The Three Commandments Of Picture Book Writing For Children’s Books

Many novices think that writing picture books is easy, but it takes a lot of talent to condense a story into a few sentences. Consider these suggestions before you begin if you’ve always wanted to write a children’s picture book:

Keeping things simple is the best way to go about it. Your picture book’s plot should be able to be summed up in three lines or less. The broad strokes, of course, but not every detail. Your main character and the challenge he’ll encounter in the narrative should be named in the first sentence, followed by a description of his efforts to solve it in the middle, and ultimately the conclusion (how he finally resolves the conflict and reaches his goal). If you can’t sum up your story in three phrases, it’s generally too complicated for a children’s book.

In this section, you’re focusing on the story’s storyline, not its subject (the underlying message). When summarizing your narrative, don’t get bogged down in defining the subject. At this point, it shouldn’t matter what the topic is. Writing a tale with an overarching lesson in mind will help your writing stand out from the crowd.

  1. Think in terms of images. The images are just as essential as the text in “picture books,” as the name implies. There are 32 pages in the average picture book, including four pages of front matter (title page, copyright page, etc.) Text and illustrations fill 28 pages. If your narrative has 1000 words (the typical length of a picture book text), you should expect 36 words every page if you strive for it (some pages will have more words, some less, depending on the pacing of your story).

In the early stages of writing your novel, you don’t want to concentrate over word counts, but remember that every page of your book should inspire a distinct artwork. Calculate the size of the text block that is 36 words in length from your manuscript. A typical image has a maximum word count of roughly a hundred and fifty characters. Next, your characters have to move around or change locations for the illustrator to have a new image to create of them to draw.

2. Using images to describe the character’s predicament and her solutions is one method of visual thinking. Memorizing facts for school takes place entirely in the mind of your character. Nevertheless, if she’s ashamed because she can’t swim, then her efforts to learn are clearly seen in her tries. A two-page spread refers to an illustration that takes up the whole width of both pages. In this situation, you’ll have roughly 70 words to work with. Since single-page pictures and two-page spreads are common in picture books, it’s important to maintain a steady flow of action.

  1. Maintain a childish perspective. It doesn’t matter if the protagonists of picture books are children, adults, animals, or imaginary figures. As a result, all the primary characters must have the mentality of a four- to eight-year-old. This means that the challenge your characters encounter must be relevant and important to your intended audience. This problem must be approached in a way that a youngster would approach it. Don’t write a story with an adult protagonist solely to force your point of view on your audience. Emotional, irrational and often chaotic coping mechanisms used by grown-up characters may be a great narrative tool. Finally, the character must come up with a solution that is understandable to youngsters. As long as people can identify with the main character, they will grasp the story’s central message.