We took a trip to Parkersburg last week and I went in Borders. I checked out with this book.
I love it! Here are pictures of the table of contents. Click on the pictures and you will be able to read it.
There are quotes throughout the book, the one in the prologue reads:
I love revisions. Where else in life can spilled milk be transformed into ice cream?
My son wonders why I keep revising my stories. He thinks the first draft should be the final draft. But completing the draft is only the beginning of the writing process.
I am still reading this book and I have learned a lot from it. I am using her advice and going over my picture books I have already written and revising them yet again.
She mentions the 6 Ws:
Who is your main character? The main character must come on the scene first.
What does your character want? What is the main character's problem, goal or conflict?
When is your story taking place? Give hints indicative of the time period.
Where is your story taking place? City, country, suburbs, farm, etc.
What is the tone of your story? By careful selection of words, you let them know if it is going to be sad, happy, serious, etc
WOW! Whether it be with a word or a phrase, early in the book you must hook the reader
As you can see by the table of contents above, the book covers a lot of territory. Some people think writing a picture book is easy, but it is far from it. You have to pick the right story and the right words.
Every word only has to be perfect ---- Ursula Nordstrom
The book has a section on Rhyming Books. Children love poetry, but publishers want the rhythm and rhyme to be perfect. Every word must move your story forward and the rhyme pattern must be consistent. Unless you are very good, this is hard to do and the editors will be sending your manuscript into the slush pile never to be seen again.
The first line of a poem is a hawk which won't let go of its prey. ---Gabriel Preil
If you love writing picture books, create a fabulous first line and start writing.
If you are serious about writing picture books, I recommend this Hands-On-Guide.