BEST TIP FOR CHILDREN'S AUTHORS
Join the International Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators www.scbwi.org. Also join your local SCBWI chapter. This organization is the single most reliable source of information about every aspect of writing and illustrating books for children.
Writing for children? If so, make sure you write a story
and not a sermon.
Being overly didactic is probably the most common mistake childrens writers make. Concentrate on writing a good story. If your heart is in the right place, your subtext will shine through.
They dont call them picture books for nothing.
Does your story lend itself to illustration? If not, then you might want to rethink it. Perhaps the problem is that you have only one character. If so, you might want to consider adding a second or third character. If the problem is talking heads(too much dialogue and not enough action), then write in some entertaining action. Remember, its fiction and its illustrated. Try not to be too reality bound. Make the most of the possibilities of the medium. Have some fun!!!
Story? Do you really have one?
Whether its a picture book or an adult novel, a well-written story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Most writers get off to a good start, know pretty much where they want to end up, but then have a big problem figuring out what happens in between. That darned middle is a very common bugaboo.
If you have a story problem, dont fudge it. Fix it!
Its always tempting to try to disguise that fact that youre really not sure whats going on in the middle by introducing more subplots, new characters, another murder, yet another suspect, and, when all else fails, a big explosion. Resist that temptation because most of those things just become red herrings and loose ends that will leave you even more bewildered. This brings me to the single most important piece of advice I can give any writer (and youre not going to like it. Nobody does.)
Solve your story problems BEFORE you start the book.
For most people this means writing an outline. In my experience, the word outline generally sends an aspiring author running for the exit. But please hear me out. I began my life as a writer just as resistant to this idea as you are now. However, the professional pressures of meeting stacked deadlines forced me to become practical and efficient in my approach to solving creative problems.
An outline is a map. Would you get in your car, start the motor, and head for Alaska with no map and no clear idea of how you were going to get there? If so, what do you think would happen? Im guessing you would probably drive around in circles, take one wrong turn after the other, waste endless amounts of time, get terribly frustrated, and abandon the effort.
If you can discipline yourself to complete an outline, you will be a happier and more productive writer. Writing a book is a lot of work. Delineating character, constructing prose, and crafting dialogue are enough to do. Dont try to solve your story problems at the same time. Thats giving yourself way too much to do at once. You will write yourself in circles, take one wrong turn after another, waste endless amounts of time, get terribly frustrated, and probably abandon a very promising manuscript.
I know that many writers disdain outlines. However, preparing an outline has worked for me time after time and is an excellent diagnostic tool for identifying story problems early and fixing them.
Remember, an outline is not meant to BIND you, but to GUIDE you. Its just like a map. You can always make changes in your route or itinerary, but at least youll know where youre going and how to get there.
GOOD LUCK ON YOUR JOURNEY AND
COME BACK SOON FOR MORE TIPS