Many of the criticisms of my story thus far, have been surrounding the lack of conflict and resolution. I have thought about this a great deal and have come to the conclusion that not all books need to have conflict and resolution. In fact, I’ve always dreaded watching most sitcoms, cartoons, and even some Disney movies. I hate that point when, halfway through the plot, after the characters have all been built and everything is all happy and good, something bad happens. You’re put through all this stress, even though you know everything is going to be fine in the end. Why torment yourself? I don’t find the conflict entertaining. Most of the time, I just want to quit watching. I guess that’s why I’ve always been attracted to documentaries and non fiction books. But this isn’t about me and what I like, is it?
But really, does a children’s picture book need a conflict, resolution and character arc? Let’s see what other kinds of children’s books there are:
Picture books: Focuses primarily on the illustration.
Participation books: The reader takes part in the book; pulling flaps, looking for something on the page, etc.
Rhyming books: Engages the reader with fun rhymes.
Concept Books: Introduces readers to a single theme and often uses repetition to define relationships (size, color, etc)
Pattern Books: Helps with reading skills due to repetition and predictability.
Informational Books: Excites the reader in a subject and can mingle information with storytelling.
Fiction: The broadest category, these books cover fantasy and realistic fiction from imagined stories.
Non Fiction: Written about actual true stories and events or people (biographies).
I know I have left many out in this list, but we can see there are many types of books beyond the traditional fictional story. Granted, if you want to stray from the traditional formula, you may have a difficult time getting published, but I think most people would have a difficult time getting published anyways (sorry for the pessimism).
I think to stay true to my writing voice and authenticity of myself, I need to write my story my way. I have never been one to follow the crowd for security purposes, why would I start now. I have read many delightful stories that are simply narratives that provide a window to another world. In the end, that’s what being an artist is all about.