Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul

Today’s famous writer’s birthday: On July 10, 1905, Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson was born. Who? Maybe the name Carolyn Keene sounds more familiar. If you grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries, thank Mildred. She is known as the first Carolyn Keene, ghost name for the popular Nancy Drew series, created by Edward Stratemeyer.

picturebooksNow, on to this week’s featured book. I’ve selected Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books: A Hands’On Guide from Story Creation to Publication (Writer’s Digest books). 

A couple weeks ago, Ann was a guest blogger on my other blog, Donna’s Book Pub, and Ann was such a gracious guest, I want to spread the word about her wonderful book. Even if you aren’t interested in writing picture books, Ann’s book can help you become a better writer.

Her book is divided into six sections, with a “What’s Next” section at the end of each chapter:

Before You Write your Story covers research and understanding the essence of picture books.

Early Story Decisions – includes, along with other suggestions, ideas for building a frame for your story and creating compelling characters. 

Structure of Your Story- What to know about creating fabulous first lines, the three-act structure and holding your story together? This section has specific how-tos. 

Language of Your Story – The two “Ss” of strong writing in this section apply to all stories. Ann also covers the importance of word count in this section.

Tying Together Loose Story Ends – Creating great titles and using a dummy board to tell you story are covered in this section.

After Your Story is Done  – Ann gives ideas on researching the market and practical tips on selling your manuscript.

The above is just a brief summary of what’s in Ann’s book. There are many additional pieces of advice and tidbits of information as well as practical, hands-on exercises.


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Filed under Children's Books, Non-Fiction, Writing Advice

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