Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Let’s Talk Picture Books, Part 3

In picture books a compelling story must be told in 32 pages. If you read a few or a lot of these books, the task of writing one seems easy, but don’t let their simplicity deceive you. Picture books can be tricky to write. In a short span, you must to develop a character and situation and write the story in such a way that the reader will embrace it. 

Language and imagery work in unison to create a story. Some books are written in verse. There’s not an ounce of rhyming ability in my DNA so I don’t attempt it. Also, many editors don’t request rhyme because it is so difficult to carry over the entire story. If you are excellent at writing in verse, remember to think story first, verse second.
Many editors do not like stories written in verse because some writers may be tempted to choose a particular word that fits the rhyme rather than promoting the plot. When this happens the story loses momentum, sometimes takes a detour, and the dramatic core is sabotaged for the sake of the rhyme. Stories should unfold organically not forced in order to get two words to rhyme. Many common rhyme schemes have been overused: he/she/be/tree/me. If the child can guess the next word, that may take away the element of surprise and be less engaging for the audience.
When writing or marketing your first picture book, stick to prose. If you’ve written several picture books in prose and decide to write one in verse, experiment with the story. After you’ve written the rhyme version, write another in prose for comparison. Which works better?
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
Hanging Loose Press welcomes high school submissions. "We feel a special responsibility to those young writers who look to us not only for possible publication but sometimes also for editorial advice, which we are always happy to give when asked. Our work as editors is of course time-consuming, but we feel a strong commitment to give as much time and attention as possible to the work we receive from high school age writers."
Submission guidelines at
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
BABBLE. Indicate in the subject line of your email what section of Babble your piece would run: Mom, Pregnancy, Baby, Toddler, Kid, Body + Mind, Work + Money, Home, Relationships, Entertainment, Beauty, Food, or Travel. Pays roughly ten cents/word for articles up to 1,200 words.
Submission guidelines at

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