Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hey, I learned something!

It's been so crazy around here since I went to the society of children's book writers and illustrators conference I haven't even had a chance to look at my notes. I did manage to pull them from my bag and set them on top of my computer, but that's as far as I've gotten. I'd better hurry up and type them up before my random pieces of paper become engulfed by all my other random pieces of paper and I can't find them anymore. (Yes, I'm a total dork. I forgot to bring a notepad to the conference and had to write on the back of my computer printouts I had in my backpack. Brilliant planning, eh? Um yeah, really, I was planning! Reduce, reuse, recycle!)

There is one thing that keeps running through my mind that I did retain from the conference. Mo Willems said that if there is only a few words on a page, the reader reads slower. If there is a whole bunch of words on a page, they read faster. And yes, it's true! I do it with all of his books. There's always that one page with lots of words and I read fast and it evokes the feeling that really brings the characters problem to light. Yes, Sam is really having a bad time and I can feel it! Check out Leonardo the Terrible Monster and you'll know it too. It's funny how something like this is so obvious, but I still don't get it until someone tells it to me. I wonder what other nuggets of knowledge I have buried in my pile.

Now I know this doesn't help you writers of long books. Sorry, maybe I'll find something for you when I look through my notes. But as a picture book writer it's definitely something to think about.

1 comment:

Linda D. (sbk) said...

I remember him saying that and though it was so interesting. It had never occurred to me before, but he's so totally right! Brilliant!

The most interesting thing is, I think it's the opposite for novels. A page with a lot of blank spaces (dialogue, short paragraphs) reads much faster than a page with huge long paragraphs.