A while back I glossed over the fact that as I continued my search for the next publisher to which to submit, that in between submissions I would re-work both the text and illustrations. Not so much re-drawing of content, but more about re-arranging said content. So take a look at my example. In the older draft on top, my 2-page spread contains A LOT of action. Ben discovers Centipede Dragon, perceives Centipede Dragon’s illness, makes a decision to help, runs back to the shop, comes back with the blanket, and climbs the tree to where CD resides.
Zowee, I’m EXHAUSTED.
The reason I initially paced it this way is that I was told the formula for plotting out a children’s storybook was that in the first approximately 26 of 32 pages, I was to A) Introduce the character; B) Introduce the character’s dilemma C) Build the suspense of the dilemma by introducing complications and D) Come to a crisis point.
In the next 2-4 pages I was to resolve the crisis. And in the last 2 pages I wrap everything up neatly.
After several rounds of dummy-making and submissions, I began to NOT like how bunched up all this action was. This is what is extremely helpful with dummies, irrespective of whether or not you have illustrations. Authors still can envision, whether fuzzy or in sharp relief, what their story looks like. So the dummy is vital to understand the flaws in pacing.
Now, take a look at the bottom row that represents two 2-page spreads, showing the same action occurring in 2 pages but now spread out over 4 pages. What do YOU think of the pacing now?