when I came home to my daughter's, feeling great, and found an e-mail from an editor I'd submitted to recently. Really? A rejection on my vacation? But then I opened it and found this:
Today at 10:37 AM
Thanks so much for sending CONFETTI THE YETI my way! I love your message and the art potential here, and you've been especially successful because it's difficult to make rhyme compelling these days! I do have a few tweaks in mind, so have a look at my thoughts below and please let me know if you would be willing to revise CONFETTI with these in mind:
Instead of placing Squirrel as the sole overt antagonist to Confetti, perhaps the whole forest could take over asking Confetti questions--they could ask innocently, curiously, or in some cases suspiciously/aggressively, but I want to make sure that we know being agender/bigender/etc. isn't something that should automatically put someone on the defensive, and also that it's okay to ask (respectful) questions out of ignorance/curiosity.
I suggest ending the book on "Confetti's not ready to choose only one!" I know you're going for a bedtime story ending, but I think the last stanza ends up feeling tacked-on. Better to end strong with your message at the forefront.
"“No, I don’t,” says Confetti. “That’s where you’re wrong.
I need to be healthy, I need to be strong,
but I don’t need to choose if I’m he or I’m she.
I’m smart and I’m funny, and totally me.”
<<<<I just LOVE this stanza. Perfectly encapsulates the attitude we should have about our bodies.
Regarding the race versus the dance: the section between "I know...!" and "soft place" gets a little narratively muddy/choppy. Maybe instead of canceling outright, Confetti could inspire everyone to ditch the teams/competition and race together while cheering each other on as individuals (a marathon rather than a relay, perhaps), then end with a celebratory dance? (This could even be gotten across primarily in the art: perhaps we see other animals removing their team shirts, or customizing them--rolling up the sleeves, cutting out the neckline flashdance-style, writing messages on them, tying them at the waist, etc.)
If you have any questions or want to run something by me, please don't hesitate to email me and ask. I'd also love to know what else you're working on! I look forward to hearing from you.
AAAAAGH! I couldn't believe it! She likes my rhymer about a creature who sees no need to choose a gender! She took such a careful look at it. Then shortly thereafter, she sent another e-mail saying that she'd run the story by her gender-queer co-worker and that person had one suggestion. She shared my story! Such a good sign!
I was excited, but I still thought it couldn't be true, there must be something wrong somewhere. I checked SCBWI and found out that the publisher, Stonesong, is "very legit." Yay! And Alyssa is experienced and seems like a good person on Twitter.
So I implemented the changes, picked out four other stories, and sent everything off. Now.....the w a i t i n g begins. But I am so hopeful!!