March 15, 2017

Three Tips to Help Your Picture Book Come to Life

Illustrator Alison Lyne has amazing advice for picture book writers. 

Add in Action Words

One of the first things I look for, when I'm reading a PB manuscript is “action” words.  I look to see just what the main character is actually doing....even if I don't know what that character actually looks like...yet. Based on those action words, I begin to  sketch out  that character. This sheet is a sample of my process for Little Things Aren't Little When You're Little.


Leave a bit of Space in your PB Writing


One of the second things I look at in a manuscript is points in the story that I can add in my “take” on a story. In Petite Rouge, A Cajun Twist to an Old Tale, (a Little Red Riding Hood tale with a swamp instead of a woods and a gator instead of a wolf) I found a bit of “room” in story to inject my reasoning why a little girl wouldn't recognize that her grandma was a monster. My solution was the gator had bounced the near-sighted little girl's red glasses right off her nose. Petite Rouge just couldn't SEE the monster.


Check the Flow of your Story

Finally, I look at how the story flows. I do that with a book chart of the pages that are in a 32 page picture book. When you flip thru a picture book, you always have a two page spread open in front of you, at any given time. Those pages are shown linked together. Stagger your emphasis to encourage your reader to “turn that page”.

Try these three tips to help you visualize how your picture book story will come to life.



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