SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Computer Program for Formatting PBs?

Discussion started on

I'm just beginning to be brave enough to try my hand at writing picture books. (They're hard, you guys. I admire you picture book writers so much!) I'm having trouble visualizing page breaks and grasping the shape of a story as it would be laid out page by page. Is there a computer program/application (perhaps similar to Scrivener) that you use for writing picture books? I know illustrators create dummies for their picture books. Is there a program you use to create those that would work for someone who is just writing?

Thank you!
#1 - January 28, 2015, 07:43 PM

I draw stuff for chocolates.
Member
Poster Plus
I use Adobe Illustrator to lay out my pages. You can also use Adobe InDesign or Quark. For comics and GNs you can use Manga Studio.

Alternately, get a bunch of copy paper and make a book with it and write your story with page breaks that way. I still do this even though I own all the fancy computer programs. Nothing makes a story gel better than having it in your hands and turning actual pages.

One piece of copy paper folded in half = 4 book pages. A typical picture book has 32 pages plus cover (also four "pages" Front; Back; Inside Front; Inside Back.) Some of the 32 pages are reserved for things like title pages and copyright notices. Get a bunch of books published in the last 5 years to see how each one was handled and to see how the pages flow.

Even if you aren't planning on doing the art, the act of turning the pages will show you where your text is weak or needs editing.
#2 - January 29, 2015, 01:33 PM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (PiƱata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region epa
I haven't tried it for picture books, but when I'm writing at work for a publication won't have much text (like a brochure or marketing piece), sometimes I write in PowerPoint and use each slide as a page with the text in 16 or 18 point. I can be sure not to get too wordy because I can see how much text is too much. You could try that.
#3 - January 29, 2015, 01:55 PM
Kell Andrews
www.kellandrews.com
Twitter @kellandrewsPA

THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

Official Shenaniganizer
Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadawest
Holly, I use Scrivener for formatting my PBs. I did a blog post a little while ago where I posted a screenshot of my Scrivener template. http://cyndimarko.com/2014/08/25/authorillustrator-blog-hop-creative-process/  I used the stock short story template, modified it to fit PBs, and saved it as a template. Mine is formatted for a 40 page picture book divided into spreads. Scrivener has a free trial, and is inexpensive to purchase ($40). I highly recommend the tutorial if you do try it if you're not already using it for novels.
#4 - January 29, 2015, 02:30 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Holly, I just write the text normally to make sure it flows and then make a dummy to see how the page breaks would work. Powerpoint, as Kell suggests, is also a great tool.
I also just have everything on 1 page with post-its to see how everything fits, but you can do that with ppt. I just like messing around with paper :)
Enjoy your forays into PBs. They are fun and definitely something you can see the entire story arc in one sitting! Thank heavens!
Vijaya
#5 - January 29, 2015, 02:30 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

Thank you, you guys! I was feeling hopeless, and I just realized I have so many options already on my computer. (Can I blame mom brain?)

Wendy, I miss working with the Adobe suite tools, but I can't afford them with their current licensing when I'm not doing graphic design for my job any more. Gosh, I miss them, though. I will probably break out the actual paper once I've done some drafting on the computer. And I'll definitely be dissecting the PBs on my shelf for formatting. Thank you!

Kell.... why did I not think of PowerPoint? That sounds perfect. Thank you.

Arty, I DO have Scrivener, and I'm running straight over to check out the blog. That sounds brilliant.

Vijaya, thank you for the encouragement. PBs have always scared me, but having a little person to read lots of picture books to makes me want to write some of my own. Time to be brave!
#6 - January 29, 2015, 02:40 PM

Official Shenaniganizer
Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadawest
Oh, and in case anyone wonders why my 40 page format only has 16 spreads, I didn't include the end papers, front matter, covers, in this. Just the actual interior pages the story would be on. So pages 6-37.
#7 - January 29, 2015, 02:45 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
I've used a table in word to dummy the text. I write the page numbers for each spread in one column. The text goes in the next column and my own notes of what I think the picture may be in the finished book are added to the last column. The image notes side by side with the text help me figure out what text I can cut.
#8 - February 02, 2015, 11:25 AM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Thank you, Debbie. The column with illustration notes is a very good idea.
#9 - February 02, 2015, 02:11 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
Debbie, I love your idea! I'm going to try that out! :cheesy
#10 - February 03, 2015, 09:06 AM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles

I've been trying to find the same sort of thing. Hoped power point would have a page turn effect but unfortunately doesn't seem to.

#11 - March 17, 2015, 03:12 AM

Poster
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region austin
As an alternative to powerpoint, there is Google Slides: https://www.google.com/slides/about/

It's simple, it's free, and it links to a gmail account so you can access it from anywhere, including a phone or tablet (etc).
#12 - March 19, 2015, 10:27 AM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
Thats so much !

I'll check that out right away

Cheers !
#13 - March 20, 2015, 02:44 AM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region socal
As an alternative to powerpoint, there is Google Slides: https://www.google.com/slides/about/

It's simple, it's free, and it links to a gmail account so you can access it from anywhere, including a phone or tablet (etc).

Thanks. I've used Powerpoint quite a bit, but sometimes get frustrated with its fussiness. I'm on my way to check out Google Slides.  :running
#14 - March 20, 2015, 08:34 AM

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.