Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nuts and Bolts by Linda Ashman

N is for The Nuts and Bolts
Guide to Writing Picture Books
More for National Poetry Month:

Linda Ashman, author and poet extraordinaire, has written a valuable book on crafting picture books, The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books. Available in PDF, e-book, or Kindle, her book covers character, POV, rhyme, humor, submissions, and much more. This book should be in every picture book writer's top five.

Available on Amazon

If you aren't familiar with Linda's books, drop in at your local library. A few of my favorites are pictured below. 
Illus by Susan Winter
illus by Michael Chesworth
Illus by Christian Robinson
Illus by Nadine Westcott
Illus by Claudio Munoz

Linda was kind enough to help Susanna Leonard Hill with a rhyme clinic several months ago. If you missed the opportunity, here are a few of the highlights. 
  1. Don't let rhyme trump your story. Use the rhyme to get from beginning to end, not as filler.
  2. Use natural phrasing or twist your words into awkward order just to make them rhyme.
  3. Make your meter matter. Exact rhyme and perfect meter - every time.
And Linda's advice from her guest post at Julie Hedland's 12x12:

  • Imagine your ending: Having at least a vague sense of your destination makes it easier to get there.
  • Let it flow: Don’t be nit-picky early in your writing process—just get your ideas on paper. Later, when you’ve got your story figured out, you can obsess about clarity, word choice, grammar and punctuation.
  • Brainstorm: Words beget ideas, and free-associating can stimulate creativity and lead your story in new directions.
  • Change your scenery: Being in a different environment can give you a fresh perspective.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes ideas aren’t ready to be hatched. Your drafts are likely to look bad— really bad —before they start looking good. If you can’t seem to get beyond your bad beginning, put your manuscript away for a while. Sometimes timing is everything.

You can see more about Linda in this interview with Tina Cho.
*Follow the A to Z Challenge.

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