NAPIBOWRIWEE 2015 – DAY SIX: Editorial Pet Peeves


Welcome to DAY SIX of my seventh annual National Picture Book Writing Week (“NAPIBOWRIWEE”) 2015!

Well, it’s Wednesday, AKA Hump Day. At this point, I’m sure most of you are exhausted, crabby, burned out, and seeing talking animals everywhere. LOL! But hang in there, we just have two days left! Ha! I bet you didn’t realize how much hard work this week would be! You are not just writing 7 picture books in 7 days but you are also FINISHING 7 picture books in 7 days. For those of you about to start Book #6 – congrats!

As for those of you who are working on your first book or second book or third book etc., do NOT despair. You are doing a great job just by writing every day. If you are falling behind, don’t give up. Instead, focus and see if you can finish at least ONE book by Day 7. The whole point of this event is to encourage writers to FINISH what they started. Believe it or not, there are many established veteran PUBLISHED picture book authors who also participate in my event because it doesn’t matter if we’ve published a ton of books or ZERO books… writers LOVE to procrastinate. LOL! 🙂 So please know that you are in good company. We can do this!

MY DAY FIVE EXPERIENCE: Breaking news… I did NOT write a book today. My excuse? I have none. I just had a long day at work followed by getting home late again. Plus I wanted to exercise and then I had “homework” for my job that I had to do. It’s now after midnight and I just finished my work for my regular job. I need to sleep. So … this is proof that I am NORMAL. I’m HUMAN. So for those of you who have fallen behind, guess what? I’m now with you! See? Don’t you feel better? 🙂 Team Let’s Catch Up For Day 6!!! 🙂

However, I can honestly say at least that I WROTE for Day 5. I didn’t write or finish a picture book #5, but I at least figured out the topic. I have a rough idea of what the beginning, middle and end will be. So I will work on it tomorrow for Day 6 and hope I can do two books tomorrow. We’ll see. Fingers crossed! 🙂

Please post your progress for Day 6 in today’s comments!

Reminder: I am posting daily blogs from May 1-7, 2015 at 6 AM PST (9 AM EST) here at Our contest drawing results will be posted on May 8, 2015 featuring fun prizes from our NAPIBOWRIWEE STORE (link:, autographed copies of my books, other surprise prizes as well as ONE free picture book manuscript critique from professional editor/author AMY CHERRIX, who is also our guest-in-residence for this year’s event! (You can follow Amy on Twitter @acherrix and her website is here:

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

The theme for this year is EDITORIAL NUTS & BOLTS as Amy answers our questions about writing and the publishing industry. For today’s blog on “Editorial Pet Peeves,” I asked Amy about her pet peeves in the publishing industry.

Amy suggested we ask her special expert, SAM ELLIOTT CHERRIX … her puppy! What better special guest blogger to talk about editorial pet peeves other than Amy’s pet puppy? 🙂

Meet SAM ELLIOTT CHERRIX and hear all about his editorial pet peeves!

Meet Sam Elliott, editor Amy Cherrix's puppy!
Meet Sam Elliott, editor Amy Cherrix’s puppy!

Meet Amy Cherrix's puppy Sam Elliott Cherrix of


By Special Guest Blogger “Sam Elliott Cherrix” (AKA Amy Cherrix’s pet puppy)

Can you guys answer something for me? How come the cool, devoted animal character has to die in order for a human to learn something important about themselves? I’m just saying it’s harsh and a bit cliché don’t you think? Instead, consider finding a more original way to bring your character to a moment of understanding or self-actualization. SAVE THE PETS! We’ve lost too many good ones already: Old Yeller, Bambi’s mom, and one seriously cool spider with impeccable penmanship.

Yes, I am totallyunbelievablyutterly adorable. You know what’s not? –ly adverbs! There are so many better words to use to describe your characters and setting. Dig for them like they are the last rawhide bone in the bag!

I hated obedience school. “Sit! Stay!” blah, blah, blah. But following the guidelines for submissions will show you understand an editor’s job. They read for a living, so the little things matter: font style (Times New Roman) and size (12pt), double-spaced please. If there is a page-count limit, respect it. Hey, you might get cookie…or a contract…

I’ll let you get back to it. Seven books in seven days?! Gosh, you guys are ambitious. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m overdue for a nap.

 – Sam Elliot Cherrix

LOL! Well, I too was surprised by our extra special guest today. Oh Amy! 🙂

In the meantime, my friend ERIN EITTER KONO who was featured in our DAY FOUR BLOG ( sent me an email to let me know that she wrote a rough draft of a new picture book idea she had been brainstorming for awhile. She was excited to participate for at least one day of our NAPIBOWRIWEE event!

Erin also sent me this link that she thought we would all find helpful. She wrote: “Relevant article today on illustrator’s perspective and new pb writers on new children’s lit magazine:” Thanks Erin! Definitely check out the blog – it’s another great and insightful writer tip!

