Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers- How to write

illustration by Julie Olson

Here are a few tips from Sharlee Glenn about writing picture books...

1. Choose a suitable shape for your story. Is it circular (start and then end at about the same place)? Is it linear? Is it an arc? Think visually.

2. Use ACTIVE not PASSIVE voice. 

3. Use Concrete Language. Circle all your adjectives and adverbs and decide if they are really needed or if the sentence could be written any differently? Make each word count.

4. Omit Unnecessary Words. Take out take out take out...anything that is absolutely not pushing the story or plot forward.

5. Voice. Distinctive voice from author and from character.

What to write?

  • write memories from childhood honestly & truthfully
  • write down how you felt, thought, and acted as a child
  • write things that you would never tell anyone
  • write the story that is in YOU
  • read a lot
  • pay attention
  • write a lot

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I didn't get to go to this one, so THANK YOU for the notes! Great information! (And congratulations on your new picture book contract!!). So glad I got to see/meet you there! :)


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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at JulieOlsonbooks.com

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