Our Thoughts


October 05, 2015

3 Elements To Make Sure Are In Your Picture Book

After however many drafts you may now know that writing picture books isn't as easy as it seems. There are many reasons why writing picture books is hard: you have to get the tone and voice just right for the intended audience; the dialogue can sometimes feel clunky because you are working with a limited word count; and you want to make sure there's a lesson but do so in a way that doesn't feel instructive.

But to make your picture books stand out even more, here are three elements you want to make sure are easy to see within the work.

1) Focus is on the child and not the adult
A lot of times what happens is that the story becomes more about the adult's transformation than the child's. Check to see if by the end of your picture book you're seeing more of a change within the adult characters than the child characters, or if the story is being told from the adult character's point of view. If either of the aforementioned is happening, you may want to go in and change the perspective of the story.

2) Room for the artist
If you are writing without an illustrator, make sure you aren't writing out absolutely every detail. Why? Because when you do it makes pairing art with the text hard to do. Sometimes we give too much detail and don't leave enough for the artist's imagination to show what the words don't tell.

3) Quirk Factor / Voice
More now than ever picture books are getting quirkier. Think about When The Crayons Quit or Dragons Love Tacos. What needs to be within the pages is something worth remembering; that stands out and makes the reader curious to read more. Even the titles of the aforementioned books peak curiosity.

The above three elements will hopefully help you as you get ready to send your work off to an agent or publisher.

What other elements do you think should be in a picture book. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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