Well, time to leave the Blogging Batcave and head back into the Writing Batcave. Remember to follow me on Twitter @paulayoo for updates. I will post tomorrow’s Day 7 Blog on May 7, 2015 at 6 AM PST/9 AM EST here with thoughts from our guest AMY CHERRIX about her Submission Check List of tips you should check off before submitting your final draft to agents and editors! Let’s hope I can catch up and get TWO books done today!

Until then, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂



  1. Thanks Paula, Erin and Puppy Sam!
    So far, I have 1 PB that I’m super excited about – “Go Fetch!” (Sam would approve.)
    2 PB drafts that (crossing my fingers) have great potential.
    And 2 PB drafts that are in danger of falling into my computer’s black hole.
    Onward to PB #6!

    • Go Fetch is a great title! Avoid the black hole! LOL! Good luck with 6. GREAT work, so proud of you!

  2. So true about pets – let them live happily ever after! Finished book 6 – I am just an early morning writer. This is Look Closely – nonfiction lift the flap book about bright colored surprises in dull places. Totally cannot believe I am at book 6!

    • Oh wow, your early morning writing is quite productive. I LOVE your Look Closely idea – how wonderful!

  3. Mmmm, cookies…Nah, I’d rather have the contract! At least I wrote two manuscripts today, which puts me at four manuscripts in total. Yay! One step closer to that contract!

  4. Woof Sam! Here’s a biscuit to thank you for your good advice!

    Squeezed two PB’s out of my brain today to make up for missing yesterday. They are Ruff, ruff ruff! as Sam might say, but I was thinking about them as I tried to fall asleep last night. That “pre-writing” time made it easier!

  5. Ahhh! A idea that has been plaguing me for a long time and that I just couldn’t fit into a story this week, is finally crappy draft #6! Needs a ton of work but I broke the barrier from idea to beginning-middle-end.
    And YES, Paula, I’m seeing “seeing talking animals everywhere”! Crazy!
    Hope everyone is hanging in there!

    • Dana, I’m so glad the idea that has been plaguing you finally was fixed! 🙂 LOL re: talking animals. Are you also thinking in rhyme? LOL! xo P.

  6. Sam, if you put in good word for me with your mommy I’ll send you a bucket of biscuits….any flavor you want. LOL LOL Thanks for your advice and book 5 is done.
    I’ll go fetch my notes and outline for 6.


  7. Paula, I see talking animals everywhere I turn on a regular basis, seeing most of my stories revolve around some aspect of nature… talking trees, flowers, birds, bees, animals etc.

    Because tomorrow will be taken up with medical tests and I know that I will not feel like writing anything when I get home, I pushed myself today and finished three more drafts.

    • I love how your stories revolve around nature – wonderful! And three drafts today? WOW! You are so determined and I like that you anticipated you might not be up for writing after the tests (hugs and hope you have good health). Smart strategy and scheduling. Take a break, you deserve it! 🙂

  8. Hi Paula!! Today is my first comment…and also the first PIBO to get me in a bind.Finally just settled on the plot outline. It’s looking like this one will be my day 6 & 7! I suppose the ones closest to your heart are the hardest to write… Fingers crossed that “There’s a Monster on my Head” makes it to the end!

    • I like the Monster in my Head title! And hey – you should be proud of yourself. Instead of giving up, you fought back and at least wrote a plot outline. THAT’S GREAT! Make Day 7 a writing double date! 🙂

  9. I may not have 7 drafts by the end of the week but I have been researching, jotting down new ideas, writing scenes for some of these and thinking pix books so much more now. Thank you for that! I feel so much more energized about writing pix books now. I was in a slump.

    • This is wonderful news! I’m so glad we were able to work through your slump and get you excited again! Yay!

  10. Puppy Sam looks like he’s going to be a big boy! Hoping tonight’s draft grows as well. I usually start with a title (to go with the idea) and so far the title eludes me which doesn’t bode well.

    • I am TOTALLY a title person, too. I need titles – it’s hard to write without one. But sometimes I’ll force myself to write without a title and it rises to the surface halfway through the writing. Sometimes titles don’t come easily because I realize later I was thinking too much about plot and not about theme, and once I figure out the theme, the title pops up! 🙂

  11. Not tired exhausted of crabby but I am think story everywhere, driving the car thinking of dialog, sitting in a meeting thinking stor line … I love it when my brain is firing while I am doing the mundane!!! I am thanking you AGAIN for this wonderful challenge and not only getting me to write everyday … but thinking “deeply” about what I write!

    • opps I forgot to proofread before sending … tired, exhausted or crabby, Driving … storyline … wow how can I make so many mistakes in one little paragraph????

