You know when you stare and stare at the monitor and your fingers just sit there on the keyboard doing nothing? Because the picture book in front of you may be technically fine, even good, but it’s not there yet and all the staring doesn’t seem to be giving you a clue about what would get it there? You haven’t found the magic?
The magic? That indefinable ZING! that is in the best stories and that–I really believe–is rooted in a word, a phrase, a detail, a structural twist, but when you read it, what you get is that feeling of Oh, Yeah! Or Ahhh.
Some examples? Sure.
- Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska’s The Quiet Book: The absolutely perfect, layered, resonating choices of types of quiet that she made.
- Jim Averbeck and Tricia Tusa’s In a Blue Room: The stubborness of the little girl, the patience of the mother, and the ever-increasing stillness of the room and the story.
- Alan Arkin and Richard Egielski’s One Present from Flekman’s The ever-growing gap between the opposing goals of the grandfather and the granddaughter.
- Sarah Stewart and David Small’s The Library: The utter contentment, even in the moment of highest conflict.
I’m pretty sure that each of these authors had their moments: first the staring, then…ZING! That Could-This-Be-It wonder that they pursued and found out Yes! Or maybe a few times, No! But then, finally, Yes!
Why am I writing about this today?
Because I may have just…