Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review of Writing Picture Books, by Ann Whitford Paul


Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication

By Ann Whitford Paul

Writer’s Digest Books

ISBN: 978-1-58297-556-6

Paperback, 248 pages, $16.99

Writing Reference

Author’s website: www.annwhitfordpaul.net


There are a large number of books out there on how to write children’s picture books. I’ve read most of them, and I have to admit this new book by Ann Whitford Paul is up there among the best.


Picture book writing requires a unique set of skills and it’s important for the writer to begin acquiring those skills even before creating that first manuscript. For this reason, the author stresses the importance of becoming a picture book scholar. Then, in an engaging, structured and straight-forward manner, she guides the reader from story conception to structuring to actual writing to what to do after the first draft is finished.


Hand by hand, she’ll walk you through specific techniques and exercises for picture book writers, covering areas such as keeping the story focused, making a dummy, creating memorable and consistent characters, plotting, and using rhyme, among others. In addition, she gives tips on researching the market and submitting to publishers. There are exercises at the end of each chapter to reinforce the ideas and help you identify problems and improve your manuscript. One of my favorite chapters is the one devoted to critique groups and critiquing. The author gives helpful guidelines to keep in mind before critiquing a story. This is a valuable book for both beginner and experienced writers. If you’re serious about learning the craft of picture book writing, you won’t regret adding this title to your reference shelf.

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