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  • Writer's pictureVal Agnew

Working On Wednesday: A Scrappy Journey

On Wednesdays I'm going to try to share something that I'm working on that is more personal. A project or effort that is not explicitly related to my professional endeavors. I hope that in sharing a goal publicly, I will increase my drive to complete or improve upon whatever it is. And perhaps I will also find support or partnership in a reader.

The Birth of Sally

For my first 'Working On Wednesday', I'm going to share a little about my longest-running project. Going on eight years ago, I wrote a little rhyming story about a girl named Scrappy Sally. The story and the girl were loosely based on me and my own experience as a resourceful tomboy. I took the project seriously, spending countless hours trying to get the rhythm right and the story clear. I enlisted a copy editor friend to review the work and give me feedback.

In the early days, I was so excited that this story could one day become a children's book that inspired little kids, especially little girls, to work through challenges and overcome failures and resist the cultural pressure to be eternally perfect. I created lists of future stories, thinking Sally could have all kinds of adventures beyond the one already written.

A Rocky Start

Early on I had a handful of different illustrators attached to the project. All friends or acquaintances who, at least for a time, seemed as invested in the project as I was. We had spec covers and sample layouts and discussed different methods of self publishing. But in each case, the illustrator ultimately was pulled away by competing priorities.

Over the years I've asked other people who I knew were artists if they might be interested in helping. Some have expressed vague regard, but none have really seemed to want to go on the journey with me.

Trying to Stay Scrappy

You may be asking at this point why I didn't just pay someone to do the illustrations, or try to just go to a publisher with the manuscript and see if they would assign someone to the task. That probably would be the more prudent thing to do. The book would either be scrapped or finished at this point for sure. But I resisted, mainly because, as in pretty much all things in my life, I wanted more than just someone to draw. I desired a true partner. Someone who was as excited about the project as I was. Someone who would leave their mark on the work. Someone who would invest their efforts as I had invested mine, on the promise of the story being rewarding creatively and monetarily down the line.

Are You My Partner?

This is probably a naive and silly notion. A finished book is better than a fruitless ideal. So if you are or know an illustrator who just wants to get paid to do the work, contact me. At this point I would be open to the idea. I really believe in this story and its core character and want to share it and her with the world sooner rather than later. But I also want to use this entry as one last effort to find a true partner for this project. If that could be you, let me know.

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