I was moving and grooving, learning about the craft of writing picture books. I faced obstacles, but I continued to grow just like a character in my stories. Then my growth kind of stalled and puttered and twittered and finally stopped.
What happened? Had I reached my peak and discovered I was hopelessly average? Why wasn't I getting better?
And then it hit me: I wasn't reading a writing book. I had Summer Break Brain Drain. It was time to get back to school, so I picked up Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul.
If your brain is on summer drugs too, here are favorite insights from other writing books:
You Can Write Children's Books by Tracey E. Dils
On reviewing your dummy book: "Is there enough action to illustrate on the spread you've chosen? Is there too much action to illustrate? Is there a variety of scenes or a variety of different actions of interest throughout the book? Does every page move the story forward, both in terms of the plot and in terms of the visual action?"
The Business of Writing for Children: An Award-Winning Author's Tips on Writing Children's Books and Publishing Them by Aaron Shepard
"For a picture book story, make sure you have enough "scenes" to provide variety in the illustrations. For a magazine story on the other hand, don't have as many, as space limits the number of scenes that can be illustrated. The number of scenes determines whether a story is best suited to a picture book or a magazine."
How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling
"To say that a girl has pigtails is obtrusive. To say that a girl's pigtails flew out behind her as she raced the street gives you a bonus...that same information plus action tells you more about your character. "
Picture Writing by Anastasia Suen
"Telling talks about the character. Showing lets readers see the character in action. When readers see their own picture, it makes the story part of the readers' experience. Readers are in the story too."
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books by Harold D. Underdown
"...not only children read children's books. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians ultimately make the decision of what their children will read..."
What are your favorite books for writing for children? You better share them in the comments, if you don't want to be an enabler of my brain drain.