Dear Math is Everywhere Readers and Kidlit Zombie Week Friends,
Welcome to Kidlit Zombie Week!
For those of you who are new here, thank you for joining us for this fun!
Kidlit Zombie Week is a week full of fantastic puns and great insight as we help each other bring our dead stories back to life–just like zombies! They may look a little mangled at first, but with some TLC–and LOTS of brains!–your zombies could become the life of the party.
So, how do stories get buried?
Like everything in the publishing business, it can happen many ways:
It could be that you worked the story to death, but it never got to the point you needed.
It could be that you couldn’t find that original hook to make it really stand out in this crowded market.
It could be that other stories caught your eye.
Or it could be some other reason.
And I’d love to know your reason. Please share in the comments and on this Twitter post what made your story rest in peace. But first, finish reading this post. 😉
No matter the reason, it is actually really important to let sleeping stories lie, even if they won’t be sent to the grave.
And honestly, sometimes this is why stories become Zombie stories: they just need some time to rest before they can be revived and reach their full potential.
One of the most important strategies a writer can use is time.
So take time away from your stories.
After you write a first draft, set that story aside.
After you get a critique, read through the critique, then set the story aside.
After you make big edits, set the story aside.
When you feel ready to query, yup, you guessed it, set the story aside.
Because when we get too close to something, we miss things, we get too attached (which, uhhh, you should be, it’s your baby!), but that makes it difficult to edit.
When you literally and figuratively distance yourself from the story, you’re able to come at it with a clear, more objective head. You can use your brains, which, in the time you are waiting and letting your story sleep, you’ve hopefully filled with reading recently published books, taking writing classes, reading and analyzing other people’s stories, etc. so that when you come back to reanimate the story, you’ve got the best brains ready to serve up to your starving zombie story!
How long should you take away?
As always, it depends.
For some, a few days.
For others, a week or two.
And for still others, a month or more.
The time depends on you and your style.
But either way, it should be long enough for you to come back with fresh eyes, like you don’t remember the story.
So, if you’re like Dory, a few days may be enough, but if you’re more like Flipper—apparently dolphins have the longest social memory–then maybe taking weeks away would be better.
If you need help with finding resources for taking courses or reading great books, check out my resources page on my website to find out more about things like ReFoReMo, Storystorm, Children’s Book Academy, Storyteller Academy, blogs like Mindy’s, and more!
I hope you all let your sleeping stories lie at some point, and then come back to them with all the advice and hope you’ll gain from Kidlit Zombie Week, and bring those lovely manuscripts fresh life!
Please join in the discussion today (6/14/2021) on Twitter by sharing why your story has become a Zombie story and interact with others.
If you miss commenting today, this post and the Twitter post will be up for a long time; feel free to pop in anytime and interact and learn and grow from your fellow creatives!
Don’t forget to follow 6 Ladies and a MANuscript who are your hosts for Kidlit Zombie Week: @6and_MANuscript which is made up of @writerjolene @KaitlynLeann17 (that’s ME!) @MikeIrvineBooks @SarahJWMeade @sarahheatcreate @kristinwauson.
If you haven’t thought of a story to focus on for this revival week yet, dig through those old files and find a story or two you might want to resuscitate as we help each other revive those zombie stories! Oh, yeah, and check out all the prizes you can win by going to the Kidlit Zombie Week website.
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez
PS. For those of you new to Kidlit Zombie Week, it is week full of posts like this, discussions on Twitter, and lots of PRIZES. It is generally focused on picture books for prizes because our critique group who is hosting this free event are all picture book writers; however, these tips, posts, tricks, and fun ideas are for all writers (so is the pledge contest, so check out the website!)
If you have questions about Kidlit Zombie Week, check out our FAQs page, and if you can’t find your answer there, feel free to DM us on Twitter or use the contact page on our website. Can’t wait to have a great Kidlit Zombie Week! If you haven’t signed up for the amazing LIVE and FREE pitch practice event with pitch teacher Kate Allen Fox, shuffle on over to the Forms page.