There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
William Somerset Maugham
First of all, I love this guy. How could I not? His name is W. Somerset Mom. And just like Mom, he talks about rules. Mom has a lot of rules for me. Here are the top three:
14. Keep off the bed after it’s made.
6. Always put the toys back in the toy box.
97. Don’t eat garbage.
3. No begging.
Mom doesn’t know the novel rules any better than Maugham does. Ditto the picture book rules.
I mean she knows there needs to be a great opening, unpredictable characters, conflict, voice, rising action, increasing obstacles, excitement, humor, emotion, lyrical language, plot twists, surprises, and of course a satisfying ending.
Sometimes, when she reads picture books – which she does A LOT,
she says the word, “What? There’s no conflict here.” and “Aargh. That was SO predictable.” and “Get off the bed!”
and “Ugh. Worst ending ever.” and “Meh.” and “Don’t even think about it!”
So apparently, there are rules and there is reality. It’s tough to know what an editor will like. It’s much easier to know what Mom will like.