Monday, August 24, 2009

The Prequel

The other day I was thinking about how interesting it is to read correspondence between two people, especially when you are not one of the two.

With that in mind, I have cobbled together a prequel-of-sorts, a kind of 'real time' peek, via selected and sequential emails between Dan and me that cover the genesis of our picture book quest.

Beginning with my response after Dan first approached me:

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 1:22 PM, Sherryll wrote:

Hey Dan, The good news: I would LOVE to do a book with you. I've studied your mural at the daycare and it's fab, as is the very versatile work on your website. I have lots of story ideas (all different kinds), one of which is actually drafted out (very beginning of the process... as in I thought of something a couple of months ago and scribbled it on rough paper).

The bad news: I have no contacts in book publishing and have never written for children.

The good news: I feel like I have a sense of what preschoolers might be interested in reading (a protagonist they can relate to, and a story line with action, adventure and a dash of humour).

Thanks for reaching out.
~ Sherryll

On 9-Apr-09, at 9:44 AM, Dan wrote:

Hiya Sherryll, Great! I'm really glad to have met you! I've been looking for years for a writing partner and have met a few people but nothing has ever developed. At this time in my life my ideas and craft have developed to a point where I feel very confident about my ability to develop a really good product. Check out this painting I am working on:

Dan! Nice work, thanks for sharing. So, I’ve been thinking about ‘the big question,’ i.e. what are the publishing houses looking for? I'd like to bring something of value to the table before you and I go over story/illustration ideas. Any ideas for a starting point?

Sherryll, I'm a strong believer in a "do what you love and feel and it will transmit and others will love and feel it too" sort of philosophy when it comes to creating things. I would look at the biggest successes in the Canadian marketplace for starters and use their model as a rough guide, especially the favourites of your own kids. My kids will always read any Seuss, Franklin, Magic School Bus.

As a starting point I have kept note of the below ideas, some you've mentioned, so I think we're on the same page, (no pun intended!).

· Employ Absurdity/Humour PLUS an underlying moral message
· Funny situation - robot baby, monsters, monkeys, frogs, penguins
· Funny, complex, curious imagery - interesting to children.
· Funny words - as in Dr. Seuss


· Tolerance over Intolerance
· Patience over Impatience
· Sympathy over Disdain
· Kindness over Cruelty
· Love

Why practice these virtues (Main message of the story)? Because… practicing these virtues helps a person deal with life’s troubles = happier life hence self motivating!

Dan, I’m with you, to the point that the story gelling in my head covers many of the ideas you outlined. I've researched some organizations that may be of interest/help to our quest, check this out:

Organizations:,,, pwac,

Government grants (who knows!):

Books: Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market, The Canadian Writers Market (publishers of kids books in the mix).

[Next up: Sherryll sends Dan a story outline and Dan's response - pimples and all!].

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