Today’s Picture Book Revision Task From Laura’s Morning Pages

Here’s what I’m going to try today on one picture book I’m revising right now:

On TRUTH, I need to brainstorm some various ways to get more of a narrative arc in there. Even though it’s basically a list-structure picture book, I have come to accept that it needs more of a narrative arc. It will happen largely in the illos, but there needs to be enough in the text to suggest it, at least. So, since I came up with (on my last revision a few days ago) a possible climactic scene around dinner, I want to write a new draft today fresh, and see if I can insert the trigger for that dinner question at the very beginning of the story, and then see if my list items can all be used to build up, somehow, to that dinner scene. It seems difficult, but it’s also an exciting puzzle to try to figure out!


About Laura Purdie Salas

children's writer, poet, reader, visiting author, speaker/teacher, mentor, copyeditor, freelance writer
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5 Responses to Today’s Picture Book Revision Task From Laura’s Morning Pages

  1. This interested me today because it seems that narrative arc has become even more important in picture books, even those where it might typically not have been, like a list format. Are you seeing more of this expectation across the board in the publishing world?

    • Yep. While different structures (how to, list, full circle, reversal, etc.) are increasingly popular, editors still expect rising tension and some kind of narrative arc and rising tension. And it’s even harder to incorporate those things into some of these other formats! I’m struggling today:>)

  2. ldk says:

    Thanks for sharing this information with us, Laura. Would you know of a few examples of (how to, lists, etc.) books with a narrative arc? I’d like to take a look and see how the author got that to work. : )

    • No, I don’t have a good list. Maybe someone at ReFoReMo has a list? But here are some “list-centered” picture books I looked at when I started working on TRUTH. Some have more arc than others; some are more successful than others…I’m going to look at a few of these again…

      Tenth Good Thing About Barney
      17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore
      Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing (No narrative arc, I think, though it ends with human reference)
      31 Uses for a Mom (becomes more emotion as it goes along)
      I Like It When
      This Plus That (narrative arc mostly in illos)
      A Leaf Can Be… :>) (seasons are narrative arc)
      The Quiet Book (morning to night)

  3. I’d love to see subsequent drafts on this.

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