Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 8, 2018

ASK DIANNE

Q:  Last month, you gave some quick pointers on writing picture books in rhyme.  Do you have any specific classes, workshops, or other resources to recommend on learning more about the topic?

A: First, I recommend joining the Society of Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) if you’ve not already done so.  In addition to offering members tutorials on the craft of writing for young readers, and the chance to exchange work with others in your genre through its critique match up system, SCBWI sponsors conferences, workshops, boot camps and networking events nationwide.   For more information about membership in the premier organization for those creating books for kids of any age, go to https://www.scbwi.org/join-scbwi/.

Next, I’d recommend picking up a copy of Ann Whitford Paul’s excellent book, Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication (Writers Digest Books, 2009).

And speaking of Writers Digest Books, their annual Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market guide always includes great articles on how to write picture books as well as market them, so make it a yearly tradition to get a copy when first released.  (As a matter of fact, if you see an older edition in the bargain bin at the used book store or yard sale, grab it up, because while the publisher information may be outdated, those articles on the craft of writing for children won’t be.)  For more information about ALL the great books available from the folks at WDB, go to:  https://www.writersdigestshop.com/.

Once you’re on the Writers Digest website, you’ll see that they’re a good source of online courses, too. (For example, check out this one on Writing the Picture book: https://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/courses/writing-the-picture-book.)

But there are many other options for online coursework.  Look at Mira Reisberg’s The Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books,  http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/writing-childrens-picture-books.html;

Kidlit411’s course work on picture book creation,  http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/01/kidlit411-writing-courses.html is a good one, and their website offers a long list of recommended resources for picture book writers in this link, http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/01/picture-books.html.

The Institute of Children’s Literature offers podcasts, courses and other resources of use to anyone wanting to write a successful picture book manuscript.  Check it out at https://www.instituteforwriters.com/about/institute-of-childrens-literature/.

For motivation, inspiration, and a deadline to meet, you cannot beat Julie Hedland’s 12×12 Challenge, in which you are challenged to write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months.  You also have access to a boatload of resources from a star-spangled support team: http://12x12challenge.com/.

Membership in Rate Your Story allows picture book writers to get expert feedback in the form or a 1-to-10 rating and brief editorial notes on monthly submissions to the judging panel of published authors.  For more information, go to   https://www.rateyourstory.org/.

This should help you get started on your quest to learn more about writing picture books.  If readers out there know a resource I’ve missed, please let me know?

Happy Writing! Dianne

DIANNE’S BIO:

Dianne Ochiltree is a nationally recognized author of books for the very young. Her books have appeared on numerous recommended reading lists, classroom desks and library shelves. Her bedtime book, LULL-A-BYE, LITTLE ONE, was a selected for the Dollywood Foundation’s childhood literacy initiative, Imagination Library in 2007. Her picture book, MOLLY BY GOLLY! THE LEGEND OF MOLLY WILLIAMS AMERICA’S FIRST FEMALE FIREFIGHTER, received the Florida Book Awards (FBA) Bronze Medal in the Children’s Literature category in 2012 and was chosen for the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer list of feminist literature for girls. Her picture book, IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT, won the FBA Silver Medal in 2013. Her 2015 title, IT’S A SEASHELL DAY, was given the FBA Gold Medal/Gwen Reichert Award as well as the Gold Medal for Florida picture book from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. For more information about Dianne’s books, go to http://www.dianneochiltree.com.

Dianne, thanks for sharing your expertise with us. Another great article.

REMEMBER: To send in your questions for Dianne. Use Kathy(dot)Temean(at)gmail.com. Please put ASK DIANNE in the subject box.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Another great resource is Children’s Book Insider.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely fanTAStic list, Dianne! Thank you 😀 And here are a few other books I’d recommend:

    Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Ilustrate Children’s Books….. by Uri Shulevitz

    How to Write, Illustrate, and Design Children’s Books….. by Frieda Gates (I met and
    spoke with her several times, once at a conference through SCBWI)

    How to Write & Illustrate Children’s Books and Get Them Published…. By Treld / Pelkey

    Writing for Children….. by Catherine Woolley

    Illustrating Children’s Books: Creating Pictures for Publication by Martin Salisbury

    Like

  3. Ann Whitford Paul has an updated edition coming out soon – later this year, I think (hope!). From the blog at http://picturebookbuilders.com/2017/11/three-questions-for-author-ann-whitford-paul-plus-giveaway/, it will include “new chapters on Page Turns, the Publishing Business, Self-Publishing, finding an agent and an additional Plotting chapter.”

    Like


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