#24 - Writing a Picture Book

I have no idea how to write a picture book, but I want to write one so bad! I have some really great ideas - I think, anyway - but having the concept in my head and writing the words are something different entirely!

I took a class at last year's Storymaker's conference from Sharlee Glenn where I learned a LOT about picture books. I mean, I wasn't even in the right STATE before, let alone the right ballpark.

Now that I'm in the right state, though, I don't know where the CITY is, so I can still forget finding that ballpark! And even if I ever do somehow find the right park, will I find the right field, the right home base?

Here's one amazing thing Sharlee taught us last year - the pictures are the most important part of a picture book. Much as authors don't want to think so, it's true. The problem is, the words have to be written first. The words have to support the pictures, but the words have to come before the pictures are even there.

That's just one piece to a very complicated puzzle. I know the ideas I have for a couple of picture books could be amazing. I have the taste of those books on my tongue and they're SWEET! I just wish I could translate that into something someone else could sense.

I know I could write a picture book, but writing a GOOD picture book is another thing. Here's one example of a picture book I love: Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs.

Now, that is a picture book where the illustrations are gorgeous and the words support the pictures beautifully. It's very simply stated (I mean, seriously, there are roughly 3-7 words per page) and the pictures are what REALLY tell the story. Every time I read that book to my kids, I think, "GEE, this is the kind of picture book I want to write!" It's sooo hard, though.

Anyway, I guess this is just turning into a whine session, so I'm going to go have some cheese.

Happy writing to all, and to all a good night.


  1. Fun blog. I like the confessions. I'm proud of you for finishing NANO! Way to go!
    I know you're already part of other blogging groups, but you ought to join the LDS blog ring!! It's way fun...

  2. Writing a kid's book is surprisingly hard. Kevin and I have a few ideas. He'd, of course, do all the pictures (he's illustrated stuff before) and I'd do the writing. But it's so hard for me to tell a story in a concise way, y'know? I figured it would be pretty easy - I was totally wrong.

    Did you know it took Maurice Sendak ten years to write Where the Wild Things Are? I guess that makes me feel a little better about being stumped!


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