Sunday, April 12, 2020

Writing Picture Books

This week I had a request to blog about writing picture books in rhyme and ideas for books. Here's my take on the subjects.
Think twice about writing in rhyme. Many books are released each year written in rhyme, but they are extremely difficult to write. Cringe-worthy rhyme occurs in many manuscripts, enough to make some editors leery of wanting to read another such piece. A business reason for editors not accepting stories written in rhyme is due to the translation factor. Rhyming words don’t translate well to other languages. A book must tell a good story and rhythm is more important than rhyme.

Not all ideas translate into marketable picture book stories. Sometimes, a topic (princess) has saturated the market. There are so many books on the subject and competition is so stiff, the idea simply can’t find a place. Don’t feel alone. Writers often juggle ideas that can’t grab a foothold. Maybe at some point you’ll figure out a way to make it work. If you can’t move on with another idea. Sometimes an idea works so well, the first draft falls into place and the revision runs smoothly. That happened to me with my first book, Once Upon a Dime. I heard coins dropping and said to my fuzzy-faced canines, “Listen, girls, the money tree is ripe and it’s dropping fruit.” I knew the idea would work. After playing with the words for about six weeks, and with feedback from a reader, I sent it to a publisher. In less than a month later, I had a contract.

In my next blog, I’ll continue with tips for writing picture books

Call for Submissions for Young Writers and Adult Writers:

YARN is an award-winning literary journal that publishes outstanding original short fiction, poetry, and essays for Young Adult readers, written by the writers you know and love, as well as fresh new voices...including teens.

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Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK. Check out her blog at


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