STONE UNDERPANTSThis is a POSTER of the cover of my new picture book as seen at the Bologna book fair. It was snapped by my clever agent, Alice.
The book will be published in October by Maverick.
I’ve written about fifteen picture book manuscripts but this is the first one that’s actually going to be published… So I guess I’m doing something wrong. But with Stone Underpants, I did something right… was it just as simple as having ‘underpants’ in the title? Could be.
Here are some things I’ve found out about writing a picture book which I’m sharing with you because I am asked all the time about what it takes to get one published and what makes a good picture book.
2. Meet other writers. I do this through writing circles and groups. Abie, Saviour, Jane and I got together at a writers retreat last winter.
3. Your hero/main character must be lovable. It is truly hard to write about a slug. No one loves slugs (except blackbirds).
4. Give your character a PROBLEM. Have your character sort that problem out.
5. Remember not to explain what’s going on. Or to describe. The clever words and wonderful pictures will do that for you. And as for pictures…
6. Don’t worry about them. Unless you are a brilliant artist, let the publishers find you the perfect illustrator to do the job. That’s their job.
7. A good story has something extra. This goes for all stories, long or short. It’s that little spark which often comes from writing from the heart. With love.
8. Read lots of other picture books and see what they’re like. Don’t copy them, just enjoy them and allow yourself to be delighted by them.
9. Visit other websites which specifically offer advice about writing. Picture Book Den is one good example.
10. Keep at it. Keep trying. I’m assuming that effort number 16 might just have the spark. The thrill. The electric charge that makes it work. You never know until it’s written.