Thursday, May 5, 2011

How to write a Picture Book

So you have your plot ready to go. You know who you main character is and the events that will unfold leading the story to a conclusion. Now it's time to start writing the book. The most important thing to remember is that your story can always be better so keep working on it. You should have at least 20 drafts before it is ready for publishing. Show as many people as you can and get as much feedback as possible. Make sure you show an editor before publishing it.

Firstly you need to have an idea of the number of pages in your book. This gives you a good guide for how long your story should be. The most common quantity of pages for picture books is 32. The number of pages must be a multiple of four because of the way they are printed and bound. Bare in mind that all 32 pages will not be your story. Usually 8 pages are taken up by the book ends, title page and copy right page. So you should aim for 24 pages.

Your word count will be anywhere from 500-1200 words depending on the reading level. But make sure you know what this is before you start writing as the vocabulary and words should suit your target market. The more advanced the reader the more advanced the words can be.

With this in mind you should be able to figure out roughly how many words or sentences to write per page. This gives you a structure to work with. Obviously you can have different lengths on each page but it’s good to have a base.

With a picture book the illustrations and page turns have a major influence on how the story is told. Keep this in mind while writing and try to make the page breaks enhance the story. Have things reveal themselves from page to page. Use the sense of surprise and mystery as to what is on the next page.


Make sure the problem or aim is clearly stated in the first few pages.

Make sure the audience can tell who the protagonist is and that they routing for them.

Use the element of surprise to keep the audience interested.

Make sure everything in your story relates to the plot, goals and aim of the story. Don't lose track of what you’re writing about.

Good luck

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