Eric Carle: “Let’s put it this way: if you are a novelist, I think you start out with a 20 word idea, and you work at it and you wind up with a 200,000 word novel. We, picture-book people, or at least I, start out with 200,000 words and I reduce it to 20.” (source)
Writing picture books is an art form unto itself. The process differs from all other kinds of writing, just as writing short stories requires different skills than writing a novel. The shortness of children’s books, the cadence and flow of the words, seem deceptively simple to create. Talented picture-book authors make it look so easy. Yet the moment we try to write a children’s book of our own, we discover a painful truth: writing picture books is actually pretty hard.
It’s a challenge to create a compelling story in such a limited amount of space. Even once we master conciseness, we still have to keep in mind the rhythm and music of the words. We have to learn to write a story that works together with pictures to make the book complete. All these skills require us to retrain our brains when we’re coming from other forms of writing or even if we’ve never written anything before.
So if you’re like and wanting to learn how to write good picture books, here’s a class you may be interested in.
Write2Ignite Picture Book Master Class:
Write2Ignite is hosting a virtual master class on April 24th, 2021. Laura Sassi, a published children’s author, will teach three workshops throughout the day. These workshops include how to write rhyming picture books, how to use the picture book format to maximize the impact of your story, and how to use different story structures to expand your skills. If you’re interested in the Master Class, you may want to register by March 1st. By registering early, you’ll receive $10 off your registration fee.
Also, if you’re interested in learning more about Laura Sassi, I recommend checking out Carol Baldwin’s interview with her, which can be found here.
Here’s a sneak peek from the interview where Laura discusses her enjoyment of rhyme in children’s stories. (Published with permission from Write2Ignite).
Interview Sneak Peek: Why Rhyme?
LAURA: “I’ve always loved the sound of words and making meaningful patterns with those sounds using rhythm and rhyme. This might be because I spent my childhood years in France where even the simplest sentence possesses a poetic quality. Or, it could be because I’m still a kid at heart who loves word play. Another reason, though, is that I know from experience that children, and especially our littlest ones, are drawn to rhyme and it makes stories extra connective for them.
A word of caution though for my fellow rhymers. Having a natural ear for rhythm and rhyme and being willing to revise until it’s perfect is vital to writing in rhyme because there’s nothing that will get a manuscript tossed into the “reject” pile faster than a story with poor rhythm and rhyme.”
One Final Note:
I’ve attended several Write2Ignite conferences in the past and have always enjoyed them. The conference is a great organization, full of people passionate about children’s books. As a guest writer for the blog, I can tell you everyone on the Write2Ignite team is dedicated to helping writers grow. If you’d like to learn to how write picture books, I highly recommend checking out this opportunity.