tended to forget that’s how I was trying to write it, with the result that in the second draft I’m dealing with a fair bit of muddled tenses.

  2. Congratulatins Beth. I have one story that is circular, and I kind of like it. Didn’t completely finish a draft, but made some head way. Still have until midnight. Understand your reluctance to share, as I’m the same way. But you know how “inguqiring minds want to know.” 🙂

    1. Thanks, Pat. Making progress is the main thing in this challenge, and it sounds as if you’ve done that.

      “Inquiring minds” can learn more on April 4th, when I’m scheduled to pitch my story on Susanna’s “Would You Read It Wednesday” — stay tuned!

  3. Good for you Beth!
    I have yet to check in with the facebook group, but really appreciate all the support from the PiBoIdMo group, so I should! Right now with work and school I barely have time to write, and I can just look at all the great resources that others have shared! Hope February goes well for you too!

    finished my PB manuscript. It heavily features a never-ending noodle 🙂

    1. Thank you, Kathy Ellen! The 12 x 12 Facebook group is awesome. I highly recommend joining it. (Although I’ve had to stop reading the PiBoIdMo group in order to deal with that “time” question you mention.)

      Glad you finished yours as well! A never-ending noodle sounds intriguing!

  4. Hi, Beth, Thanks for visiting. Love what you’re doing here. I have not seen the The Americanization of Emily but it’s going on my Netflix.

    Nice to meet you.


    1. Good for you, Rena, for getting your picture book done! And thank you so much for the Liebster award! I’ll be right over!

  5. Knew you would get it done. Have managed to finish a real messy first draft….. needs a lot of work. But at least its done. Looking forward to next February’s.

    1. I think first drafts are SUPPOSED to be messy. And you had a rather messy end to your month, as well. Good for you for getting your draft done in the midst of all else.

    1. Thanks, Little M! I did my best — now roll on February! (I’m feeling kind of Sprocketty this morning! A new month filled with possibilities will do that to a person.)

  6. Wow! I’m amazed that you wrote a first draft that is less than 500 words. I’m wordy myself, so it’s a goal of mine to tighten up too. Congrats on getting your draft done.

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