Lessons Learned from Creating a First Children’s Book – II

fairytale children's book Below the Floor by John E. Brito

Starting last week, I wrote down some things I have learned by creating my first fairytale children’s book called Below the Floor. If you missed the first part of the list, you can read it here.

6. The closer you get to the end, the harder it gets.

The further you are advancing in your book project the more little details you will find which have to be fixed. And the more tired you get. When you have been working on your personal project for months it might get challenging to motivate yourself to go on, as contradictory as it sounds. After all, it is the very thing you wanted to do, right?

My remedy is brute and simple: Stop whining. Get it done. I believe, that sometimes we need to kick ourselves into the butt to move on. And the best way to do so is by stopping to think too much and getting the job done, giving our best shot with the project at hand and resisting the lures of other stories (yes, there are already the characters from my next two stories whispering to me from the back of my head, but I just write down some quick notes and immediately go back to Below the Floor). And if that does not help, you can still trick yourself.

7. Plan enough time for the second and third draft of your manuscript. Or: Writing on paper vs writing online.

I have re-read and re-worked the fairytale story two times now and the second run took me about two weeks – instead of two days as I actually had planned. As I had learned from re-working my film scripts, reading a story on printed paper is a little bit more comfortable for the eyes. Thus, you can read through a printed book faster than on a screen – at least in my experience. What I have also noted is, that writing and correcting on screen vs writing or re-writing on paper feels different for some reason. When I leave a chapter alone for some weeks and then read through it again, the parts I have written in a paper notebook (or loose paper sheets) come out better than the ones written on the screen (either on a  computer or a tablet): The story is more fluid, the dialogues more lively when written with a pen. I’m sure, that this is just something of personal preferences, so your result might vary.

fairytale children's book Below the Floor by John E. Brito

Nonetheless, writing on paper – of course – takes more time, as you have to write the story twice: First on paper, and then typing it into the computer. I think, that I will keep writing at least some parts of my stories on paper. But what I will definitely do is allowing more time for this process.

8. Keep some kind of “finished tasks by date”-list – from the beginning

Why is that so important? Writing down the things you have done, after you have completed them? One word: Efficiency control. Well, that were two words.

By writing down what you have completed you immediately see on which days you have been wasting your time. And: Where your time went. Think of it as a creative weight watchers programme: Once you have to write down the things you have done, you start being more careful with your time. You will start thinking twice if it is really necessary to fire up youtube and watch Vin Diesel and Jason Wan on the red carpet for The Fast and the Furious 7 premiere.

9. Do it again.

As a returning reader you might know, that I am nearing the finishing line for Below the Floor. Even when there are still some tasks to get done, I can already say, that I will do it again. I can’t wait to hold the printed book in my hands and I can’t wait to bring to life the other stories and characters which, at this moment, are no more than little snippets in my sketchbooks. I believe, that if you have achieved finishing your first book (or film) it gets easier with the next ones. So you should give it another shot. I wish you the very best!

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6 responses to “Lessons Learned from Creating a First Children’s Book – II

  1. Some great points and tips you make there. Writing is a process that always seems to evolve with each project I find, there’s things we learn on the way that prove invaluable lessons, and serve us in good stead for the future. Being organized like you have is key, as is keeping going when things get tough or its difficult to get motivated. Great post and I’m sure your book will be ace after all the hard work you’ve put into it 🙂

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  2. Pingback: Lessons Learnt from Creating a First Children’s Book – III | I create worlds. John E. Brito's Blog·

  3. Pingback: Below the Floor – First Printing | I create worlds. John E. Brito's Blog·

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