I'm a Picture Book Illustrator but this past Spring a story began to form in my brain (sounds painful right and it was:)This is the time for a good critique group. They will help you sort out which things are working best about the project, and you'll be in a better place to decide its shape from there.
I began by sketching it out in storyboard fashion. I thought I had a vision of how the story would go, how many pages it might take to tell it, the type of art (sketchy b/w) I would need, the limited wording I wanted to use.
Well, after a while I realized I had far too many sketches for any pic book I have ever seen. I stopped, thinking perhaps it best to put down the words on paper that were going through my head as I drew.
That made it worse, because my vision for the book was completely thrown by the amount of writing I was doing. This was NOT what I had planned. It was suppose to be simple, few words, perhaps a speech bubble here and there, thought bubbles for the dog character. Now, words were flowing to match the number of images and I found myself panicking.
Now, I really don't know what I have here. Is it the quirky sort of pic book I had planned, no. Is it a story book, no. Is it a graphic novel, maybe but how do I tell. Is it a mid grade novel, can't be, I'm not a writer!!!
How do writers sort this out and is it normal or at least common for a writer to begin a work and then have it take over? Do Authors always know what sort of manuscript they will end up with or is it sometimes a surprise even to them?Of course it's a surprise sometimes. These are creative endeavors; they are supposed to have some life of their own.
Lastly, when the story starts talking back to you and you to the story, is it time for the jacket and wagon?If that's your definition of crazy, every SCBWI conference is a looney bin. You have a LOT of company.