Writing Picture Books: The Evolution of a Picture Book

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Picture Books, Writer Tips & Tools | 2 comments

Rain by Linda Ashman pictures by Christian RobinsonI’m always so pleased with the generosity of fellow authors who share their process. Today I’m happy to spread that generosity. Author Linda Ashman provides an amazing look at one of her recent books, Rain, pictures by Christian Robinson. (I used her book, Samantha on a Roll, back in November 2012 for Writing Picture Books: Unique Characters).

Linda mentions that the original version of the manuscript was around 1,000 words, mostly describing what was going on in this nearly wordless picture book. I highly recommend checking out the manuscript and her storyboard to see how she presented this delightful story and also how it came to be. The storyboard is small, but you can still get a visual overview immediately. Then I recommend getting the book because it’s so much fun!  Click here to check out both versions as PDF documents.

I Dare You Not to Yawn by  Hélène Boudreau illustrated by Serge BlochThe second author, Hélène Boudreau, wrote a fantastic book called I Dare You Not To Yawn (illustrated by Serge Bloch). In this interview by Inky Girl (the talented artist & illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi, whom I got to meet at the SCBWI LA Conference last month-woop!), she shares not only how she got the idea and the months of working on it, but also six (yes, six!) drafts of the manuscript after getting feedback from her editor. Not only that, she includes the editor’s comments! This is a gift every aspiring and even published picture book writer should accept with gratitude. Wow. Read the interview and download the PDF of the six versions and editorial comments here. I’m off to get a copy of the book for my nephew!

Hey there!


  1. These are gifts, indeed, Denise. Thanks for finding and sharing them. As I looked at Linda’s ms. submission, I thought it looked similar to a screenplay or theater script with sparse dialog and plenty of stage direction.

    • You bet! And yes, Linda’s manuscript did look a bit like a screenplay since it was more visual than text and dialogue. I just love that that is open to us as writers–one more opportunity if we want it; thinking outside the box!

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