Friday, May 1, 2009

Picture Book Writing Tips

Well, one down and only six to go.

I've drafted my first picture book in the challenge. Now to my housework.

I'm far from an expert, but I like to browse the internet, read articles and books and find out all I can about the craft of writing.

Here are a few tips on writing picture books to help us all in the challenge:

Don't Focus on how your main character looks. Leave that to the illustrator, unless it is integral to the story.

Leave the illustrator space to create the pictures. ( This is hard for me. I want to put in all the colorful and fun descriptions. We need to leave that up to the illustrator. Don't write anything that doesn't need to be written).

Pick your character's name well.

Use the following to help your story:

Onomatopoeia (sound words)


Rhyme (But, if you use rhyme,it has to be perfect!)


Examples of sound words:

Baa Baa, Bam, Bang, Beep, Boing, Boom, Bubble, Buzz, Burp, Babble
Cheep, Crash, Click, Clatter, Cluck, Chirp, Crackle, Clang, Crunch, Cuckoo
Ding, Dong
Fizz, Flutter
Gurgle, Gobble, Gargle, grr
Hiss, Honk
Moo, Meow
Oink, Ouch!
Plunk, patter, poof! plop, pop! pow, plunk, purr,
Ratatattat, rattle, rumble, ribbit
Screech, sizzle, sniff, snort, splatter, splash, squish, snap, swoosh, sputter, splat
Thump, tick-tock, tweet, twitter, tinkle
Whack, whizz, woof, wham! whir,
Yelp, yowl
Zoom, zing

Run the list off and add more words of your own.

I have a fabric covered bulletin board where I slip tips and story ideas, calls for submissions, and such behind the criss crossed ribbons. It sits by my computer for easy reference.

While writing your stories, you can post writing tips, examples of sound words, etc. on the board to help your creative juices flow.


  1. Nice post, Janet! Great things to be reminded of. You've inspired me to write a post at some point on onomatopoeic words! Nice list. I know what the word means and love to use them, but I STILL had to look up the spelling in Webster's! I've written the basics for the first two pic books in the challenge. This is just for fun so I don't expect to finish 7 and I certainly don't expect them to be good! It's a brain stretcher that's for sure!

  2. Excellent tips! SCBWI has a new DVD out called the Master's Class in Writing Picture Books. I saw clips of it in NYC, and it looks great.

  3. I've never written a picture book, but I really enjoyed your post. Lots of good information!

  4. Many of your suggestions are great, too, because they can be applied to many types of writing. I esp like the idea of having ideas and submission requests visible on the bulletin board, always inspiring us to write on! Thanks for visiting my blog, I like what you have going on here.


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