NAPIBOWRIWEE 2015 – DAY ONE: Get Ready, Get Set, GO!

napibowriweelogo3-300x284-200x200Welcome to DAY ONE of our seventh annual National Picture Book Writing Week (AKA “NAPIBOWRIWEE”) 2015!

I’ll be posting daily blogs every day at 6 AM PST (9 AM EST) here: For those of you who are newbies, you can find out more about this annual event at our FAQs link here: NAPIBOWRIWEE 2015 FAQs

For those of you who are NAPIBOWRIWEE veterans, welcome back! 🙂 A quick reminder – to participate in this year’s event, please sign up for my blog (how-to-register info in the FAQs link listed above). Please post your comments in each daily blog about your progress and any questions or thoughts you might have! I encourage a community atmosphere where I encourage everyone to engage in a dialogue with each other (and me) about your work! I too will be posting comments each day about my own progress. Please follow me on Twitter @paulayoo (PLEASE NOTE: I work full-time during the weekdays as a writer/producer on the show DEFIANCE on SyFy, so please be patient if you contact me via email or via comments for my replies.)

There will be a contest drawing on May 8, 2015 in which I will pick names at random out of a hat for some fun prizes – souvenirs from our NAPIBOWRIWEE STORE, signed copies of my latest books, and other goodies!

In years past, I have featured Q&As with published kid lit authors and illustrators. Every year has had a theme, from Writing Craft Advice to Multiculturalism in Children’s Literature. This year’s theme is EDITORIAL NUTS & BOLTS. Each blog this week will feature pragmatic advice from our special guest blogger-in-residence, editor and author AMY CHERRIX! You can visit her website here:

In the meantime, for Day One, I wanted to introduce everyone to the Awesome Amy. Not only is she going to give us daily editorial nuts & bolts advice for this entire week, but she has also generously offered to do a  FREE critique of one lucky winner’s manuscript from our contest! Yay!

Meet Amy Cherrix of
Meet Amy Cherrix of
Visit Amy Cherrix's website:
Visit Amy Cherrix’s website:

AMY CHERRIX is a children’s book editor. Before launching Slush Pile Press, she acquired and edited books at Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers. If you’d like to see some of the books her team at HMHBYR published during her tenure, head on over to her portfolio link:

She has also written and edited reviews for The Horn Book Guide and taught graduate courses in children’s literature at Simmons College, where she earned a Master’s in Children’s Lit and also mentors MFA candidates. She is a diehard supporter of indies, with years of experience as a children’s bookseller at the fiercely independent Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Prior to her career in publishing, Amy worked in film and television production and marketing.

When Amy is not reading, trolling the Internet for late-breaking children’s publishing headlines and tips, or mining the blog-o-sphere for brain-boggling science facts, she writes books of her own, including…

cherrixgeorge (Houghton Mifflin, 2015)


COMING IN SPRING 2017: LANDFALL: THE HURRICANE SCIENTISTS, as part of the award-winning Scientists in the Field series.

So here’s some introductory comments from our NAPIBOWRIWEE Guest Amy Cherrix for Day One…

AMY CHERRIX: “I was flooded with reasons to go into publishing. When my childhood book collection washed away in a flood about ten years ago, I was devastated. The loss of those books was so profound it shocked me. The subsequent search to find and reconnect with my inner child reader led me to a Master’s in Children’s Literature. I went on to acquire and edit children’s books Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers. Now as a freelance editor, I continue to help authors of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels develop their manuscripts and find publishing homes for their work. I LOVE NaPiBoWriWee and am excited to offer an editor’s perspective this week. Who’s the most important person to you in a publishing house? How is being an unproven author an asset to a publisher? YES, YES, YES, you have to be a talented writer, but so much of publishing success is about educating yourself. Read everything. Attend conferences. Ask questions. Write, write, write!”

Well, Amy said it – we have to write, write, write!

Today is our first day of writing 7 picture books in 7 days. Don’t be nervous! You can do it! And remember – the point of my annual writing event is really to battle and conquer our evil enemy… PROCRASTINATION! Anyone can start writing a picture book, but only Kid Lit Warriors can FINISH a picture book. Don’t worry if your picture book draft is super rough. That’s because the REAL writing is in the REWRITING. Our goal is to write 7 completed picture book manuscript drafts that we can then nurture and grow during our revision process for the rest of the year. (NOTE: Kid lit industry expert Harold Underdown has more about the picture book revision process at his site here:  and

So as Amy says, let’s WRITE WRITE WRITE! Please post your comments below about your progress!

And tune in to tomorrow’s blog (to be posted May 2nd at 6 AM PST/9 AM EST) featuring Amy’s take on what a typical day is like for her as a book editor and what makes for a great picture book pitch for an editor.

