Problem #1: I'm 20 pages into it and the reader knows:
- Who the main characters are
- What the setting is
- Back story (but not too much)
- The overall tone of the story
- The voice of the writing
....the reader does not know what the story is about.
That's a problem.
I'm on page 20 and I haven't revealed the central question (to use a scriptwriting term).
I like to reveal what the story is about very early on.
In How to Steal a Dog, the first sentence - the FIRST SENTENCE - is:
The day I decided to steal a dog is the same day my best friend, Luanne Godfrey, found out I lived in a car.
Problem #2: I don't know the ending.
This is not a problem for all children's book writers.
But it is a problem for me.
I'm not one of those writers who loves to just "see where the characters take me." In fact, I hate that. I want to know where I'm going. I don't mind not knowing exactly how I'm getting there, but I want to know where I'm going.
Longfellow said: Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
But, hey, what the heck does Longfellow know about anything....