Today is the day! My latest picture book, No Boring Stories, is available to purchase anywhere that books are sold.
It’s the story of an adorable bunny who wants to write weird stories, and she tries to join an offbeat group of animals (a star-nosed mole, a giraffe-necked weevil, a babirusa, and a yeti crab) who run a writing group they call the International Society for Writers of Odd and Weird. At first they assume the bunny only wants to write stories about cuddling and mommies and bedtime. They accuse her of disturbing their writing process (they’re collaborating on a picture book about a princess who must save her kingdom’s sandwiches from evil alien grapes). Finally the bunny proves that she can be a valuable member of their group (and they all lived happily ever after) (except for writer’s doubt and inner critics, but that’s a story for another book).
It’s illustrated by Charles Santoso, and every page is a hilarious and adorable delight thanks to his pictures.
It’s a book about writing, writing the weird stories in your heart, and how hard it is to get the story right sometimes. So, in many ways, it’s a story about itself. I wrote the first draft of this story in 2012, and, in its first version, it was about talking furniture. The misfit furniture wanted to be recognized. A sofa comes along, and wants to join them.
You want evidence of how much revision goes into a published book? This is it. I am going to share the furniture story with you (it’s a PDF). Note that this is very drafty. It’s really not great. I know that. But it has something. There’s a spark of a story there.
My editor for this book (and for the Snappsy books), Joanna Cárdenas, always asks me “what is the heart of this story?” It’s a useful thing to ask yourself. The heart of the story is what readers will ultimately relate to. Through revision after revision, I worked on that question, and decided the heart of this story was this: characters being true to themselves, standing tall, wanting to be recognized and believed.
You can see the thread of that heart in the very first version, and, through countless revisions, the story grew and changed and zigged and zagged around that heart.
Without further ado, here you go: Regular Sofa, version 1.
No Boring Stories, available today, is somewhere between version 55-60 (there are a lot of versions in there, it’s hard to keep track).