Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well! Today I’m talking about how to write a children’s picture book.
Writing a picture book can be a lot of hard work, but if you put in the time, the end result will be worth it, and you’ll probably have a lot of fun along the way!
With this step-by-step guide, I will show you how to write a children’s picture book to delight and engage young readers. I’ll discuss important elements like plot, character development, and setting and give tips on creating a professional and polished manuscript. So get ready to start writing your very own children’s picture book!
Step 1 – The Idea
The first step in writing a children’s picture book is to come up with an idea. What is your story about? Is it a tale of friendship, adventure, or family? Grab a notebook and a pen and write any idea that comes to mind.
Step 2 – The Characters
Once you have an idea of the sort of story you want to write, you’ll need to start developing your characters. Who are the leading players in your story? What motivates them? What are their goals? A character in a picture book can be anyone or anything, really. You can let your imagination run wild. There are books with animal characters, people characters, and even doll and vehicle characters (does anyone remember the Dutchess of York’s Budgie, the Little Helicopter series of books?) List any character ideas that occur to you.
Step 3 – The Setting
When you have a strong sense of your characters, it’s time to start thinking about the setting. Where does your story take place? Is it in a magical kingdom, on a faraway planet, or in your own backyard? Your story’s location will help shape the events within it. Again, make a note of anything that jumps into your mind. There are no bad ideas – at least not at this early stage. Let yourself be creative.
Step 4 – The Plot
Next, it’s time to start plotting out the events. What happens in the beginning, middle, and end of your story? What challenges do your characters face along the way? What will get in the way and try to stop them from achieving their goals? Make a list of all the significant events in your story, and you’ll soon have a rough outline.
Step 5 – Illustrations
Once you have a handle on the plot and structure of your story, it’s time to start thinking about the illustrations. What kind of pictures will help to bring your story to life? Do you want to include detailed drawings or simple sketches? How many illustrations do you think your story will need? If you are thinking about self-publishing your picture book, you may need to acquire the services of an artist for your illustrations if you can’t draw them yourself – though this will probably be quite expensive. However, if you want to try traditional publishing, the publisher will match your words with an artist’s images.
Step 6 – The Writing
Once your plans are in place, it’s time to start writing! Begin by fleshing out the scenes and events that you brainstormed earlier. Next, flesh out any dialogue and action taking place in each scene. As you’re writing, it’s a good idea to keep the age group of your intended audience in mind. Are they likely to understand complex concepts or vocabulary? A bit of research will stand you in good stead before you actually write your story because by looking at others’ books, you’ll be able to see the language typically used for different age groups.
Once you have your finished first draft, put it away in a drawer or on a shelf for a little while to get a little distance and look at your work objectively.
Step 7 – The Edit
When you feel you’ve stepped away from your story long enough, it’s time to revise and edit. First, read your story aloud to check that it flows the way you want it to – especially if it’s a rhyming story. Are any parts of the story confusing or unclear? Is the pacing too slow or too fast? Does the ending feel satisfying?
Make whatever changes you need to create a polished, finished product.
Now that you’ve written your children’s picture book, it’s time to find an agent or a publisher (unless you’re self-publishing)!
Remember, your manuscript should be presented to your prospective agent in the format and style they like, so it is advisable to check the submission guidelines on their website.
Generally speaking, most literary agents will ask you to submit your work in double-line spaced text no larger than 12pt and in an easily readable font such as Courier or Times New Roman, but it’s always best to check. It’s also helpful to put your name and the title of your book in the top right header of the page so that an agent can quickly look up and identify the author.
Check out this list of agents who handle children’s books if you want somewhere to start.
Julia Churchill – A.M.Heath Agency
Alice Williams – Allice Williams Literary Agency
Some Copeland – RCW Literary Agency
Hopefully, you can see your dream of becoming a published children’s author coming true – all it takes is some effort and perseverance!
Do you have a tip for writing a children’s picture book that you’d like to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! I hope this guide helped get you started in writing your own children’s picture book. Happy writing!
Thanks so much for reading! As always, I really do appreciate it.
Until next time,
© 2022 GLT
Categories: Creative Writing, Outlines, Writing Tips
About children’s picture books, they come in all shapes and sizes, and can be enjoyed by anyone. Whether its for a special occasion or just for fun, a picture book is a great way to spend some time together thanks for sharing with us.
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I agree, Shelley! I have great memories of reading at bedtime with my parents. It’s one of the first ways we get to learn about things.