Hello fellow Creatives! Welcome to Week One of our five-week Picture Book Challenge.
far as rules go, we’re keeping it simple:
count: 300-500 words.
only what the illustrator can’t illustrate. Allow room for their art (or yours
if you’re illustrating your own stories) to bloom too.
3. Be kid
friendly. Read on to consider what that might mean:
Ann Whitford Paul wrote a fantastic, hands-on guide to picture book writing that leads us
from the tiny seeds of story creation all the way to publication. It’s called Writing Picture Books, and it is truly so insightful. Truly, if you want more help
with brainstorming, structure, language, tying up loose ends, and prepping your
stuff for submissions, this book. This book, people.
into some characteristics of children that Paul suggests we keep
in mind while creating children’s books (she gives us twelve, but I’m only
paraphrasing/quoting from three here; I say again, get the book):
right over [a worm, but] children squat to watch it squirm. The world is a
wonder to children, but most adults have grown blasé about it. As a children’s
writer, you must tap back into the excitement of discovery.”
She offers multiple suggestions on how to do this. Don’t be afraid to look foolish. Make yourself small,
get on your hands and knees and pay attention to what you notice at that level.
Really pay attention to sights, sounds, smells, textures. Then, when you write,
put the things you notice, the recaptured wonder, into your words.
HAVE STRONG EMOTIONS
note that “…when you are young, everything matters; everything is serious.” So
while we, as adults, might be able to shrug off the fact that we dropped our
favorite ice cream on the ground and it’s gross now, all grimy with chunks of
gravel and dirt, a child might throw a tantrum.
care deeply. Tap into their strong emotions for your stories.”
LONG TO BE INDEPENDENT
books, we should strive to give [kids] examples of strong girls and boys who
find their own solutions to problems. Our books should empower children.”
us how annoying it can be when someone tells us how to do something, especially when they tell us over and over, and over and over, and over, even if they’re just trying to be
helpful. Kids feel this way too. They want to do things themselves. And they want to see themselves in our
stories, so let’s give them characters who are strong and brave and kind.
Capable, even when they make mistakes.
So, to write
kid friendly we need to cultivate wonder, tap into strong emotions, and create
strong characters who will empower our young readers to learn and be
No problem, right? Write.
This week, write 300 words. Text it out to a friend, scribble it on a napkin with permanent marker, journal it, spin it on the inside of a lid, turn it, tap-tap it up on your computer, whatever way helps you to get it out of your head and into the physical world. We can do this.
Go, write, win!
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