Sunday, August 18th, 2019

The Series Series, Part 6: Tracking Plot Details

When it comes to maintaining continuity of plot details in a series, it can be helpful to create a scene chart or a storyboard for each story as well as for the overall series itself. Some novelists use index cards or Post-it notes to build a storyboard, because they allow for manipulation of the sequence […]

Mapping Your Plot

In my “Just Write for Kids” course, we spend quite a bit of time exploring different ways to develop plot. We look at basic three-act storytelling structure: Act 1 – Set-up/Intro to character(s) and problem Act 2 – Problem escalates to crisis or turning point Act 3 – Resolution/Character solves problem and/or learns something, grows […]

Saving the Hero

This month’s issue of “The Writer Magazine” features an interview with children’s author Kathi Appelt, who also teaches writing for children.  Kathi says something in the interview that captured my attention and felt worthy of repeating here. When asked what common mistakes she sees in children’s writing, her answer (paraphrased) was this: “…Saving the hero. […]

And in the End…

And so we come to the last of my series of posts based on Jane Yolen’s list of “10 Words Every Picture Book Author Must Know.”  Resolution… a fitting word to end the series with! Thank you, Jane, for providing us with such thought-provoking bounty (and two months worth of fodder for blog posts!) Resolution […]

Get the Hook!

No, I’m not talking about pirate captains, or fishing.  But I am talking about capturing something – and that is the interest of your reader. As always, with the necessary economy of words in a picture book, the ‘hook’ needs to happen on the first page – ideally in the first sentence or two.  You […]

What’s His Problem? (Your hero, that is)

When writing fiction of any kind,  the main question with respect to plot is always this: What is the problem? The problem, also known as the conflict, is the thing, or things, standing in the way of the hero/protagonist getting what he or she wants or needs, and as such, it sets up his or […]

The Building Blocks of Plot, or “Dramatic Arc”

Basic plot structure for a picture book is the same as for any other kind of dramatic structure, be it a novel, a play or a film: 3 acts – or, beginning, middle, and end. Each one takes up roughly one third of the book, and each is divided by a transition or plot twist… […]