In the case of THE REMEMBER BALLOONS, I feel much of the original structure remains. This isn't a common phenomenon in my picture book writing. There's one picture book of mine that my agent and I revised so wholly different from the first version, you wouldn't recognize it.
I suppose this is something that made THE REMEMBER BALLOONS special—that I had written the fundamentals at one sitting. But how the in-between stuff has changed! And how I love these changes!
If THE REMEMBER BALLOONS was already published, I feel like I could have a lot more fun with this blog post, telling you just how specifics had changed. So, I'll have to be vague…
First, there is my boy's voice, much more developed from version number one. Then there's all that extraneous matter lost (for the better). But I think I'm going to focus on what I will call the Silver Balloon Phenomenon. It's when you are stubborn about leaving something in your manuscript alone, but in the end, changing it is best.
When I first chatted with my agent, Mike, over the phone about possible changes to THE REMEMBER BALLOONS, I said, "I don't want to change the silver balloon. We can't touch the silver balloon. I LOVE the silver balloon." He didn't touch the silver balloon.
But in the first notes I received from my acquiring editor, he basically said, "we need to talk about that silver balloon."
No! I loved the silver balloon. It was perfect as it was, and nobody was ever going to change it EVER. But when my wise editor suggested a new angle for the silver balloon, I paused. Then I thought about it. Then I realized…HE WAS RIGHT. I had a beautiful idea grow from this angle, and I love it. (NOW nobody can touch my silver balloon.)
The Silver Balloon Phenomenon is also known as Editors Are Smart People. It's painful to make changes sometimes, but necessary! The revision process is beautiful, and although that first draft is precious…it is always only a first draft. This is something I need to remind myself every time I write something new!
THE REMEMBER BALLOONS
Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
August 28, 2018