Friday, September 6, 2013

Resources for Writing Better Picture Books

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the online writing conference, WriteOnCon 2013 and I decided to check out what it had to offer for picture book writers. There were these specific posts:

Does Your Picture Book Premise Have Promise? by author Jean Reidy

Making Picturebooks: A List of the Top 5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me… by author Lindsay Ward

Rhythm and Rhyme by author Debbie Diesen

There was also a forum where you could post your query, first 250 words and first 5 pages (in many cases this is the entire story) and get feedback from other writers. Reading through the forums gave me a sense of:

a) the kinds of stories other writers are working on and different ways to handle a concept or idea

b) examples of how to structure a picture book pitch or query letter and the kinds of things to watch out for

It was a great place to connect with other picture book writers.

I ended up making changes to strengthen two query letters, as well as changing the beginning of a manuscript to improve the opening, based on feedback from other writers. So I felt like it was a worthwhile experience, considering I didn't have to go anywhere to attend.

The key to having a good experience with this online conference was to plan on learning as much as possible and to make an effort to connect with other writers. I appreciated the chance to really think about why some stories worked and made me laugh, and why others seemed flat and in need of more work.

What resources have you explored lately that are helping to improve your picture book writing?


  1. Very cool links~ thanks! I tried writing picture books early on, but gave up. Maybe I'll give them a try sometime. By the way, I got to meet Jean Reidy in person with my little ones, and she's soooooo nice :)

    1. Jess, that's just like me! I gave up on writing picture books for a long time, but since I teach kindergarten now, I get lots of ideas about picture books so thought I'd go back to it. Most of the time I'm still writing middle grade though - it's hard, but not quite as hard as picture books!

  2. What a nice recap of WOC. I loved Jean Reidy's post too, I even printed it out. :)

  3. Thanks so much for posting those picture book info links, Andrea. I keep meaning to check out WOC but only find out about it too late every year. :-(


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