SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

NF in PB form?

Discussion started on

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region midsouth
I want to write the story of a war animal (but from just post-revolutionary days). It's a true story, but with few references of its existence. However, the references are solid. I have seen many NF books done in a PB form, which is how I'd like to do it. But editors/agents, while they comment the story is terrific, say the format isn't.

I've revisited the form so many times I'm paralyzed!!! HELP, PLEASE! :sadcry
#1 - February 17, 2017, 12:17 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Here is a primer on formats written by our own Betsy, who also writes PBs: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=13762.msg126069#msg126069

If you mean something else, please forgive me. Do clarify if this is what you're looking for and good luck on your ms.

I loved the movie WAR HORSE based on the book: https://www.amazon.com/War-Horse-Michael-Morpurgo/dp/0439796644/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487364280&sr=8-1&keywords=war+horse+book Although not a PB, it might give you some help and inspiration.

#2 - February 17, 2017, 12:56 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

Children's writer
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region australiaeastnz
All I can suggest is to read some nonfiction picture books and analyze the different styles to see what might work best for you (if I am interpreting your question right). Lyrical form, through to short catchy sentences accompanied by longer sentences with more details for higher level readers - there are many forms to choose from.
I love this variety - Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, What to Expect When You Are Expecting Larvae by Bridget Heos and When Elephants Lived in the Sea by Jane Godwin.
#3 - February 17, 2017, 04:23 PM
My Australia - National Library of Australia (April 2018)
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink (August 2018)

www.juliemurphybooks.com

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region losangeles
Doris,

Can you provide a little bit more detail when you say the format isn't working? Are they telling you the material is too old for a picture book audience? Or is it more an issue with how you are structuring the story?

You are getting some great advice, but maybe we can help a bit more if you provide some more details.

Kirsten
#4 - February 17, 2017, 06:30 PM
Kirsten W. Larson

--
WOOD, WIRE, WINGS (Calkins Creek, 2020)
http://kirsten-w-larson.com
Authors and illustrators ... join me at SubItClub.com!

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region newjersey
Many of us hear on the Blue Boards write nonfiction. It can vary form a simple few words on a page, like Giant Squid, to incredibly detailed and lengthy like Electric Ben. It may just be a matter of the form you use is not a match for that particular publisher.
#5 - February 18, 2017, 04:56 AM
Laurie Wallmark
lauriewallmark.com
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling 2017)
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
(Creston 2015)

I think KWlarson asks an excellent question about the content. The story of a war animal might be too mature for a picture book format. Picture books like PINK AND SAY--books that deal with tough issues--have not been published for about 20 years. :(  Picture books trend much younger these days.

Have you considered writing it as an upper middle grade? Animals + war would work well there....

EAB
#6 - February 18, 2017, 05:43 PM

Children's writer
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region australiaeastnz
FYI there was a recent spate of war stories in Australian picture books (due to a significant anniversary year of a major event) -  I think there is potential for PB publication of a serious story if it ties in with a major event, or connects to other cultures, etc. The topic itself need not put off some publishers. I hope I am making sense here.
#7 - February 18, 2017, 07:50 PM
My Australia - National Library of Australia (April 2018)
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink (August 2018)

www.juliemurphybooks.com

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.