10 Tips on Writing Picture Books

10. Beware of dialogue-heavy picture book manuscripts. 9. The only beef editors and agents have against rhyming picture books is that they’re so often poorly written. 8. Manuscripts need to be more perfect than ever before they’re ready for submission. Jean Reidy is a freelance writer and children's author. Her first children's book, Too Purpley! comes out in Jan. 2010 (Bloomsbury) and will be followed by Too Pickley! and two other books.
Author:
Publish date:

And now: a great guest column from picture book writer Jean Reidy, and her thoughts on the Top 10 Picture Book Takeaways from the Rocky Mountain SCBWI Conference. The panel she's writing about was led by kids book editor Allyn Johnston and kids book illustrator Marla Frazee.

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title

Jean Reidy is a freelance writer and
children's author. Her first children's
book,
Too Purpley! comes out in Jan.
2010 (Bloomsbury) and will be followed
by Too Pickley! and two other books.


10. Beware of dialogue-heavy picture book manuscripts.

9. The only beef editors and agents have against rhyming picture books is that they're so often poorly written.

8. Manuscripts need to be more perfect than ever before they're ready for submission.

7. While marketing yourself is certainly important, a writer's most important job is to make his/her book amazing.

6. Perfect picture books are like a dance between text and illustrations.

5. Adding just one word - the perfect word - to a picture book text, can carry layers of emotion like wistfulness, uncertainty or imperfection.

4. Picture book pacing is a combination of text on the page, text-free pages, punctuation, page turns, timing and breathing.

3. Even humorous picture books carry an emotional truth and strike an emotional and harmonic chord at the end.

2. Picture book endings should disarm us. They must have a touch of mystery, a touch of magic, and space for the reader to fill in the ending or ponder it.

1. If you ever have a chance to see Allyn Johnston and Marla Frazee present together, don't miss it. You'll leave with inspiration (and laughter!) for a lifetime.

Image placeholder title

The quickest way to get an agent's attention
is a professional submission. That's why you need
Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript, 3rd. Ed.

It has dozens of query letter examples (novels,
nonfiction, short stories, kids books and more).


April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 11

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a prime number poem.

Stephanie Dray: On Writing Women's Legacies

Stephanie Dray: On Writing Women's Legacies

Bestselling and award-winning author Stephanie Dray shares how she selects the historical figures that she features in her novels and how she came to see the whole of her character's legacies.

From Script

Taking Note of the Structure of WandaVision and Breaking in Outside of Hollywood (From Script)

In this week’s round-up from ScriptMag.com, learn about the storytelling techniques used in the nine-part Disney+ series "WandaVision," outlining tips for writing a horror script, and breaking in outside of Hollywood as a writer and filmmaker.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 10

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a get blank poem.

take two 3 mistakes writers make in act i

Take Two: 3 Mistakes Writers Make in Act I

Without a solid foundation, our stories flounder. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares insights into the three mistakes writers make when creating the first act.

David Jackson Ambrose: On Balancing Magic and Practicality

David Jackson Ambrose: On Balancing Magic and Practicality

Novelist David Jackson Ambrose discusses the initial themes he wanted to explore in his latest novel, A Blind Eye, what the editing process was like, and how his books always surprise him in the end.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Knowing When to Shelve a Project

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Knowing When to Shelve a Project

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not knowing when to shelve a project.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 9

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a persona poem (for an inanimate object).

4 Tips for Writing Engaging Frenemies

4 Tips for Writing Engaging Frenemies

No matter what genre you write, if you're planning to write characters as frenemies, you'll need to know how to do it well. Bestselling romance author Lorraine Heath shares her top tips.