Okay, you’ve got an idea for a picture book and you’ve written the first draft. Now ask yourself these questions when rewriting.
1. Is the text under 1000 words? Most picture books average about 500. Anything longer than 1000 tends to be a picture storybook. A different concept than a regular picture book.
2. Do your sentences lend themselves to picture book length? Long descriptive detail is usually reserved for older fiction or magazine stories. Tight, strong sentences are the key. Do they complement an accompanying picture?
3. Is the theme universal? Would a child ask to have the story reread over and over? Is the subject age-appropriate?
4. Is the plot fast moving? Is it fresh? Are the characters interesting? Young children don’t have the patience for long set-ups. Stay focused and to the point.
5. Is the character a child or childlike? Does he solve the problem rather than an adult? This point is extremely important. Would a child understand the character’s motivation?
6. Is the text preachy or is the message conveyed subtly. No “in-your-face” morals.
7. Is there a clear beginning, middle, and end? Is the ending powerful or humorous?
8. Does the text provide for 13 or 14 varied illustrations? Break the text into 14 spreads by putting an extra space between the lines you feel would be page breaks. If there aren’t 14 different pictures, you need to rethink the story.
9. Can the text be divided equally for balance?
10. Would a publisher be willing to invest thousands of dollars to publish this story?
Good luck with further drafts. Be persistant. Be patient. Have fun!