SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

manuscript for wordless PB or PB with only a few words

Discussion started on

Poster
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
Just wonder if anyone has experience for writing manuscript of PB with no words or just a few words, for contest/competition purpose.  The organizer of the contest only asked for manuscript but not dummy.

So what should the manuscript look like ? Should I describe what is going on in each picture, even though some of them intend to have no words ?  Such description may put some limit on the book though, since wordless books often provides a rather free space for the readers to capture the information they need.

Could anyone kindly share maybe an example of such manuscript? one page should be good.

Thanks  much!
#1 - September 20, 2017, 11:02 AM

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
Does the contest specify that the manuscript be wordless or almost wordless, or is that your idea? If that's what the contest specifies, don't they provide any guidance about how to set up the manuscript?

If it's just your idea, I'd suggest seeing you can come up with another one. If you're a writer, it's your WORDS and how you put them together that show off your skill, not your abilities as an art director.

And more generally for submission purposes, the same thing applies. I do know of wordless or nearly wordless books that were originated by writers rather than illustrators, but they were writers who were already published and had a relationship with an editor.
#2 - September 20, 2017, 01:19 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
You might find this useful: http://groundwoodbooks.com/sidewalk-flowers-writing-a-story-without-words/

Also, Kate DiCamillo has a book coming out this fall that has only one word, repeated: La La La
#3 - September 20, 2017, 01:22 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Moderator
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
There are a few books like this, but they are often by author/illustrators, illustrators, or established authors. You could try very simple illustration notes. Keep them as non-specific as possible. Make sure the illustrator is picking things like colors, unless that color matters to the story. You have a tough sell ahead.

#4 - September 20, 2017, 03:22 PM

Poster
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
You might find this useful: http://groundwoodbooks.com/sidewalk-flowers-writing-a-story-without-words/

Also, Kate DiCamillo has a book coming out this fall that has only one word, repeated: La La La

You might find this useful: http://groundwoodbooks.com/sidewalk-flowers-writing-a-story-without-words/

Also, Kate DiCamillo has a book coming out this fall that has only one word, repeated: La La La

Thank you, Harold, that's very helpful !

#5 - September 20, 2017, 03:30 PM

Poster
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
There are a few books like this, but they are often by author/illustrators, illustrators, or established authors. You could try very simple illustration notes. Keep them as non-specific as possible. Make sure the illustrator is picking things like colors, unless that color matters to the story. You have a tough sell ahead.



Thank you Debbie for the helpful explanation. I happen to be that author/illustrator :)
#6 - September 20, 2017, 03:33 PM

Poster
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
Does the contest specify that the manuscript be wordless or almost wordless, or is that your idea? If that's what the contest specifies, don't they provide any guidance about how to set up the manuscript?

If it's just your idea, I'd suggest seeing you can come up with another one. If you're a writer, it's your WORDS and how you put them together that show off your skill, not your abilities as an art director.

And more generally for submission purposes, the same thing applies. I do know of wordless or nearly wordless books that were originated by writers rather than illustrators, but they were writers who were already published and had a relationship with an editor.


It is my book, and I am also an illustrator. I wrote the story.  It does not need many words, except a few description, transitions and short conversations.

The contest is Lee and Low new voice. The requirement is a manuscript less than 1500 words. They tends to have very lengthy stories in some of  previous winners though.  While the genre of my stories fits their requirement well, I want to give it a try.

Since my creating process is  syllabus--> images (story board) --> decide text to include on each page,   now I need a reverse process to turn them back into a word only story .. but to what degree? this is what I am trying to figure out....

Thank you & the manuscript of "Sidewalk Flowers" is definitely helping !
#7 - September 20, 2017, 03:52 PM

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
Ah, you hadn't said that you were also an illustrator. That being the case, I would suggest that you follow the standard process for author/illustrators when submitting, which is to submit the manuscript AND a dummy with the text laid out and sketches in place. If you're not sure if they'll accept that for the contest, I suggest you ask. Lee and Low is a small company.  They'll respond. And if you don't get a response, let me know.  I know people there.
#8 - September 22, 2017, 07:04 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Poster
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
Ah, you hadn't said that you were also an illustrator. That being the case, I would suggest that you follow the standard process for author/illustrators when submitting, which is to submit the manuscript AND a dummy with the text laid out and sketches in place. If you're not sure if they'll accept that for the contest, I suggest you ask. Lee and Low is a small company.  They'll respond. And if you don't get a response, let me know.  I know people there.


