Concept to Creation: Boathouse Mouse Comes to Life!

Writing books and stories is fun. Fun to me anyway. In high school, when the teacher would hand out a blank paper and say to write something, I had a blast. I know plenty of people who think that kind of assignment is one step shy of being boiled in oil.

To be fair, there are certain parts of the process that are … less fun. Less, as in, sometimes I pull my hair out trying to remember that perfect rewrite of an unsatisfactory passage that came to me in the shower. But in all, it is a wonderful process.

Writing a children's book has been doubly fun. Because now I have the second pleasure of watching as the artist breathes visual life into my characters. For The Adventures of Boathouse Mouse, I had a vision in my head which I could barely sketch. And Shawna, the artist, has taken my pathetic attempt at illustration and created something amazing.

Lest you think I am being self deprecating, or exercising false modesty, I have included my concept drawing for the cover and overlaid a sample of Shawna's final drawing which is currently in process. The cover concept has morphed a bit, but her picture has taken on a life of its own.

I love it! I love all of the illustrations so far! I don't often feel like a kid, but this has taken me there. Stay tuned for more on the subject, and be sure to stop by Shawna's website to see all of her cool stuff.

Aren't you glad Shawna is doing the art work?

Why I Write, Installment #3

Why anyone does anything is generally a complicated jumble of reasons. When people claim to do something from a singular motivation, they are either purely good, completely evil, or confused. I vote they're mostly confused.

The reason I write is … Okay, let's try that again.

One of the myriad reasons I write is because it delights my heart when people enjoy reading the story. That delight is compounded in magnitude when the person is a child. I guess I've always had a soft spot for children.

The photo that accompanies this post shows that in action. This is the daughter of Shawna, the artist doing the illustrations for the Adventures of Boathouse Mouse books. Shawna messaged: “(My daughter) loves the changes in the book, by the way! She highly approves book 1 so far. I did get lectured as I'm not done with all the sketches yet.”

Shawna's children got an uncustomary reading of an early draft of the book, and the kids loved it. I have since sent a final (or nearly so) edit and evidently it is approved by my focus group.

Why do I write? How can I not write with that kind of audience?