How to Write a Great Picture Book
You have a great idea for a picture book. That’s wonderful! Having a
great idea is a good start. Having some writing experience is a big
plus too. But writing a great picture book takes more than just having
a great idea and some writing experience. Writing a great picture book
requires work. If you’re serious about writing a great picture book, it
pays to do the following:
- Read a lot of current picture books. Believe me, picture books have changed since you were little. You have to familiarize yourself with the type, style and personality of picture books that children are reading today. Read as many picture books as you can that have been written in the past year or two.
- Do your research. Read different books on the ins and outs of writing a great picture book. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books by Harold Underdown is a great resource. There are also a lot of web sites and blogs with good information too, such as www.underdown.org, www.verlakay.com and www.taralazar.com.
- Attend writing conferences. Local and national children's writing conferences can be excellent resources for gaining much needed insights on how to improve your writing skills and understanding what makes a great a picture book great. Conferences are also great places to make contacts with other authors as well as editors and agents. You can find out about various conferences at www.scbwi.org/Regional-Events.aspx.
- Join a critique group. A critique group can give you objective advice on your stories. Once again, SCBWI is a good resource for finding out about local critique groups. Even if you’re not a member of SCBWI, the regional coordinator for your area would likely be happy to tell you about critique groups in your area (Visit www.scbwi.org).
- Write a lot. Don’t stop with one story. The more you write, the better your writing skills will become. Improve your writing skills even further by taking writing classes or attending writing workshops. Keep on writing.