I’m pecking away on a picture book manuscript— paring it down, and down, and down. Pretty soon it will have a negative word count, which is blank pages and the reader supplies the text. It may be the next BIG—no, little—no, teeny tiny microscopic thing. What do you think?
Wait, don’t answer that! Especially in a wordy way. Although initially resistant, I’m kinda’ getting into a minimalist frame of mind. Are. You. With. Me? Or do you love a big breath and a flow of words that tumble out of your brain and onto the page in cascading layers of text and subtext and metaphor and deep emotion buoyed by floods of Faulknerian fluidity?
P.S. To be clear, I have no problem with the paring down trend. That’s what poetry does—focus on the minute in order to accentuate the magnificent. It’s a spotlight of sorts. And poetry is a beautiful form.
P.P.S. And anyway, they call them “picture books” for a reason—the pictures are what young readers focus on, not the text. Ergo, cut down on the text and leave lots of room for the illustrator to do their thing.