Writing Picture Books, Level One
Do you want to write picture books for children?
Maybe you have ideas you’d like to develop, or you have already written a book, but you aren’t sure what to do next. Writing for children offers special rewards. An author’s words can bring joy and comfort and inspire a child’s creativity, curiosity and imagination. And, of course, the writing must entertain and keep readers interested from start to finish.
In this class, we’ll learn about different types of picture books, including concept books, “slice of life” stories, fantasy, realistic stories, folktales, talking animals, and others. We’ll talk about how to shape an idea into a manuscript with “child appeal.” Using concrete examples from published books, we’ll work on techniques for plotting, character development, description, viewpoint, and pacing, Style and presentation are especially important, so we’ll discuss ways to give the manuscript a pleasing rhythm and “read-aloud” qualities, with a text that flows well and fits the picture book format. We’ll also discuss today’s markets: What are editors looking for? Why do they say “yes” to some manuscripts and reject others? Each class offers discussions and exercises designed to improve skills. Writers can read their work aloud for feedback in a positive and encouraging setting. It’s a place to learn and have fun in the process.
Instructor Victoria Sherrow is the award-winning author of more than 100 books for children and teens, which have been published by Harper, Macmillan, Scholastic, National Geographic, Golden Books, Henry Holt, and others. She has taught writing for more than 20 years, and one of her greatest joys is watching her students achieve their writing goals, including publication.
On the value of taking a class, Victoria says: “Writers in my workshops have talked about the benefits of taking a structured and supportive class. Some students continue taking classes long after they master the “basics” so they can keep improving their craft. Classes can inspire new ideas, keep people motivated, and push writers to finish their manuscripts. My students have developed manuscripts in class that won prizes in writing contests and–joy!–been sold to book and magazine publishers. One hard-working student just sold her second picture book manuscript, both of them to traditional publishers. It’s possible to learn and write on our own, but a good class and writing community can make a big, positive difference and help people reach their goals more quickly.”
“After taking classes with Victoria for five years, I have sold three picture books to three different publishers. Those books, along with many others, are a result of Victoria’s thoughtful editorial suggestions, my classmates’ support week after week, and revision, revision, revision. I highly recommend Victoria’s workshop—a cozy class where writers create children’s books together.”—Karlin Gray, author of NADIA: THE GIRL WHO COULDN’T SIT STILL (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and AN ORDINARY MOTH (Sleeping Bear Press)