How to Write Children’s Picture Books: Place, Paraphernalia, and Plot (Part 4)

 

by Yvonne Blackwood

 

You have followed the first three steps (parts 1, 2, & 3) which were laid out in, my previous articles and now you are ready to put pen to paper. Or should I say, you are ready to let the keyboard sing! What else could you possible require?

 

 A place on one’s own

Writing is similar to any other occupation; you require the tools of the trade. A comfortable workspace to read and write is imperative. And yes, you’ll write on the fly at different places, but you need one key spot to relax, concentrate, and undertake the heavy-duty stuff.

 

Paraphernalia

In addition, you need a computer of course, a thesaurus, and a dictionary—okay, I know that you can easily access these documents on your computer, but having a paper copy is a good thing for a few reasons. (a) Having these books at your fingertips provides easy access so that you do not have to boot up your computer to check on a single word. (b) Microsoft does not know synonyms well and will sometimes give you an incorrect spelling of a word, or indicate that your spelling is incorrect when it is not. (c)When you need to find the perfect word, sometimes the computer will not provide it.

The other things you need are a printer and reams of paper. Trust me, no one writes a perfect book in one sitting, even a children’s book. You will be doing a lot of printing and checking, and rewriting. I suggest you write two manuscripts initially (more about this later).

 

Plot outline

The next move is to draft a plot of your story. Remember that every good story has a beginning—the point where you introduce your main character, Ronnie Rabbit, and grab the reader’s interest—a middle—the place where conflict builds up, and the end—the place where conflicts are resolved and you leave your readers wanting more. The plot does not have to be sophisticated; it is merely a guide to keep you on the straight-and-narrow! Since we do not usually think through everything logically, sometimes you’ll have to change parts of the story so that it makes sense.

When I began to write Nosey Charlie Comes To Town, I already had half of the plot worked out based on my original idea. The story was going to be about a family of squirrels living in a park in a city, and it was going to revolve around the fall season because I saw the crab apple trees laden with fruits in the fall. But what else would be it the story?

What would be the conflict? How would it be resolved? These details were initially unknown. This is where imagination took over and as the creative juices flowed and all kinds of ideas percolated in my head, I was able to complete the plot.

 

 

 

Guest post contributed by Yvonne Blackwood. Yvonne is an author, award-winning short story writer, columnist, world traveler, and retired banker. Her published children’s books include: Nosey Charlie Comes To Town, Nosey Charlie Goes To Court, and Nosey Charlie Chokes On A Wiener! Adult books include Into Africa A Personal Journey, Will That Be Cash or Cuffs? and Into Africa, the Return.

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