HOW TO WRITE CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS AND GET PUBLISHED by Lynne Garner
START DATE: This class is currently closed.
DURATION: 6 weeks
COURSE DESCRIPTION: During this 6-week course, students will learn what makes a picture book successful by studying titles already published. They will be introduced to devices used in the writing of a picture book, learn how to present their work, and research whom to send their work to. By the end of the course, each student will hopefully have completed a picture book manuscript and a cover letter, which they will be encouraged to send to a publisher/packager.
- To understand what makes a good picture book
- To hone writing skills and build confidence
- How to find the right publisher/packager
- To complete one story plus write an accompanying query/cover letter
Although I’ve studied a bit about picture books on my own, your in-depth notes are awesome and so detailed. I know I’ll refer back to them often. ~ D. Essner, WOW! Picture Book student
I have learned a lot about picture book writing that really surprised me. It certainly is more than writing a story down on paper. ~ K. Johnson, WOW! Picture Book student
Your notes are the best I have ever received in a class. They are so to the point and clear. ~ B. Biancarelli, WOW! Picture Book student
I really learned a lot from the class. This is the first writing class I have taken where I actually sent something out at the end (and I have taken a lot of writing classes). ~ A. Searcy, WOW! Picture Book student
... yours has been one of the most practical and the best! I would really recommend it to anyone interested in writing a children’s picture book! ~ M.A. Livingston, WOW! Picture Book student
Thank you so much for challenging me to create a better story and for all the valuable information you have shared during this course, including the professional way you have commented on each assignment. ~ K. Kirkelie, WOW! Picture Book student
I want to thank you for all the wonderful information you have shared during this class. I have learned more than I thought I would. ~ J. Burstein, WOW! Picture Book student
WEEKS AT A GLANCE:
Week One: The anatomy of a picture book
In order to write a picture book that will get published you have to know its anatomy. This section of the course looks at how picture book stories are constructed. This is achieved by analyzing a few classic children’s picture books including The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.
Assignment: Produce a page-by-page breakdown of five picture books (student’s own choice).
Week Two: The three R’s and other word devices
The second week introduces students to the three R’s (rhyme, rhythm, and repetition) as well as other word devices that can be used to build a successful story, such as alliteration (where all words start with the same letter; e.g. big bouncy ball). Using appropriate language and making up your own words will also be covered. An in-depth look at how words are used in “classics,” such as We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, will also be covered.
Assignment: Create three different scenarios suitable for inclusion in a children’s book. (For example: a dog chasing a ball through a muddy puddle.) Then describe each scenario using one or more of the devices covered in this section, remembering to think about sounds, sights, and smells.
Week Three: Point of view and other writing devices
During the third week, we will look at how point of view works (first person, third person, or omniscient), decide which tense to write in (past or present), deal with dialogue, think visually, and create characters (human, animal, or machine).
Assignment: Choose a well-known fairy tale and, in 500 words, tell part of the story from one of the lesser characters’ point of view in the present tense. Now, rework the story using third person point of view in past tense. Compare your results to see which you feel works better and why.
Week Four: Creating a suitable story
When writing for children, you have to be careful to teach and not preach. So this section of the course discusses the types of subjects that can be covered and teaches you how to introduce humor. Tips and hints are also offered for finding inspiration and thinking visually. This section concludes with how to format your manuscript correctly. Also included in the course notes is a suggested basic template for how to format a story, which can be used as a starting point for assignment four.
Assignment: Write a 700 - 1,000 word picture book story on any subject using any of the devices covered in the course so far.
Week Five: Types of picture books and research skills
There are three main recognized types of picture books and we take a look at them and their differences (story, concept, and novelty). We then look at the differences between publishers and packagers, how they operate, plus the pros and cons for the author. You will hone your researching skills by trying to find the right packager/publisher for your book. Other subjects included will be: understanding who buys a picture book, how the publishing industry works, and writing a good cover/query letter.
Assignment: Research publishers/packagers that produce picture books similar to the story you are working on. Edit the story written for assignment four.
Week Six: Becoming a professional
During the last week of this course we will discuss: knowing when you are ready to send in your work; how to contact your chosen publisher/packager; keeping out of the vanity trap; dealing with rejection; what happens when your work is accepted; how to work with a packager/publisher; and dealing with contracts.
Assignment: Students will be encouraged to send their completed manuscript to an appropriate publisher/packager supported by a cover/query letter.
Materials needed: There are no books required to complete the course; however, students are strongly urged to read as many picture books as they can. Books will be studied in the provided course notes, and although it would be helpful for students to obtain/read a copy of these books, it is not vital to their studies.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Lynne Garner has been a freelance writer and author since 1998. Since that time she has written for a large number of magazines both in the UK and the US. She has 21 books published; this includes three picture books, with a fourth to follow shortly. Her first title ‘The Best Jumper’ was recorded for the CBeeBies children’s radio channel (part of the BBC) whilst ‘A Book For Bramble’ has been translated into five languages including Korean and Indonesian.
COST: $175. At the beginning of each week the students will be supplied with course notes via email, which will include an assignment. One-to-one support and feedback will be supplied via email.
BUY NOW: How To Write Children’s Picture Books and Get Published, by Lynne Garner (6 weeks, starting 5/7/2016) Limit: 15 students. Early registration is recommended.
This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.
Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. She will contact you via email with detailed instructions and assignments.
Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
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