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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: Moonshade on September 24, 2012, 06:24 PM

Title: Need help formatting a PB
Post by: Moonshade on September 24, 2012, 06:24 PM
Hi everyone, I need advice. I've written a story for a Picturebook and I have NO idea how to format the manuscript. It's about 500 words. I've read many, but never written a PB before, so I'm not sure how it's formatted for submission.

Do I write it in short paragraphs?
Like this, for instance
And submit it? Or do I just use
regular paragraphs?

Does anyone know of a website they can point me to which has an example for me to look at. Or just type up a few lines of an (nonsense) example.

I've been writing short stories and working on a novel, so I know how to format those already. This is totally new to me. Any advice for a PB newbie?
Title: Re: Need help formatting a PB
Post by: Kell on September 24, 2012, 06:30 PM
I'm not an expert, but unless it's written in verse, write it in regular paragraphs -- no extra line breaks in the middle of sentences.

Then again, your paragraphs will probably all be one or two sentences. Like this message.

Good advice (I think from SYoon but in general) is imagine how the text would flow in a 32 page book. There might be double spreads with just a few words and a big illustration that bleeds on both pages, or there might be a double spread with a bunch of little spot illustrations and corresponding text for each one. 

It's not up to you how the text will be broken up, but it's useful to block it out to see where breaks might go.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Need help formatting a PB
Post by: jeanne k on September 24, 2012, 08:10 PM
From the fab Cynthea Liu (where I learned how to format my manuscripts):

http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/writing-basics/how-to-format-your-manuscript/

If you click on the "picture books" category on the left, you can find other information, too.
Title: Re: Need help formatting a PB
Post by: Verla Kay on September 24, 2012, 10:44 PM
I would recommend that you just write it out the same as you would any midgrade or young adult story unless it's in rhyme. Do NOT show where page turns would be or try to figure out how it will fit on the 28 available pages for text in a 32 page picture book.

You can do that for your own information...it will help you make sure you have a full picture book text... but editors will want to decide for themselves, with the art director and illustrator, where the page breaks will be. It's easier for them to visualize if you have the text written out without any distractions. In other words, without you indicating in the manuscript where you think the page breaks should be.
Title: Re: Need help formatting a PB
Post by: Kell on September 25, 2012, 05:08 AM
Yeah, listen to Verla! I meant that page turns were an exercise in editing, not formatting, but she's right.
Title: Re: Need help formatting a PB
Post by: Moonshade on September 25, 2012, 05:18 PM
Thanks everyone for the swift and excellent responses!  I'm not writing in verse or a rhyming, which is why I was so confused.

I had tried to figure it out. But, I knew if I posted it here, y'all would know what to do.  :yup

Title: Re: Need help formatting a PB
Post by: Verla Kay on September 25, 2012, 05:21 PM
That's what we are here for, Moonshade. Glad you got your answers so quickly.  :grouphug2