    • Oh hugs! Wow what a kind comment. Thank YOU! I’m excited that you are constantly thinking of writing and story ideas. This is why writing can be a 24/7 type job because our brains are always creatively “on.” Keep it up! 🙂

  12. Something my son said at the breakfast table yesterday inspired today’s draft. Draft 6 is done with a few hours remaining in Day 6. Hoorah! I think this is the first year I’m staying on task 🙂

  13. I have to go to bed soon to run biology labs tomorrow, but I’m half way through story 6 and will make it go no matter what. Amy’s dog’s input reminds me that when my dog was alive, I had a Twitter account for her and she was far more popular than I was on Twitter. 😀

    • Awwww hugs for your old puppy’s Twitter account. Good luck with the labs. How about a science oriented picture book?

      • That’s a great idea! I actually want to write about the destruction of mangroves but I need to do more research on that first. 🙂

  14. Hope you can catch up today, Paula!

    I am finally caught up! WooHoo! Going to try to finish strong tomorrow and work on my dummy, and … we’ll see what happens. I left the best book (a.k.a. most fun for me to imagine) for last and I’m looking forward to writing it tomorrow!

  15. Draft 6 is complete… it needs a lot of work. Everything is not fitting together perfectly yet…but I will have time to think about it when I am ready to revise.
    Thanks for the motivation! Almost there.

  16. Thanks for cheering us on. I just realized that I’ve written six picture books. I can’t believe it! Somehow, I thought I had two or three to go. Woo Hoo! I’m so thankful for your challenge. I would NEVER have done this on my own. . .one more to go!

  17. I definitely have a draft today. That makes 6. Wahoo. One more to go. I already have the idea too. Sam, you are ultra cool. 🙂

  18. I just finished picture book draft #6. This was hard. I had so many ideas but none of them had a somewhat satisfying ending except perhaps this the one I ended up writing- WHERE DID THOSE IDEAS GO? I’ll edit it galore and hopefully it got be a potential picture book.
    Thanks for the challenge. My brain is kaput and I’m not sure from where I’ll churn out the last picture book.

    • LOL! I sympathize with the brain going kaput. 🙂 Hang in there. If you are afraid of burn out for day 7, think SMALL. SIMPLE and straight forward writing. less is more. Maybe do a wordless picture book? 🙂

  19. Well, nearly at the stroke of midnight…I almost turned back into a pumpkin, but #6 is done. Can I just say blah? This one was tough to finish, but my mind and heart must really want to write a story about book love. Each time I write one, it is different… plot and all, but there is something familiar. Time for this story, and concept, to go to bed for a while… and me, too! Is anyone else exhausted?

    • I love the book love concept. Don’t feel “blah” – every draft you do brings you closer to the gem hidden inside these other rougher drafts. 🙂

  20. It was great to get the perspective of Sam Elliott.
    My draft today was very ruff – it was a nonfiction dog story. No dogs die. Better rough than nothing.

    • Rough ruff! I’m always in favor of dog stories. Have you thought about writing a book from a dog’s POV? Might be a fun exercise!

  21. Hi Peeps & Paula! Amazed I’m really doing this, now at Day 6 alongside ya’ll–Yay! Today’s story draft breaks the 4th wall and is quite punny! I may be treading “dangerous” territory but it made me laugh (it’s that good)… However, who knows? Tomorrow it might make me cry (it’s that bad). We shall see. Mucho thanks for the encouragement, tips and good humor in the blog posts–Sam Elliott Cherrix is my hero!

    • LOL I am intrigued by this breaking down of the 4th wall with all the puns. Hey, if it made you laugh that is a good sign. Even if you cry, it’s still a good sign because it’s about EMOTION. Good luck with Day 7!

  22. I got ya back Sam! My pets and storybook animals all live out long healthy lives. Can’t necessarily say the same for trolls, ogres, goblins, and large illiterate spiders. Dang, I only got half of book 6 done. Way too many interruptions. But tomorrow, I have promised myself to get the rest of 6 & all of 7 done. Tally-ho.

    • LOL now I want you to write a story about a troll with his ogre, goblin and spider friends. 🙂 Good luck on our final day!

  23. I am still repeating Amy’s Day 5 “Write it down today, make it sing tomorrow.” in my head… thanks for that!!
    I got back on the nonfiction wagon for #6 and am planning to stay on it for #7 too. I’m not sure why I haven’t tapped my nature-geek side before for this sort of work; I am having a lot of fun with it.
    Thanks for the nudge Paula!

    • I love the term NATURE GEEK! That’s awesome. So happy this event helped you discover that side of you for future book ideas!

  24. Ok it’s official. I’m now two books behind. People keep throwing ideas at me… but I didn’t like any of them… starting to think I should have treated this assignment like school and just wrote something even if I didn’t like it

    • That’s okay if you are two books behind. Again, the whole point is that not all of us can write 7 picture books in 7 days. That’s an almost impossible challenge. But it’s so fun to try. I myself have not written 7 books in past NAPIBOWRIWEE events. Yes, maybe think of this as homework – just get it down! 🙂 Sometimes writing is hard work and not all fun and games. Good luck today!

  25. Wrote my day six story. Actually a sequel to one I wrote the last time. Got a nice little series going here.