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So a problem that's really holding me back from effectively revising my picture book script...is the opening page.

Sometimes I read advice to jump right in with the action of the story and this is what I've tried to do - however I've read some agent bios that say they like to see character set up. I've additionally seen some current PBs that do seem to spend a couple of pages explaining the character before anything much happens.

So how do you do it - start with character set up and then get going with their story?

Or bounce right into the action?

Thoughts anyone?
#1 - April 14, 2015, 02:58 AM

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I think it depends on the age group and type of picture book as well.
The picture books I have seen for younger children do seem to introduce the MC and the conflict right at the beginning. Picture books for older children spend more time with scene,character setting etc.
#2 - April 14, 2015, 05:37 AM
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It depends on the story.

Many of my books set the main character(s) up in the beginning. Some examples:  Nugget & Fang, Me Want Pet!, Princess in Training

But many don't. Some examples:  Chicken Dance, Roar!, Your Alien

Good luck!

#3 - April 14, 2015, 06:26 AM
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Sounds to me like you're too focused on the general advice you've heard. If you can, try to put all that stuff out of your head for a while and focus instead on what feels best for this one particular story you're writing now.
#4 - April 14, 2015, 07:20 AM
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I agree with Tammi. It definitely depends on the story. If your set-up feels like it's dragging down the story, try livening up your language and tightening up your text. Some of the most brilliant set-ups are 2-4 brief and simple lines before the "then one day" launch into your action.
#5 - April 14, 2015, 07:42 AM
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Depends on the story.

I agree with Melissa that you're focusing too much on how it's "supposed" to be done or on what agents want to see.

Just read a ton of current picture books and then write the story you want to write.

It may also help you to go through existing pb's and type out the text with page numbers, to help you break down what happens on each page. Do this especially for books that are similar to yours.
#6 - April 14, 2015, 08:57 AM
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Try it a couple ways...then put the different versions aside for a while. When you come back to it with fresh eyes, you may have a new opinion.

Also, run your different openings by your crit group and see what their thoughts are.

You're not alone! I'm revising a PB right now and playing around with the beginning, too!
#7 - April 14, 2015, 01:30 PM
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Diana beat me to it. I suggest reading lots of PBs and thinking which approach best suits your story. Best wishes.
#8 - April 14, 2015, 03:12 PM
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