A light went on (so to speak).
A connection I hadn’t thought of before fused in an unexpected way.
In April I was at the Western Washington SCBWI Conference. I attended Justin Chanda’s session on editing picture books. Justin Chanda is the vice president and publisher of a bunch of imprints at Simon and Schuster, and he edited, among many other books, Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett’s book, Battle Bunny, a book I happen to adore.
Justin Chanda was fantastic! Not only did he hand out actual manuscripts for three great picture books (I love, love, love models to work from), but he explained how he felt editing was a lot like directing a play.
This is when I had my connection.
During the month of April I was working on “Main Course,” my short comedy I wrote for the Orcas Island Ten Minute Playfest. I attended rehearsals as a very talented director worked with actors to create life from my script.
The results were much more awesome than I even imagined. I never grow tired of the magic which transforms words on a script to a live performance.
(Photos by Michael Armenia)
When Mr. Chanda made the director/editor connection, I could totally see this. The editor, like the director, coaxes and encourages the story along. As I considered the writing versus the finished picture book, I thought, perhaps, the artist is like the actors; the ones who make the story come to life.
Suddenly I could see what I do as a playwright in relation to what I could do as a picture book writer.
Playwright, director, actors: Performance
Writer, editor, artist: Book or story.
I love it when this happens!
2 thoughts on “Picture Books and Plays”
Hi Michele. I am reading your old blogposts bc I am looking forward to your talk at Seattle SCBWI. I agree editing is a lot like directing a play — yes! And I think Illustrating takes this further, tho maybe into the film directing realm. Illustrators have to scout locations, audition players, tune up lighting, create sets, choose points of view, framing and on and on. It’s all about storytelling, what serves the story, and it seems the director is the one who has the ‘big picture’ on the process.
Thank you for your response!. The point of view aspect of illustrating is particularly interesting to me. I understand pov from a writer’s perspective, but to consider all the potential angles and viewpoints an illustrator has to consider is mind boggling.