Do you want to write a picture book for these reasons?
1.They look easy to write.
2.They’re short.
3.You’ve read several that you just know you could do a better job.
4.You figure you can start writing these little books, then go on to some real writing.

If you answered yes to any of these, then please don’t write that book! They are not easy to write, in fact I find them difficult because they are so strictly structured. Yes, they are usually short, but every word is ultra-important, and how it fits with other words in the sentence, and how each sentence fits into the story can’t be overlooked. In addition, so many writers write picture books for those same wrong reasons that the market is flooded with submissions, making it harder to break into print.

However, if you are willing to study some of the fine books that are available on structure of picture books, and work hard at the craft, and you just know you have a story that will delight children, go for it! The world can always use another great picture book.

Shirley Shibley


4 responses to “Stop!

  1. This is so true, Shirley! What a great challenge! -Nancy

  2. Great post, Shirley. I cannot count the many people who, when they discover I’m a writer, say they have “always wanted to write picture books,” using the same exact reasons you stated! Most will not believe there could be a 3-volume set of books (Eve Heidi Bine-Stock’s, of course) describing how to do this. What could there possibly be to learn about writing so few words?? Let’s hope all would-be picture book writers heed your excellent advice! Marge

  3. Gloria McQueen Stockstill

    Shirley, I agree. Picture books are very challenging. Funny how newbies think they will be a breeze to write.

  4. marilyn donahue

    Excellent advice, Shirley! Thanks for an insightful post. I am a great admirer of picture books and enjoy turning those colorful pages. Now I need to sit down and analyze the words that support the pictures. Or is it the other way around?


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