Until the next blog, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂



  1. Rolled out early in the Midwest, coffeed up and done with story #1! DING – the story of a dog walk, interrupted by the cell phone.

  2. Can’t imagine what I would do if my library were washed away – weep for certain!
    Glad to learn about Slush Pile Press – signed up to follow on WordPress.
    Now off to write! 🙂 Looking forward to learning lots this week, as always.

    • I too would weep Cathy! Amy is awesome, keep following her. Good luck with your writing today!

  3. Thanks, Amy. Thanks, Paula. This is going to be a great theme. (Paula, you might want to double check the kidlit expert mentioned above. I think your spellchecker had a Freudian slip!)

  4. I’m signing up to do this. Thanks, Paula!
    I warmed up by writing a poem. Now, I’m going to fast draft a PB.
    Happy writing, all! 😀

      • Well, I wrote my first PB for the NaPiBoWriWee challenge with the aid of the Pomodoro timing method. I used an app called Focus which automatically set the timer between 25 min. “sprints” and 5 min. breaks. I wrote my draft within 3 pomodoros. 😉 While I really like my story (esp the MC) I’m not sure how to end it. haha
        (Good idea on keeping the poem, Paula. )

        • I LOVE the Pomodoro timing method and use it too. How coincidental – I have the Focus app as well and blogged about it at one of the past NaPiBoWriWee events! Congrats on the three “apples” 🙂

  5. Draft one down in the books as rough! Very rough! But a draft, no doubt. Thanks for the inspiration and challenge of NaPiBoWriWee. 🙂 And thanks Amy, for the reminder to read, read, read and write, write, write. I used two mentor texts for research in this new draft already, and am reserving a library list to reread.

    • Wow! That was fast Carrie! Congrats!!!!!! I love that you used “mentor texts.” What a great concept.

  6. Hi this is Paula. It’s almost 10 AM and wow some early morning writer busy bees making progress already in the comments! Congrats on writing away! I have to work all day at my job as a writer for the show Defiance on SyFy, so I have my sci fi TV hat on. I’m hoping to write later tonight. In the meantime, I will try to reply to everyone’s comments in a timely manner but wanted everyone to know if there’s a delay it’s because of my job. Just FYI. Happy Writing! xo P.

  7. So nice to be back for year #2! I got more writing done in 7 days last year than I ever would’ve imaginined possible. (I sometimes worry that there may be something wrong with me for relishing the pressure, but if it works I guess you’ve gotta go with it…)
    Almost done with my day 1 draft — which was inspired by this wall decal (go figure) that I bought for my daughter’s birthday back in October, and has been percolating in my head since!

    Thanks Paula!

  8. I love this challenge! I’ve been busy revising older picture book manuscripts, but haven’t written a new one in a while. I have my PiBoIdMo ideas printed out and ready to go! I was hoping to start today, but it looks like I need the rest of the day to finish up my MG revision. Hopefully, I can at least choose which ideas I’ll tackle first over the weekend. I can’t wait to have some shiny new manuscripts to whip into shape. Thanks, Paula!

    • Welcome back Mindy, always a pleasure to have you. I’m glad our Day one is a Friday so we have a weekend! 🙂 Hope those drafts sparkle! 🙂

    • Welcome! Congrats! Now you have plenty of time after may 7 to polish that super rough draft! 🙂

  9. My first year! Thanks for the fun opportunity 🙂 And Amy, I am so sorry about your washed away library…

  10. I’m happy to join you this year! I have soooo many ideas for stories from all the mentor texts I read in the past 2 months. Thanks to #ReFoReMo and #RhyPiBoMo.

    • Welcome! That’s fantastic you did so much prep work. Good luck today and keep us posted on your progress!

  11. Done! I finished my first draft earlier this afternoon and then worked on a second one which I finished a few minutes ago.

    Thank you for doing this again, Paula, This is my 6th year and I’m really looking forward to Amy’s posts

  12. Glad to be back doing NaPiBoWriWee! I love the Editorial Nuts & Bolts theme and really enjoyed meeting Amy. Looking forward to checking out the Slushpile website.
    I wrote a first draft today after a false start. I wrote 2/3of a story then started over–just didn’t like the ending I saw coming up! But now it’s done! Yay!! I can watch TV! 😉
    Thanks, Paula!

  13. I’m new to this and hoping to get some ideas down on paper. I’ve been back in college studying Human Development and so am hoping to explore some anti-bias themes but still keep things entertaining.

    • Welcome Michael! That’s great re: college and Human Development studies. Looking forward to hearing your journey this week with us!

  14. So excited about this push and opportunity! Now to kick it into gear after the longest Friday-getting-too-close-to-the-end-of-school-kids-are-antsy kind of Friday!

