Many thanks to author Linda Ashman for permission to “borrow” this page from her website. Linda is the author of more than thirty-five delightful picture books and the creator of The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books. Her books have been included on the “best of the year” lists of The New York Times, Parenting and Child magazines, the New York Public Library, Bank Street College of Education, and the International Reading Association. She leads writing workshops and gives presentations about writing and children’s books at conferences and schools.
Thanks for the great advice, Linda!
- Join SCBWI. And find out what’s happening with your local chapter.
- Read craft books. You might start with (ahem) The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books and Ann Paul’s Writing Picture Books.
- Read picture books—lots of them. You’ll find recommendations at our group blog, PictureBookBuilders, and many more in The Nuts and Bolts Guide.
- Read children’s poetry. Notice the sound, the rhythm, and the way a story can be told or a world created with very few well-chosen words.
- Write. Obvious, I know, but somehow it’s easy to let other things take precedence.
- Revise, revise, revise. Think you’re done? Revise some more.
- Make a dummy or storyboard. Nothing better demonstrates the unique structure of a picture book or shows more clearly if your text is working in this format.
- Think visually. Imagine your story as a movie, and leave out anything that doesn’t move the action forward.
- Cultivate patience—with your writing (don’t rush!) and with the publishing industry (nothing happens quickly).
- Hang in there. Rejection is part of the business. It’s good to have a supportive critique group and/or at least one sympathetic friend.