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#FirstDraftFriday - New Month, New Draft

Welcome to #FirstDraftFriday, the March edition! Guest author Ana Siqueira is here to inspire us, and then the rest is up to you. You've got until 8 pm ET to draft a new picture book and get in on the critique giveaway.

Ana is going above and beyond on the giveaway, offering both a critique and a 20-minute follow up Zoom call. So get ready to draft because you don't want to miss your chance at that!


Ana's debut picture book, BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS, illustrated by Geraldine Rodriguez, will be released in July from Beaming Books! To pre-order, visit: https://anafiction.com/


Her second picture book, IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA, illustrated by Irena Freitas, will be out from Simon & Schuster Children’s in summer 2022.


Let's find out what inspired Ana to sit down and write the first draft of BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS?

My daughter was my main inspiration. She is a very gifted girl. When she was a kid, she expected to learn all quickly and to be one of the best. She would quit if she couldn’t be one of the best. Also, I got inspired when learning more about the growth mindset.


What was that process like? Any hiccups with getting the first draft done?


Bella was one of the first stories I wrote. Maybe my second. So my first draft was very didactic and not as fun. I did a LOT of revisions.


How did the manuscript change from that first draft to what it is today?


After learning through webinars, and getting help from editors and my critique partners, I changed the last part of the story. She was supposed to be in a writing competition. I

removed the competition aspect and she decided to bake instead. I also removed the didactic part and added some humor.


Are you a pantser or a plotter? And how does that affect your drafting of a story?


I used to be a pantser, but I learned the hard way: If I don’t have an outline, I’ll have to revise 1000 times. Now, I plot, and I let the idea marinate in my head until I have an outline. That’s when I write my first shitty draft. I cut my revisions from 1000 to maybe 30.


Do you ever find yourself putting off drafting a story?


As I mentioned, I let the story marinate in my head. Only when I solve all the problems, I start writing it, but I do start drafting and writing all the ideas that come to my head.


What is the hardest part of drafting a story for you? And how do you deal with that?


I try writing one picture book manuscript per month. But when I had some serious medical emergencies in my house, I couldn’t get ideas. Writer’s Block can be frustrating. But I’m getting back on track and we all need a break sometimes. Just keep on reading, critiquing, and revising, and soon… Unblocked.


What are your tips and tricks for getting that first draft committed to the page?


I make a commitment to myself to write one picture book per month. I check my ideas from StoryStorm, outline them and write. Some stories will never be submitted, but writing once a month will make me a better writer.


Well, if you're going to write once a month, why not make it on #FirstDraftFriday?


To enter for a chance at a free picture book manuscript (fiction, non-rhyming) critique from Ana, you must do the following by 8 pm ET today (March. 5, 2021):

  1. Follow both me and Ana on Twitter: @HollieWolverton and @SraSiqueira1307

  2. Complete a full picture book draft

  3. Return to this blog post and comment that you’ve completed your draft and provide your Twitter handle. You will need to Sign Up/Log In to leave a comment (it’s easy - just an email and password).

You don’t need to send in your draft or provide proof - we’re all about the honor system here! The lucky winner will be randomly drawn from the comments and announced on Twitter shortly after 8 p.m. ET tonight.


Happy Writing!


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