Thanks a lot for your suggestion , Harold ! Have a great week !
#9 - September 23, 2017, 01:11 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
You might find some resources on Linda Ashman's website very helpful. Here's one about her PB RAIN: http://lindaashman.com/books-written-by-linda-ashman/rain/  If you scroll down, you'll see a link for the submission and also the dummy. Her website is a treasure! Good luck poking around and good luck on your submission. Vijaya
#10 - September 23, 2017, 05:08 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

Poster
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
You might find some resources on Linda Ashman's website very helpful. Here's one about her PB RAIN: http://lindaashman.com/books-written-by-linda-ashman/rain/  If you scroll down, you'll see a link for the submission and also the dummy. Her website is a treasure! Good luck poking around and good luck on your submission. Vijaya

haha, wonderful resources ! Thank you and SCBWI forum rocks !
#11 - September 23, 2017, 06:56 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
I am wondering (Harold, Debbie, Vijaya, please chime in on if you think this idea would disqualify an entry for manuscript) if instead, for a wordless pb, the Author could sub a "script"? More like a movie script, so there would be description of the surroundings, the scenes & the action that moves the story along, as opposed to a usual pb text manuscript.
At a Highlights Foundation weekend workshop Matt Phelan said this is how he approaches his graphic novel stories, more like a script, even though he is the Illustrator as well.
At our SCBWI conference in Montreal this past Spring the Illustrator of "Sidewalk Flowers" Sydney Smith gave a workshop to we Illustrators, very interesting re: an Illustrator working on a book without words.
#12 - September 24, 2017, 02:59 AM
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 03:02 AM by christripp »
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Moderator
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
Chris, I think submitting the manuscript with a dummy makes more sense. A script format works for graphic novels because much of the text is dialog (at least as I understand it), and the descriptions would work like set descriptions in a play. When I write a picture book manuscript that is all dialog and no speech tags, I use a script style (speaker's name: dialog). That wouldn't be appropriate for all picture books.
#13 - September 24, 2017, 05:51 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
I agree Debbie, the dummy is the ideal, hopefully Hui you hear back from Lee & Low as to their acceptance of dummies for the contest.
#14 - September 25, 2017, 03:09 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wwa
What if you have illustration ideas but no words can that be submitted, for a wordless picture book?
#15 - September 25, 2017, 06:25 AM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Moderator
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
What if you have illustration ideas but no words can that be submitted, for a wordless picture book?

Unless you are an illustrator or well-established, you are probably out of luck on this. I think I've heard of a sale of such a book but the author was well known.
#16 - September 25, 2017, 09:36 PM

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
What if you have illustration ideas but no words can that be submitted, for a wordless picture book?

I get this question from time to time, and my recommendation is always to go ahead and write it up and then put it away. Once you develop a relationship with an editor, you can pull it out and show it to them, like the author of Sidewalk Flowers did. For now, you need to lead with your words, not your art direction.
#17 - September 26, 2017, 12:45 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wwa
Thank you, I do have a lot of the illustrations for this idea, some fully developed other's just line, but yea that is good advice, I have been a fine artist for many years but not illustrating children's books so its something i have been doing for the last few years, (3) off and on between other projects and day  job.   Last night I was looking at a book called Nuts and bolts of writing for children, well the table of contents, I couldn't find a copy on line library, well I was trying to find a copy on line to read but couldn't so researching the author found one of her books on line her name is Linda Ashley, I  read a cute children's book she wrote called PEACE BABY  I kept waking up and having PB Ideas Grrrr I got no sleep, each time I woke with another idea I just gave in and  wrote it down- it's probably a problem most writers have I'm guessing is too  many ideas. 
Ideas from last night;
WAIT- about a boy who's always being asked to wait-- comes in handy when he's stuck on rocks as the tide comes in
Robin Robin-- Please don't go-- About a robin that hangs around through all the seasons
Kitten's Perrrrfect day-- A warm window seat to feasting  to exploring in the grass, she couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. .
My favorite-- Ten Frogs on a Lillie Pad--incorporating taking away and adding in rhyme Frogs are coming and going till there's only one, enjoying the warmth of the sun. . (sometimes I think children's books are too dumbed down, I think kids can understand complex ideas at a younger age than we give them credit for. This book is in process and I think ill try and finish it this week among other things I'm attempting to do, like finish my first rough draught of my YA novel called "Light" wow--- that's enough out of me
Lots of fun!

Matt take your bath! