So you may know that writer Lisa Bullard and I run a critique and coaching business for kids’ writers called Mentors for Rent. We critique a fair number of picture books, and we have a new Kindle e-book addressing the 10 most common problems we see in picture book manuscripts. Here are the issues we write about in Picture Books the Write Way. For each one, we share how to recognize the problem and, more importantly, how to fix it!
- Is it a short story instead?
- Does it lack a fresh take?
- Is it too long?
- Is it unfocused?
- Will young kids fail to relate?
- Is it too nostalgic?
- Is the point of view ineffective?
- Is it too quiet?
- Are there illustration issues?
- Is your meter imperfect?
My biggest struggle?is focus. My early drafts are often unfocused, with two or three different problems going on. And even in later drafts, trying to make sure the exact problem that is set up is the one that is solved always takes a ton of pondering and playing for me. I’d love to hear what you most struggle with, whether it’s on this list or not… Oh, and I could share one of the chapters next week. So…which one would you most like to read?