children's books

Zombie in the Basement – fast draft page 26

This is the twenty-sixth page of my picture book in progress, “There’s a Zombie in the Basement” and comments from the various critique groups I belong to.  Posting this and the other pages here are a part of my creative/editing process on my story that I invite you to help me with.  Let me know what you think about the comments and add your own too.  If you would like some context for this page and the comments, feel free to view the complete fast draft story video first or view it via the project page.  You can also view my crits from the first page.

page 26Comments;

  • Two ‘in’ words so close together. Makes it read a bit harder. There was a HUGE thread over at the 12 x 12 FB group about ‘cause verses ‘cuz. I like this way better. 🙂

Overall Comments:

  • The zombie characters are quite dark, but they also carry their own humor as well.  I like how you turned it all around so that something that a child would fear has now become familiar.  There were only a few places that I stumbled on lines and I only had a couple of suggestions.
  • Current children’s book theory suggests that the main character must solve their own problem. Here I see the parents solving it for the child. Could you perhaps change that? Even if you have the parents start off and then the character continuing with the figuring out that it’s his active imagination.
  • Also I wonder if this is not a bit scary for the younger set. I did test it on my 7-year-old, and she thought it was funny, but she also told me that none of these creatures are real. That can be clarified through more beta reader testing.
  • Such a fun, scary story, with a great ending (though I think the wording of the ending needs a little work. I would work on the rhythm and meter, but you have the meat, and with some tweaking, you have a great story!  Also, the illustrations are fabulous!!  Way to go!  But I’m glad I read it without them first, so I could focus on the language.  The language really needs to stand alone and be excellent without the illustrations.  Anyway, great work, keep at it, you’re doing a great job!  Also, I’m not sure if it would fit in, but this might be a fun story to have a refrain for.  Something that is repeated every few pages…not sure, but try it out.
  • I know you’re using the back pages to do zombie and pony caricatures of folks at conventions and signings, but maybe you can leave a blank frame for kids to draw what they are scared of in it.
  • Such a fun story!  Definitely for an older picture book audience, with all of the scary images, but so fabulous.
  • Rhyming is hard to make flow, sometimes it’s spot on.
  • Count out the words to make better rhymes.
  • Great rhythm, but words too big?
  • I love your artwork. It’s got a graphic novel quality to it.
  • Hmmm. Is Milo’s folks solving his problem?  Great story, Stan. I really enjoyed reading it. It will make the kid lets giggle.

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Zombie in the Basement – fast draft page 26

  1. I read your final draft/book as it will appear. You made huge leaps and bounds, it grew into an amazing story. The meter and rhyme is so good, I read 5 or 6 pages before it dawned on me it rhymed. You have an amazing critique group. They were dead on (pardon the pun) with there input. I would give anything to be in a critique group again. The only critique group I’m in now is a rhyming one from the, RhyPiBoMo. We all took the class after the month was up. There great but you can only get input on your month, every 6 months. Ugh… I want monthly feedback, waiting 6 months to post anything is killing me. I wish Elizabeth would come back. Sorry I didnt mean to make this about me but seeing such great insite, guidance and support just kills me. Sorry

    I thrilled for you and so glad I was there the first time you shared it, seeing how far it has come. Fills me with hope that someday I will become a published writer and illustrator.
    Your brilliant and I’m sure this is just the first of many great stories to come. You inspire me! Thanks

    • Pam,

      Thanks again for your enthusiasm for my work. I don’t know if Elizabeth reached out to you, but she mentioned this to us:

      “Anyway I just wanted to share with you what I have learned about the SCBWI message board, we created a “critique group classifieds” for the Carolinas region so members can connect and create/join critique groups. While working on that I discovered how much information is on that message board – incredible. It has been described as an SCBWI conference online and available 24/7. Check out the Market/Agent board, it is pretty cool and I also understand that editors and art directors check it out frequently.”

      I don’t know if they have anything set up for us here in CO, but it may be worth looking into to see if you can’t find another group.

  2. Oops that second paragraph is supposed to read, I’m thrilled for you. Please fix it. I don’t care if you post this or not it was more for you than the general public anyway.

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