Broccoli book dummy
So I had this idea a while back for a book, and I have spent the last several weeks playing around with the concept, writing it, thumbnailing it, drawing it. I have 3 spreads now for this dummy and wanted to share it with you guys, see what you think.. (gulp)
It's my first book dummy for an original concept of mine, so I would love feedback. The idea here is that the main character is a little broccoli and he's telling us how he feels about the fact that he is so unpopular and unloved with the kids!
rcartwright last edited by
@nessillustration I like the illustrations and I like the concept but this feels like it would not relate to a five year old. If I was going retool this concept I would be more inclusive of the other unpopular veggies and have them trying to become popular in more childlike ways like broccoli dreaming of becoming a fire fighter and such, Have you taken the SVS writing class? I found it to be very informative.
@rcartwright I haven't yet but I definitely want to take this one! I'm very new at writing!
Thanks for the feedback and I can definitely see what you mean about this not relating to young children. However here it's kind of the points: kids don't care about omega-3 and fiber and nutrients, but the broccoli doesn't get that. As the last line of the 3rd page says, he doesn't understand why kids aren't responding! This is just the beginning of the book though and you've given me a lot of new ideas about how broccoli could go about trying to be liked by kids in more fun ways in the rest of the book. Thanks for your comment!
There is an intrinsic problem with books featuring food as main character - it´s hard to empathize with a main character whose desire is to be eaten
Jokes aside, I like your drawing style and these look nice and well paced. It´s good practice to dummy a book and you learn a lot of very useful skills by doing that. If I had a critique is that all illustrations are a little “passive” - mostly just the character saying something. You could try to bring in some more movement with different points of view, different crops (maybe a closeup) or some real action.
If you aim to pitch your book to agents or publishers, however, here is some advice I had to learn the hard way: don’t go into the dummy phase with a story idea until you´re completely sure about it. I´ve dummied two books, with all the investement in time and energy, who will never leave a drawer again because the concept and writing are not strong enough - and I could have learned this at the manuscript phase.
Writing publishable children books is really hard and needs about the same commitment as learning to illustrate. You need also to study the market very well, read a ton of books and know what´s out there. For example, I bet there are a million books with the topic “eat your veggies”. How has the theme been handled before? Can you bring a new angle, something different to it?
The best first step is to join a writing critique group, especially if it includes experienced or published writers. SCBWI has some always going on in the various regions, but there are many other options. There are children writing courses (also here at SVS) you can take. And of course reading tons of children books from the writer´s perspective.
I'm very new to the SVS forum, but so far I'm really loving all the great constructive feedback everyone gives each other, it's so encouraging to see artists helping each other out!
I love your style and your little characters, their faces are just the cutest and it's really lovely to see something a little different, I've never seen anyone illustrate a piece of broccoli before hehe!
Also, your story concept of teaching young readers about the benefits of vegetables is very refreshing.
There are a couple of grammatical changes you could make, for example 'Sometimes they so badly don't want to eat me' doesn't really make sense, so that might be one you may want to revisit ('Sometimes they really don't want to eat me' instead?), and the opening verse 'I'm really an amazing veggie', maybe something like 'I really am an amazing veggie' instead?
I also noticed that a couple of your sentences rhyme but the rest doesn't, have you thought about writing it all as a rhyme? You're lovely illustrations would really compliment some short verses, and children seem to engage well with poetry especially when its about something informative!
Good luck with it all though, I'm excited to see where you take it next as your work is really charming
@smceccarelli Hello Simona Thank you so much for your feedback!
Haha you're right about that, my boyfriend has even dubbed it my "veggie suicide story" hahaha
I don't plan on submitting this to publishers, this is my very first dummy and like you said there is much to learn about both the market and the book illustrating process! This project was mostly to have something I can put in my portfolio that looks like a book, and you're right that I learned so much just by doing it!
Thank you so much for the great advice, market research and joining a writing critique group seem like really good ideas!
@hannahmccaffery Thank you so much Hannah! English is not my first language so your input is very useful here!