Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Picture Books: Problem Resolution Tales

The plot structure for Problem Resolution stories has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning introduces the characters, setting and conflict. Most picture books have a third person point of view [he/she said] but first person [I said] also works. Sometimes dialog is used and sometimes authors choose an all narrative telling. Both work. In my book, Trouble in Troublesome Creek, I used dialog to help develop the individual personalities of the characters and to move the plot forward.

Rising action occurs when the character faces conflict. The Troublesome Creek kids found dead fish floating in their swimming hole. Yuck! That was no place for swimming. To make matters worse, no one knew what was killing the fish. By accident, they opened up a cave and decided to explore. Deep inside the cave, they dropped their flashlight and were swallowed by black. When the light worked again, they kids couldn’t remember the route out of the cave. Bats swarmed them. The way to build conflict is to create problems for the character. To keep the conflict high, create more problems. The conflict continues until the story reaches a climax, where the character confronts the problem.

The resolution comes quickly and suggests that the character has changed or solved the problem. The kids found strange rocks in the cave and later identified them as Minnie balls, Civil War lead bullets over 150 years old. The bullets were removed and the water in their swimming hole was safe for fish and swimmers. Problem solved.
This structure is the most popular in picture books.

Contest for young writers:
Gumbo Teen Magazine, a bimonthly print publication with a multicultural focus, accepts inquiries for submission by 13- to 19-year-olds on contemporary social, political and global issues of interest to teens, as well as news highlighting fashion, sports and entertainment.
Details at

Call for submissions for adult writers
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
CURRENT NEEDS: "Three general criteria are employed in
evaluating submissions: We look for strong writing, an
original and exciting plot, and professional craftsmanship.
We need hard-boiled stories as well as "cozies.
Details at

Check out more contests on my blog:

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