Thursday, January 6, 2011

When you can't!

I've written before about how you can find inspiration in other books, but I want to expand on that idea today.

When I decided to pursue this whole "I'm gonna write a picture book" business, I very quickly realized that I had no idea how to write a picture book.  I mean, I could write a story.  I could write something kind of funny.  I had some nifty ideas.  I could rhyme non-sensical words in a tongue twisting manner.  But, I couldn't write a picture book.

And here's the kicker...I also didn't have the time, money or resources to get an official education in how to write.  I already made the totally impractical decision to get a degree in religious studies and theater at the tender and ignorant age of 17 and I now I've got kids and a full time job.  So, I was stuck with the reality that if I wanted to learn this stuff, I was going to have to get my butt in gear and create a personalized writing program for myself.

I'll go into the various parts of my self-teaching program as the weeks go on, but the biggest part of the Megan School For Picture Book Education and Chocolate is reading picture books.  And Chocolate (which should be obvious from the name really).

I started reading picture books galore.  I started keeping track of my picture book consumption.  In the last five months of last year, I read 146 picture books.  And that does not count the books I read to my children every night.  That is just the books that I checked out of the library or sat in a bookstore reading for my own "education."  And I think some stuff is starting to sink in!

On my sidebar you can see that I'm going to be keeping track of my book reading for the 100 books in 2011 challenge (click on the "join me" link for more info over there <---).  I'm sure I'll get way over 100, but I thought it would be fun to track on here too.  So, if you would like to join me at the MSFPBEAC (what an awesome acronym!) take Reading Picture Books 101.  You won't regret it!


  1. You and I have the same plan: learn by example. I think there's something to osmosis - if you read enough in your chosen genre, something's bound to sink in!

  2. I think I'm going to try for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. (no children's books except for YA)

  3. I won't cheat and join. But I own something like 500 picture books. And read them to preschoolers many times daily. Let me know if you need a reader!!!!

  4. You are write-on, Megan, about the Reader-Writer Connection.
    To my way of thinking, reading = writing.
    Write-on-Moms especially should cut themselves some slack: everytime they read aloud a book to their Kiddos, especially picture books,they're actually writing!
    If the listener lost interest, note where and why.
    If the listener urged page-turning, see how that came to be.
    Maybe study just the first 3 double-page spreads of each and every book you read.
    Always look: is the ending in the beginning?
    Thanks for linking to my New Year's TeachingAuthors post too.
    Happy 2011!

  5. Hi Megan,
    I've signed up and I'm ready to read. I read picture books constantly when I'm not writing. I also read many books on how to write picture books. As you can tell, I'm passionate about writing for children.

    I have a huge collection from when I was a Pre school Teacher, but I learn so much from visiting the library and reading the latest picture books. I look at the theme, writing style, wording, and why a publisher chose to publish it.

    I can't wait to get started!