Picture Book resources and tips

Tips and resources, from my “How to Write a Picture Book” presentation at the 2019 Toronto Writing Workshop.

Read lots and lots of picture books. Read them with a critical eye. Note the page turns, the places where room was left for the illustrator, diversity, character arc. The first line that hooks you in. The funny twist at the end. How many words. How few words.

Thumbnail template by author and illustrator Debbie Ohi:
http://inkygirl.com/inkygirl-main/2015/11/4/free-picture-book-thumbnail-templates-for-writers-and-illust.html

Author Tara Lazar has this great post showing all the pages of a picture book:
https://taralazar.com/2009/02/22/picture-book-construction-know-your-layout/

The Toronto Public Library offers a great service, called Asquith, to help you self-publish:
https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/using-the-library/computer-services/book-printing-service/

How many pages should my picture book be? (Post by agent Jennifer Laughran):
http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wordcount-dracula.html

Kate Messner’s blog post (Writing in Rhyme is a lot trickier than you might think):
https://www.katemessner.com/writing-in-rhyme-is-a-lot-trickier-than-you-might-think/
This post includes her wonderful examples (used with permission):

The Overly Simplistic Rhyme:
I like to write in rhyme.
I do it all the time.
 
The Not-Really-a-Rhyme-Rhyme:
If you like to read rhymes
You should read some of mine.
 
The Weirdly Forced Rhyme: 
When you write in rhyme, you must count each syllables
That’s laying good groundwork, like soil that’s tillable.

21 great opening lines:
https://www.weareteachers.com/21-of-the-best-opening-lines-in-childrens-books/

More about opening lines and how they’re used:
https://www.instituteforwriters.com/picture-books-first-lines.aspx

And even MORE about opening lines:
http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/shelftalker/?p=19551

Picture Book revision tips by @GoGirlsGoBooks on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/GoGirlsGoBooks/status/1145170297965961217

Conferences: Ontario Library Association, CANSCAIP’s PYI, SCWBI

Johnell Dewitt’s excellent blog post about illustrator notes:
https://johnelldewitt.com/2017/03/31/illustration-notes-to-include-or-not-to-include/

Do you need a website, and if so, what should be on it? By Jennifer Laughran:
https://www.jenniferlaughran.com/faq/do-i-need-a-website-and-if-so-what-should-be-on-it?fbclid=IwAR1ziUHcfcEwNCG6SWdLEqJCoBEE8m4xRGBq7Jn5X5tH0TIM5TMHpe-hBbI

BuzzFeed published this simple guide to creating a picture book:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/macbarnett/how-to-write-a-picture-book-i066

Six steps to make your children’s story sparkle, by Laura Backes.
https://www.writing-world.com/children/backes1.shtml

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