alexandra alger


Picture Books: Do They Ever Get Easier?

When the amazing, inimitable writer-illustrator-teacher Pat Cummings told me about the PB contest organized by Atlantic Avenue merchants (we’re talking Brooklyn here), I thought, “Why not?” It’s a writing contest in my own backyard with cash prizes  (a grand for first place!) and a fantastic panel of judges (Bruce Degen!).  

Then I sat down to write. Immersed in a MG world for the last several years, I had forgotten all about the easy treachery of the picture-book manuscript. Do you know what I mean? I had an idea. I jotted down a few notes. I wrote a few lines. I liked them. I kept going. In no time I had three hundred words. The perfect length. (Have you noticed how few words BPs have these days?) I stopped, rather smug about doing such a good first draft. I read it over the next day, and it was terrible! Not total crap, but not good, either. And then I remembered my stack of PB manuscripts that were never quite…right. Rapunzel, who got put in the tower because she liked math. The blankie story. The sex book. (If only I were Dr. Ruth, I might’ve sold it.)

Not that I’ve given up. Nope. I haven’t given up. I’m going to keep trying. I’ll send something to the Atlantic Avenue BID. I have almost two weeks…no, actually, I’ve got just over a week to craft this baby. I have nothing to lose, right?

If anyone reading this wants to know more about the contest, go to The deadline’s Nov. 1 at the stroke of midnight.


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