Wednesday, October 7, 2020

From Research to Revision, Ick! Part 4

On Wednesdays this fall, I’m sharing the process of creating my recently-published book Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animals Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses step-by-step. (To learn about the whole process in one sitting or to share an age-appropriate version with your students, check out this new resource on my website.)

Last week I discussed making a plan, which involves figuring out the text’s major characteristics. You can scroll down and read that post. Today, I’ll focus on what happened next, and how I got a bit of a surprise.

If I’d been planning to write a picture book, I would have started writing my rough draft at this point, but because I’d collected so much great information about icky animals, I decided to write three 48-page books for middle grade readers—one called Disgusting Dinners, one called Disgusting Dwellings, and one called Disgusting Defenses. Since the books would have the same design and text characteristics, I thought I’d be able to sell the series with a proposal.
As you can see, my proposal included ideas about what the books would physically look like, a description of the content, an outline, a list of all the animals I’d include, and three writing samples. 

Here you can see the writing sample for the black-backed jackal. At this point, I envisioned a main text with two additional text features—a fast fact and a stat stack.

National Geographic loved the idea, but they wanted one 112-page book instead of three 48-page books. They also wanted a larger trim size and a lot more text on each page. I developed some ideas for additional sections , including Extra Ick! and a Critter Challenge math riddle, and submitted a revised writing sample, which they approved.


Why don’t you see those Critter Challenge sidebars in the final book? Eventually, we decided to cut them all.

Now it was time to start writing. I’ll share more about that process next week.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Melissa, I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying this series and behind the scenes peek at your work. Thank you!