Author Topic: PB Intensive content thoughts  (Read 1774 times)

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Offline KatyD

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PB Intensive content thoughts
« on: March 16, 2012, 11:12 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm going to be leading a three-hour picture book intensive at our spring SCBWI conference in April. I'm furiously gathering information and would love to know what topics you'd most like to see addressed in an intensive. Also, do you have any favorite hands-on activities geared toward pb writing that you'd like to share? If so, I'd be happy to credit you and mention your book(s). Thanks!
LOUD LULA, Two Lions/Jul '15
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, tba
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

Offline Jean Reidy

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 11:31 AM »
 :goodthread:
I'll be curious to see what folks have to say!
Jean
Jean Reidy
Too Purpley! Series, All Through My Town , Light up the Night, Time (Out) for Monsters. Coming soon: Sneak a Peak Construction Week, Specs!

Offline KDuBay

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2012, 12:40 PM »
I did an SCBWI PB intensive workshop with Melissa Manlove of Chronicle last May...she did a great job.  Some things she did that I thought were really effective...

1) read alouds to us to highlight different aspects of PBs that she loved (and not necessarily her or Chronicle's books)

2) having us think about hooks by acting as a bookseller in small groups and pitching our fav PB to other people in our group then the group voting on which book they'd buy based on the pitch/hooks

We also worked in small groups and went to different stations...one station focused on hook/character/problem...the next station focused on character wants/problems...the next station focused on "three tries" to solve a problem...another station "say it in one sentence."

I found the work we did on "say it in one sentence" and hook really helped me think about my work...what the emotional heart is for my story and where a bookseller would position it in the bookstore. 

Good luck with your intensive! 

-Kellie
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

Offline KatyD

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 04:25 PM »
Jean! I was expecting words of wisdom from you. :-)

Kelly--Thanks so much! I'd thought about hooks because I've heard so many editors mention them at conferences lately. But I hadn't thought about the "say it in one sentence" idea. I'll definitely keep that in mind.
LOUD LULA, Two Lions/Jul '15
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, tba
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

Offline 217mom

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2012, 10:52 AM »
I like the 'say it in one sentence.' Very PB apropos.

Another idea is to read a paragraph from less-known PB, not show the art, and ask for a character or place description. We are told time and again that the text must be complete,' while leaving plenty of room for the illustrator to be co-creator. I think this is aimed at that skill.
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

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Offline Jean Reidy

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2012, 11:02 AM »
Jean! I was expecting words of wisdom from you. :-)

Kelly--Thanks so much! I'd thought about hooks because I've heard so many editors mention them at conferences lately. But I hadn't thought about the "say it in one sentence" idea. I'll definitely keep that in mind.

Hah, Katy! I did a PB presentation at our regional SCBWI two years ago. And this fall I'm doing a workshop. I have an outline of what I'd like to do, but I love the idea of tapping what's on the minds of PB writers via this thread. So thank you for posting.

Jean
Jean Reidy
Too Purpley! Series, All Through My Town , Light up the Night, Time (Out) for Monsters. Coming soon: Sneak a Peak Construction Week, Specs!

Offline KatyD

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2012, 11:55 AM »
Thanks, Mirka.

Jean, hopefully we'll get some good ideas/comments. :-)
LOUD LULA, Two Lions/Jul '15
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, tba
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

Offline taralazar

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2012, 10:02 AM »
One of the most eye-opening things that I learned on my path to publication was 32-page picture book layout--making a dummy even though I'm not an illustrator. It really helped me realize which scenes were too long or too short and when my page turns fizzled instead of surprised. I have a page about it on my blog and it's the most frequently accessed page: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2009/02/22/picture-book-construction-know-your-layout/  This is almost common knowledge now, I realize, but at that point in 2009 I was like...DUH!!!!

I also like to "think about the hook BEFORE you write the book." As a result, many of my stories tend to be high-concept.

And PB writers should know their story should have an emotional core, a universal emotion that kids can relate to. There's the topic--which is what the book is about on its surface (like dinosaurs, ballerinas, trucks, princesses) and then the theme--what it's about at its core (friendship, family, fitting in, perseverance, etc.).

I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS. HAVE FUN!

« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 10:06 AM by taralazar »
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Offline KatyD

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2012, 05:26 PM »
Thanks so much, Tara!

I'm planning to include info on thumbnails and dummies. And I've included some ideas about hooks prior to writing, but (even though this knowledge exists within my cluttered brain!) I hadn't thought about discussing the necessity of the "visible" topic and the more "invisible" emotional theme. Great idea! I shall explore... and provide concrete examples.

And in my idea section--I'm definitely sharing my PiBoIdMo experiences this year!  :yup :yup :yup

Thanks, again!

Katy
LOUD LULA, Two Lions/Jul '15
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, tba
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

Offline pjlyons

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2012, 07:17 AM »
Hi Katy,

I love how in Farmer McPeepers you allow the illustrations to tell part of the story (I even used it as an example in my master's thesis), so don't forget to discuss the dance between text and art.
The Art of Story

Offline KatyD

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2012, 07:52 AM »
Wow! Thanks! Farmer McP is honored to be a part of your thesis!  :thank you

And I will indeed include info about leaving room for the illustrator to do his/her work.

Katy
LOUD LULA, Two Lions/Jul '15
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, tba
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

Offline taralazar

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2012, 11:56 PM »
Ooh, I really like calling the topic and theme "visible" and "invisible". Can I borrow that?

Glad you are sharing the PiBo experiences!
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Offline KatyD

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 05:43 AM »
Go right ahead, Tara. I love how we all share and help one another. That's what it's all about, right?  :clap:
LOUD LULA, Two Lions/Jul '15
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, tba
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

Offline Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 06:54 PM »
I learned so much at a picture book writing workshop taught by Diane Muldrow from Golden Books. One of the exercises I found enlightening: she gave us picture book texts and asked us how we would paginate them. Interesting to compare our resulting pagination with the pagination used in the final book, plus she pointed out how the pagination affected the story.

I learned a much greater appreciation of page-turns and pacing, and became much more aware of that aspect from then on.

Debbie
URL: DebbieOhi.com. 2014: illus in NAKED! by Michael Ian Black (S&S BFYR), Judy Blume MG & chapter books (Atheneum). More: http://DebbieOhi.com/books

Offline KatyD

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2012, 05:47 PM »
Ooooo! What a great exercise, Debbie. I'll definitely keep that for future reference. Thanks for sharing it.
LOUD LULA, Two Lions/Jul '15
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, tba
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

Offline Jean Reidy

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2012, 08:47 AM »
I'm thrilled you said that Debbie, because a pagination, page turn and payoff exercise is one of the items I included in my workshop.
Jean
Jean Reidy
Too Purpley! Series, All Through My Town , Light up the Night, Time (Out) for Monsters. Coming soon: Sneak a Peak Construction Week, Specs!

Offline KatyD

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2012, 08:53 AM »
Okay, Jean, now you're going to have to explain the "pay off" exercise.  :grin

LOUD LULA, Two Lions/Jul '15
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, tba
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

Offline Jean Reidy

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Re: PB Intensive content thoughts
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2012, 11:05 AM »
Sorry, KatyD, I just now saw your question. Your "payoff" is what you get after the page turn. Is it surprising, satisfying, funny, etc. The biggest payoff would be your AWWWWWWW-some ending.
Jean
Jean Reidy
Too Purpley! Series, All Through My Town , Light up the Night, Time (Out) for Monsters. Coming soon: Sneak a Peak Construction Week, Specs!