Three Questions For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Writer's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate).

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Entries in editing (16)


Something Amazing

Thanks to my friend Therese Walsh for the great caption! You can find out more about Therese at and on Twitter at @ThereseWalsh.



Comic: Taking Punctuation Personally


Comic: He's Checking It Twice...Just Not Yet


Comic: Another Reason You Should Always Make Backups


Comic: Obsessive Compulsive Editing Disorder

To writers out there: so 'fess up. How many of you out there can identify?


Writers: Don't rush your submission. Make sure your writing is polished BEFORE you send it out. 

One mistaken assumption that I've noticed some newbie writers making: Sending out their writing too soon, assuming that the editor who buys their short story (or novel, etc.) is going to be helping them polish the piece anyway.


Never, ever send an mss out just after you've finished it. Put it away for a few days (a few weeks at least, for a novel). That way you'll be able to reread more objectively, without the rosy glow of "omigosh this is brilliant just wait until publishers see this."

I'm a foodie, so often think in terms of food analogies. In this case, it would be sort of like a first-time restauranteur opening before they've perfected their dishes. Turn off the restaurant critics early on, and you make it tougher for yourself longterm.

If you're a new picture book writer, this is even MORE vital. Why? Because I've noticed that many non-pb writers assume that writing a picture book is easy because there are fewer words, that it's something they can do on the side for extra money while they work on their "real" books. 

Vaguely related side note:

Others may differ, but I also advise NOT giving it to your critique group to read too soon. Why? Because there is a real value in getting feedback from someone who is reading the piece for the first time. Yes, there's a value in getting feedback for a rough version so you can polish it before sending it out to an editor. Be aware, however, that after the first critique, your crit partners will likely be giving feedback on your revisions rather than an overall first-time impression.

Respect your readers, before and after publication.


Comic: Sometimes you just have to learn to let go...


Comic: The Plot Hole


Comic: Sometimes You Just Have To Let Go...


Comic: Revision Angst


Thanks to Writers Write Creative Blog for making this particular comic so popular on Facebook right now. :-)

I'm posting some of my older comics here as I catalog and tag them in prep for a print book compilation. You can find my comics for writers on Inkygirl (, Tumblr ( and Pinterest (


Comic: Cat and Dog Editors


NaNoEdMo - National Novel Editing Month

Screen shot 2011 02 14 at 4 13 29 PM

I was reading this post in Writer Unboxed and thought I'd remind you all about National Novel Editing Month.

Looking for motivation to edit your manuscript? Check out NaNoEdiMo, which is a challenge to writers to spend 50 hours in March editing your novel.

An excerpt from the site:

You have entered the portal to the crazy world of novel editing. Have you written a 50,000 word novel but haven't edited it yet? Then you've come to the right place! It is here that people from all over the world gather together to spend 50 hours in March editing their novels. This is not as easy as it might sound but the forums are available to get advice and ask all the important questions you may have. Advice from real published authors will also be here to help you and a certificate of completion awaits each winner at the end of the month.



Comic: Serious Line Editing

Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein (Arthur Levine Books) has an excellent post about her 3-step line editing process: A Mid-Line-Edit Ramble e On Line-Editing.


Comic: What they're really thinking


New comic on Writer Unboxed: Obsessive Compulsive Editing Support Group

Just posted a new comic over on Writer Unboxed.


Writers: avoid these clichés like the plague!

(Update: link fixed -- sorry about that!)

If you want to keep your writing from sounding too predictable, read this post by Delia Cabe from about over-used pet words, phrases and devices.