That’s because picture books are easy …

Yes, I’ve heard it before. Picture books have so few words, they MUST be easy to write, right?

600-900 words? What is that, an hour or two at THE MOST? Maybe a half hour more to correct spelling?

I had the second meeting of a new critique group I joined yesterday and we discussed some novels the members are working on and some picture book manuscripts. And those of us who are trying to do both clearly see how the differences between the genres/formats does not add up to one being ‘easier’. Or quicker.

A picture book manuscript I wrote, which is finally good enough to share with my agent, had a long gestation. When someone asked how long even I was shocked that the first sketch I did that inspired the idea was done just after my daughter was born. 7 years. Ouch.

I know I am not a ‘fast’ writer and not all my picture book have bounced about for that long, but many do.

Two picture books I wrote have been published now (well, Dilly Dally Daisy won’t be out until July) and the other 20 or 30 I wrote along the way will never be out. Not a great batting average.

The right 900 words are not so easy to find.


About mfearing

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4 Responses to That’s because picture books are easy …

  1. So true! I’m ready to PERHAPS send out a PB that has been through fifteen iterations. And even on the off chance that anyone is interested in looking at it, I’m sure the editing process has only just begun:)

    • mfearing says:

      It can be a long process. I hope in your case it goes easily! I think if one puts in the time upfront (and is lucky) you can get a good early draft and maybe it won’t be weeks and months or revisions.

  2. Richard Due says:

    So true! The hardest email I ever wrote was 148 words.

    It took me about four hours.

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