To me, it’s an easy answer. I simply love little kids and making them giggle and have fun is what drives me to write picture books.
When I first thought I might want to write children’s books, I began with creating a MG novel. It was a blast, but I have to admit, I got stuck mid-way through and still to this day have not finished it. But when I researched and read a ton of picture books, the minute I finally sat down and started writing one, that’s when I realized my passion for picture books.
However, when I actually read my book in front of a crowd of kids, my heart crumbled and without a doubt confirmed for me that picture books are what I should be doing.
Some may think writing a picture book isn’t really writing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Writing a picture book is tough and must be done with tender loving care and strict guidelines. You can’t mince words or use words that aren’t important to the story or carry the story forward. Descriptions are a hard thing to carry through as well. You can only use a certain amount of words so they have to be chosen very carefully. In picture books a description of something can only be used when absolutely necessary; otherwise the author has to rely on the illustrator to bring things to life. So any words you do use need to be powerful, dazzling, and reminiscent replacements -- words that will offer an illustrator wonderful clues for pictures.
Writing a picture book that will be accepted by a publisher takes a lot of research, practice, blood. sweat, and tears. You can’t just sit down and write a story, it’s absolutely necessary that for a picture book to be accepted, you must do the research and follow the million guidelines required. And it’s surprising just how many rules there really are in the picture book world.
Writing for children, no matter the age, is so important and a pure pleasure. As an author, you have the power to not only bring laughter to their life, but it gives you a perfect opportunity to share some of what you’ve learned over your lifetime. Authors can inspire, teach, challenge, and bring magic to a child’s eyes and that’s the real reason I enjoy it so much. I love the opportunity to make them think but at the same time, help them dream.
What about you? Was it as easy for you, as it was for me, to decide what age group you should write for?