Off To Grandma’s House

I remember when my husband and I took our son to the airport to fly to his grandma’s house. We had to leave him with those in charge of unaccompanied minors-those who would help him get to his grandparents without a hitch. I felt a bit sad that he was ready for this adventure. He was my little boy and he was growing up. I felt nervous that he was going on his own without me to see to his needs and interpret his moods…because Momma knows best. Momma notices every little nuance and expression. She doesn’t have to guess at their meaning. I also felt excitement that he was “ready” for this adventure. I knew this was part of his maturation and the process of preparing him for the world. I knew that his grandparents loved him. I knew how much they were looking forward to this. I knew the importance of his relationship with them and I knew the importance of their influence in his life. I knew that grandparents add a layer to a his life experiences that is important.

As writers we give our stories life. We are the mommas and daddys of our stories. We know every little nuance. But we have to leave them to those in charge-those who help our stories on their journey. We have to leave them with agents and editors and illustrators. It is very emotional. We are excited about this because how else would our stories get out into the world. But we are also nervous. We are hoping that those in charge of our stories will pay close attention to every word. Every mood. Will they notice that expression on page six? What about the humor I see so clearly on page two?

Right now, my debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is at Grandma’s house. It is with Ben Mantle, the illustrator. He will add that extra layer to the story. But before the manuscript arrived, it had to be left with those in charge. First it had to be with Tricia Lawrence, my agent. She got it! She so got it! When she called about my story she mentioned my favorite things. She loves this story and I knew it was in good hands. Then the manuscript spent time with my editor, Maria Modugno. Her excitement was inspiring. She suggested some edits that would make the visit at Grandma’s house more beneficial. She loves my story, too. It’s in good hands. So how am I feeling about the visit with Ben Mantle (Who may not appreciate being called a grandma because . . . well, he’s a man . . . and he’s way younger that me!) I’m feeling especially good! Not because I have a Mommy-cam. I haven’t even seen sketches. But my editor, Maria Modugno, and I talked last week. We talked about changing a few words in manuscript. A few words  . . . but Oh So Important Words. We had this conversation because she had been talking with Ben Mantle about the same few words. He called her to discuss the few . . . but Oh So Important Words. He is paying attention to each expression and mood. Every little nuance! Do you know how good that makes me feel? How confident? He sees the importance of these few words so clearly that he wanted to discuss them. So I know he is adding a layer to the life of my manuscript that I couldn’t add. I know he is taking it very seriously.

I have a feeling I’m going to be very pleased to see my manuscript’s growth and change once it gets back from Grandma’s house. Ben’s influence on the story will make this our story! His and mine. A picture book that is prepared for the world.

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penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

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38 Comments

Filed under craft~writing, Editor, Publishers and Editors, Writing

38 responses to “Off To Grandma’s House

  1. Great analogy, Penny, and a great post! All the best for your new ‘baby’!

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  2. Joanna

    I get it! So exciting.

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  3. kevanjatt

    Yes! Great analogy! Can’t wait to see your book. Love the title!

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  4. I found your words so inspiring, Penny. It’s fascinating to read about the steps in the publishing process. I can’t wait to read There Was An Old Dragon when it is released to the world. Congratulations! 🙂

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  5. You are a lucky book mama, Penny! And you’ve gotten me excited about your newest addition. 🙂

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  6. This is so exciting, Penny! It sounds as though your book is in wonderful hands.

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  7. Parting with a child at any time tests a parent. Your descriptive words made me pine once more for my son. Even at 20 and wholly independent , he must need my guidance. Perhaps not.B

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  8. Yes, that’s exactly how it feels, Penny! But when they really “get’ it, it’s magical. Woohoo!! I can’t wait to see the results. 🙂

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  9. Doesn’t it just make you feel good when your books are hanging out with great people? Can’t wait to see the other half of There Was An Old Dragon come in.

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    • Yes! It makes me feel extremely excited about the finished product. This is one reason traditional publishing appealed to me. Since I can’t illustrate, I was excited about an expert editor matching the text with her choice!

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  10. An apt, and sweet, analogy, Penny! While my kids have never traveled to see grandparents on their own, I can relate to it in terms of sending them off to do activities without me. Looking forward to reading your book!

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  11. YAY Ms. Klostermann! Great analogy! 🙂

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  12. Excellent analogy, Penny! Can’t wait to read your book next year!

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  13. Yes, wonderful analogy- and it’s clear you have a great, engaged illustrator. I just can’t wait to see your book! Congrats again!

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  14. Pamela Courtney

    Letting go and trusting. Well done, you. The satisfaction of knowing that your special creation is in capable hands has to be a great feeling! Can’t wait to see it listed on PPBF.

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  15. So excited! Your worrying let’s me know it’s really good!

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  16. It must be so hard to trust your baby to anyone else, but I’m happy that things are going so well. Good for you, Penny!

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  17. Lindsey Lane

    I can so relate. Sending our babies off into the world, whether they are picture books or young adult, is a soul stretching experience. SO glad to be with you in the process.

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  18. How awesome that you and your editor and the illustrator are clicking. I just checked out Ben Mantle’s work online; he’s awesome! So excited for THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON! 🙂

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  19. So many parts of this process are about letting go and trusting others. It’s good to know we’re all in this together. Thanks for writing this post, Penny.

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  20. Great post Penny! I’m virtually holding your hand through this scary time when your manuscript is off – in capable hands – but still away from you. When your manuscript comes home, it won’t just be a manuscript anymore. It will be all grown up into a book!!

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  21. So great that your ms is in such good hands, Penny! Can’t wait to hold the finished product in mine! 🙂

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