Picture Writing

Picture Writing – A new approach to writing for kids and teens

By Anastasia Suen

Published by Writer’s Digest Books in 2003

Picture Writing

About ten years ago I purchased my copy of Picture Writing – A new approach to writing for kids and teens. I assumed it would be primarily about picture books. But it is so much more!

Picture Writing is actually a self-paced course on writing in all three children’s genre (fiction, nonfiction, poetry)  for all six formats (board books, picture books, beginning readers, early chapter books, middle grade books, young adult books.)

Anastasia Suen is the author of 250 children’s books. She is also a writing instructor and developmental editor for children’s authors.

I must confess that I never finished the course. I was just too new and uninformed at that time to digest the mounds of information and practice the skills. I did read and re-read the first few sections. As I scan through the material now (ten years later) I see that I highlighted some great insights from Suen.

I should have kept on reading ten years ago! 

Suen also uses memorable metaphors for the writing process. In other words, she uses “picture teaching” throughout the course.

I give Suen and Picture Writing five highlighters. MARKER_1 MARKER_1 MARKER_1 MARKER_1 MARKER_1

The book is written in six parts plus very useful appendixes and an index.

She offers two plans and time tables for using the book as a writing course.

Part I explains “What Is Picture Writing?” It’s acknowledging that writing is a creative process. It’s allowing stillness and thoughtfulness to be a major part of the writing process. It’s allowing both sides of my brain to do their work in the creative process.

Part II “Plot” teaches about the process of plotting in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

Part III “Character” follows that same design for the process of creating characters.

Part IV “Setting” does the same for the process of developing settings.

Part V “Putting It All Together” teaches us how to shape our fiction manuscripts, then nonfiction manuscripts, and then our poetry manuscripts.

Part VI “Look Again” details what happens after we submit our manuscripts with editors, marketing, revisions and more.

About five years ago I blogged about this book. Suen contacted me and said she was working on a revision. As of this date I haven’t seen one, but I hope it is forthcoming.

I’ll definitely buy it and try again.



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