  15. Back for a second year and just knocked out my first draft of the week. Thanks for the challenge and motivation! I will write, write, write!

  16. I’m *nearly* done with my draft! Yahoo! I’ve been in a writing drought, so this is huge for me 🙂 (Me commenting counts as me “registering”, correct?) Happy writing, everyone! (And, thank you, Paula!)

    • Congrats on ending the drought! And yes, you are registered. I’ll be including your name in the contest!

  17. How is it already May?? Even though I haven’t prepared for this, I vow to “write like I mean it!” Each year my drafts from NaPiBoWriWee are the meat of my revisions all year long. Time to get those stories that have been festering down on paper.

    • Welcome back! Thank you! BTW the stories are not festering, they’ve been simmering in a delicious slow-cooked delicious broth… 🙂

  18. Happy to be giving NaPiBoWriWee a try. Day one was pretty darn interesting. I think switching gears to a new idea tomorrow will be a challenge.

    • Welcome Sue! Yes, switching gears is tough day to day, seven days a week, but your brain will re-adjust. I think of this like a workout boot camp where you force yourself to exercise (“write”) every day and eventually your body/brain gets used to it. 🙂 You can do it! 🙂

  19. I’m in the middle of a picture book draft for today. 🙂 thanks for the motivation.

    Zainab Khan

  20. I was convinced all day that I couldn’t do it this year. I’d participated in napibowriwee a few years ago and I remember it being pretty easy. 5 of the stories I wrote that week I’m still proud of and would love to see in print, but today I just wasn’t feeling it. I gave up and wrote a poem instead (it turned out not too bad, but not great) but then this evening a funny line popped into my head and I knew I had it. My first picture book story is done!

    • Hi! Welcome back! I’m so happy to hear you are still proud of your previous stories. I love how a funny line popped up for you today. That is great! 🙂

    • Yay! Keep writing! I got home late because of work so I’m just about to start myself… 🙂

  21. Thanks for the motivation. I just found out about your site, so this is my first year. I’ve rolled a bunch of ideas out of my “idea parking lot” and am looking forward to getting some drafting done this week. Wrote for a few hours today and got an extremely rough draft down on paper. I feel like this one’s going to need a ton of revision, but happy to get started!

    • Welcome Allison! I’m so excited by the newcomers this year! LOL Love the “Idea Parking Lot.” Congrats on draft no. 1! 🙂

  22. May 1.
    Made it. All done…..
    This year went by quick. But, glad we’re all back. Now just six more to go.

    Take care,


  23. So today I wrote a draft called, “Mommy Forgets to say Please”… A child spends the day reminding her mother to say please; but plot twist, the child demands milk to go with the sticky peanut butter sandwich and forgets to say please…

    Only about 100 words but it feels right.

    • Welcome Seth! You bring up a great point in writing… it helps to have a plot twist. The surprise twists and turns are what make a plot engaging and compelling. Congrats! 🙂

    • Yay! Glad you got the story done! I too am late, fingers crossed I can get No. 1 done soon!

  24. Thanks, Amy! Thanks, Paula! I’ve wanted to do NaPiBoWriWee since the beginning, but this is the first year I have the whole week to devote to it … so I spent the day getting another project almost done! However, I have a list of the books I hope to write this week, and brainstormed the first one today. Will squeeze in a rough draft of it hopefully tomorrow!

    • Welcome! I’m so excited you finally get a chance to participate! Keep us posted on your progress! 🙂

  25. So excited to find this challenge this year! First draft done and it’s a mystery. I can really sympathize with loosing your childhood books. I have a small hand full of mine (mysteriously hidden). My father gathered the rest up and gave them away. I was likewise devastated, then and when I became a parent (none of my special “friends” to share). Could be why my kids each have a plastic box full of their favorite childhood books in my attic! 🙂

    • Welcome! I already think some of this comment of yours could be the basis of another picture book – special boxes of books in the attic! 🙂

      • Hmm, If I get stuck for tomorrow, I think I may see what happens if I run with that idea. Thanks Paula.

  26. This is going to be fun! I’m starting a little late, but I did get a great idea yesterday so I’m optimistic I can catch up!

  27. ACK, could not reply until I found my log in. Wonderful post, Amy and Paula. This is the first I’ve heard about Slush Pile Press. Amy, I am so sorry about your childhood book collection. *sigh* Write, write, write. Great advice. Draft 1 finished. 2 is underway.

  28. Every day is a holiday so I’m getting my inspiration from the calendar. Happy May Day!

  29. I gave up trying to figure out why my old password wouldn’t work so I could say I’m with you guys! Got first draft done at the PA SCBWI conference over the weekend.