Writing for picture books is so different to writing other kinds of fiction. The stories need to be both shorter (750 to 1000 words) and more direct. The sentences are short. Each scene needs to stand alone, but also requires a hook to get the page to turn. Usually that’s some kind of question.
Dialog moves the story along, with more show and less tell in every scene.
Determining what drawings to create takes a different kind of effort too. Will it be a scene, with the place as character? Will it be one of the characters who is speaking in the scene? As I’m doing my own illustrations, quite a bit of time was occupied with drawing, watercolor, creating a style for the kids books. I wanted something that was organic, dreamlike, playful, yet not too serious. Not cartoon-like, but naturalistic. Yet I wanted the color of dreams and magic to play in the illustrations. The animals needed to be ‘in the environment’ with gestural color and movement. All parts of the challenge.
At first, I thought of hiring an illustrator, however, am glad my sweetie talked me out of that idea. Getting back into sketching has been its own reward.
However, the challenge of structuring a few short sentences per page, with a maximum of 32 pages in the book has been a learning curve. More about that as I work through the steps to get it into print. Meantime, the kindle version is done. Onto the ePub and print versions next.