How do you go about writing a picture book?


First and foremost, you should have an idea.  And, where on earth do they come from?  I think they’re whispered in my ear.  I’d always wanted to write a picture book, but how?  I knew they were shorter, obviously, than my longer mystery books.  They’re approximately 70,000 words or more.  I researched the length of a picture book, and the wordage ranges from 350-800 words.

How does a person learn to write short?  You know, tell a story with only a few words?  I couldn’t send a note to my kids’s teachers without making a longer story about being home with a fever.  How can I do it?


It’s called the bare bones.

I loved red shoes.  My mom’s nickname was Maggie.  I have redhair cousins.  I was born with redhair. I needed a ginger colored kitty.  A kitty needs a puppy and why not a bunny?  Let’s add a bird into the mix?


Okay.  I now have some fuzzy, furry friends.  What am I going to do with the animals?

After some thought, I decided the kitty must lose her shoes.  Let’s notch the bar line up a bit, and give her three legs instead of the usual four.   Now, I have a story with a plot.


But I don’t know how to draw.  Period.  Not even a little bit.

Our small town gallery has big town talent.  I met with a wonderful retired art teacher who loves to draw puppies, kitties and bunnies.  I hired her. We were a team.

I’d make a few suggestions and so would she.  She was terrific.


The final title: Red Shoes.  I used my middle name and wrote under the pseudonym of Barbie Marie.


You can buy purchase it here:  Red Shoes        Barb’s Books


This entry was posted in animal stories, Art, author, author exposure to potential readers, Authors, Childhood, Easter, Education, unique. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to How do you go about writing a picture book?

  1. It sounds like you had a great proocess for writing picture books. Good luck.


  2. Doris says:

    I love learning the creative process of other authors. Thank you for sharing. Doris


  3. Gayle Irwin says:

    I have similar thoughts when I write children’s books, and I use the inspiration of living with pets guide my process. I love your book, Barb! Thanks you for creating such a wonderful story for children!! (and yes, your illustrator did a BEAUTIFUL job!!) Best to both of you! 🙂


  4. Wranglers says:

    I jave one I need to get illustrated. Thanks for sharing your peocess. Cher’ley


  5. Nancy Jardine says:

    It sounds like short picture books should be so much easier to produce – but it ‘ain’t! I’ve never really tried to write really short works and don’t see it happening anytime soon. Well done and best of luck with it!


  6. Mike Staton says:

    Fascinating read on keeping the verbiage short when putting together picture books. When my nieces were young, I would sometimes read kids’ picture books to them. Some of the verbiage was done poetry style. Even adult coffee table art books text brevity… let the photos tell the story, eh?


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