Childish Nonsense

Exploring Children's Literature

Picture Books Everywhere!

on March 6, 2015

Library booksFor the past year or so, I have concentrated a lot of my writerly energy on picture books. I knew when I immersed myself in this that writing picture books was not easy. You must have exactly the right words in exactly the right order to get and hold the attention of creatures who are fascinated by everything, if only momentarily. (“Squirrel!”)

I also knew that picture books are quite different from any other genre. Parsimony becomes not only a passion, but an obsession. Adverbs are more than discouraged. They’re practically verboten. Everything is possible in a picture book.

So, you struggle and revise and try to get it right. Ideas hit you in the shower. (Maybe we need a note pad in the shower.) Fixes hit you while you’re driving. (No, scribbling on a manuscript in heavy traffic is NOT a good idea.)

You participate in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) and in Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 (twelve picture book drafts in twelve months) and in Meg Miller’s ReViMo (Revision Month). Should you stop there? Absolutely not.

Read. Read. Read. Educate yourself on what’s out there and the various ways those few hundred words can be put together. Not to mention the ways the illustrations help and enhance the story. (Picture books require a strong partnership.) Read aloud. Read to small children. Just read.

So this month, I’m participating in Carrie Charley Brown’s ReFoReMo (Read for Research Month). And it’s been a delight. The guest blogger’s are full of helpful advice and are a wealth of recommendations of good books to read. (Ever gone to the library and said, ”I’ll pick out a few books to look at”? A list is an excellent idea.)

As my list grows, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the library. (I love the library. In true nerdy fashion, that was one of my favorite places to hang out in high school. And I can tell you where the rare books and Chinese language texts are (or were) at the University of Iowa.) I’ve been taking notes and getting some great ideas on how to change the approach in some of my manuscripts.

Plus, I now know how to train a train and why a wooly mammoth makes a great pet.  Very useful information.

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One response to “Picture Books Everywhere!

  1. I am so happy to hear that ReFoReMo is having a positive impact on you, Sue! Thanks for the mention! 🙂

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