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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: shilpa on October 02, 2014, 02:31 PM

Title: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: shilpa on October 02, 2014, 02:31 PM
Hello!
I am writing a PB that has quite a bit of action in it. I am having trouble with the pacing , making sure the action is rising in impact, making sure there is enough action on each spread etc.
I am currently slicing up my story into sections and adding notes for each scene/section and that's helping.However I would love to hear if any of you have ideas that have worked for you in the past for this kind of writing.

 :bighelp
Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: darshana on October 03, 2014, 01:38 PM
Have you made a dummy or storyboarded it? This will help you figure out the pacing. To make sure you have escalating tension each of the obstacles/attempts (usually three) should be different and more desperate/valiant/crazy ... you get the idea. Then you go for a kind of "all is lost" feeling before the MC figures out how to solve the problem. What I have described is just the standard typical plot model.


Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on October 06, 2014, 10:26 AM
one of the things that impacts pacing is extra words. Cut any unnecessary word to have the quickest pace.

Jane tumbled. She landed at Henry's feet.

Jane tumbled head over heels down the mountain. She landed face down, her head against Henry's black loafers.

You can see the change in pace here. Of course, these extra words would be cut for illustrations in most picture books anyway.

Visualize your character climbing a mountain. Each scene should be another step up the mountain or a slide backwards. The climax is at the top. The end of the story is the slip down the other side. Each part of the climb builds on the one before it as if you are building the mountain while they climb it.

I hope this helps.
Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: shilpa on October 06, 2014, 02:30 PM
Thanks Darshana and Debbie
Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: Stephanie Shaw on October 07, 2014, 10:27 PM
Try dissecting a pb you really feel is successful at pacing action.  Try to match your story to same beats and page turns.
Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: rainchains on October 08, 2014, 12:20 AM
If you can get your hands on a copy of How to Write a Children's Picture Book by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock, she dissects a number of classic picture books for example Where the Wild Things Are, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She outlines the structure of each story and how it lays out in page spreads. She shows how many successful picture books follow a symmetrical structure.

rainchains
Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: brendasturgis on October 08, 2014, 10:54 PM
Creating a dummy usually works for me, and leaving lots of room for the illustrator. Good luck, it's really hard work, but so worth it in the end. :)
Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: DianaM on October 09, 2014, 07:03 AM
Here's a handy post on pb construction...

http://taralazar.com/2009/02/22/picture-book-construction-know-your-layout/

Typically, the problem should be established by page 2 or 3 and the climax should fall around spread 12.
Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: darshana on October 09, 2014, 01:44 PM
If you haven't yet you might want to take a beginner PB course, as that will cover the questions you are asking. One of my favorite on-line courses (I've taken quite a few) is Making Picture Book Magic (MPBM). Susanna the instructor does a great job of breaking down the art of Picture Book writing into easily digestible learning modules. The class at $99 is much cheaper than many other classes out here, and the best part is that Susanna is very responsive to student questions. http://www.susannahill.com/MAKING_PICTURE_BOOK_MAGIC.html
According to her website the next opening isn't until February 2015.

Good Luck with your writing,
Darshana
Title: Re: Help with pacing for action PB
Post by: shilpa on October 10, 2014, 01:02 AM
Thank you all for the suggestions!