My first books were novels. They spanned the genres from Women’s fiction to Young Adult to Middle Grades. This foray into the children’s picture book world was a very new and, at first, unintimidating, prospect. I mean, seriously, how hard can it be to write a children’s picture book? As long as I had an illustrator, easy-peasy, right?
It has taken months to get the storyline to a place where I am happy and comfortable with the text for Chance’s Lucky Day, my first book in the Chance Adventure Series. The first big decision I had to make was to be true to myself and be comfortable with breaking the standard conventions of picture book writing. The standard word count is 800 words or less. Well, I smashed that convention. Chance’s Lucky Day slides in at a little over 1,500 words. Chance Explores the Farm, the next one in the series, is easily at least that in its early draft.
Yep! Almost double what convention (and editors and publishers) say it should be. I did this with purpose and intent. I wanted to offer a richer picture book story for children to grow into. When they’re younger and listening to the stories, the illustrations are the most important thing for them. The story just enhances the visual. Then, they grow into it after hearing the story. They start learning to read and feel like a more mature reader because they’re reading multiple sentences on a page.
Back to my title. I’m setting the record straight on the level of difficulty in writing a picture book versus a novel. Picture books require a lot of work. I easily revised and edited these 1500 words at least twenty times – maybe more. The illustrations underwent multiple revisions, as well. Despite how it may seem, writing a children’s picture book is not simple, nor is it easy. The satisfaction derived from its completion? Absolutely the same!