Nancy's Books

Sunday, September 8, 2013


 This article is the third in the series, WRITING PICTURE BOOKS—SIMPLY DIFFICULT.

1.                      Numbered scenes. Most picture books are 32 pages, but only 28-29 pages are used for text. With double-page spreads, the story is told in 14-15 scenes. After writing your story, divide it into scenes (pieces of action). If you have fewer than 14, revise the manuscript. I number the scenes on the manuscript, but remove the numbers before submitting the story. With each page turn, make the reader wonder what will happen next.
2.                      Story problem. Fictional picture books come in all shapes and sizes and cover any topic relevant to a child. The character, usually a child or animal, has a problem and makes multiple attempts to solve the problem. In the end the character that is experiencing the problem needs to figure out the solution. The payoff is when the child/animal wins.
This article will be continued in next week’s blog.

Call for submissions for young writers:

River of Words Art and Poetry Contest. Open to children K-12th grade. US submissions deadline- December 1, 2013. International submission deadline- February 1, 2014. Nature has been the greatest source of inspiration for artists and poets since humans began drawing on the walls of caves and singing sagas. Yet despite its importance, environmental and arts education is marginalized in the United States. This sorry scenario is increasingly true in other countries as well. River of Words was founded to give new life to the teaching of art and poetry through watershed exploration. Our innovative Watershed Explorer Educator’s Guide brings together sketching and botany, nature journaling and poetry writing. Students who participate are encouraged to submit their work to our free international art and poetry contest, held annually since 1995 in conjunction with the Center of the Book in the Library of Congress.
Details at:
Call for submissions for adult writers:

A Fairy Tale Magazine. Each month, two works, a story or poem or some combination, will be chosen for publication. The winners will each receive a $25 gift certificate from a place like Amazon. The gift certificate will be through email only and will be in US dollars only.
Details at

Check out more contests on my blog:


  1. Picture books are so hard to write, yet so many people think they can do it. Most of them are not writers. Thanks for this series and for the calls for submission every post.

  2. Making a book dummy really helps because a writer can see the page turns and built tension/surprise that way. This also helps if you have difficulty thinking visually as most writers do when they are not the illustrators of their books. I'm definitely no illustrator.