The Best Way to Learn to Write a Picture Book (5 Major Techniques)

In this article, we briefly discuss the best way to learn to write a picture book.

What is The Best Way to Learn to Write a Picture Book

The following are five steps on what is the best way to learn how to write a picture book:

1. What Type of Story Are You Writing

Every picture book, even without words, has a central theme. Here are the things to look for when trying to come up with the theme:

Is this a…

  • Concept book?
  • Travel book?
  • Comparison book?

Is this story about the conflict with...

  • Itself?
  • Nature?
  • The others in the story?

Read 3-5 newly published picture books and find their theme. Then, compare the ones with similar themes to your story idea and read the ones on the best-seller list.

Knowing the type of book, you are writing versus a proven-to-be-successful published book will give you an idea of ​​how to tell a story in a picture book.

2. What is the Character Arc (The Inner Journey)

Here are some questions to ask about the characters in your story:

  • How does your character change across the story?
  • Does the main character ultimately solve the problem?

Even if the manuscript is only 500 words, your character needs to make a change in some way. Whether it's just getting better at sharing or realizing that one bad experience doesn't necessarily equate to a bad day.

Read three to five recently released picture books and study the main characters. Observe how these characters change across the story.

3. Common Writing Techniques

The following are a few of the most common writing techniques in picture books:

  • Do they use the rule of 3 or 7?
  • Is there a repetitive phrase? Is it used as a page flip?
  • Is the ending happy or at least hopeful?

Your story will be most compelling if you can find catchy or creative ways to apply the rules listed above or any other common writing techniques.

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4. The Rhythm of the Story

Picture books tend to have a rhythm that is more or less easy to identify.

Here are some basic rhythm techniques to look out for:

  • Does the story use rhyme? Is it blatant or subtle?
  • When you read, is there a specific beat or rhythm in the choice of words?
  • Are there similar-sounding words used to add rhythm?

You can improve your manuscripts by studying how published authors use these techniques in their illustrated books. For example, I enjoy listening to sounds like "clink, clank, clunk."

Take 3-5 recently released picture books, and examine how rhythm is used in each.

5. Choice of specific words or phrases-

Your picture book manuscript will be MUCH more enjoyable to read if you use some effective phrasing.

For example, here are some writing techniques you can use in your writing:

  • Onomatopoeia
  • Simile
  • Metaphor
  • Personification

Check 3-5 recently released picture books to see if any of those mentioned above are present. Then reread your manuscript to see if you can incorporate any of them into your narrative.

It's time to put your newfound knowledge of what makes a successful children's picture book into practice!

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.

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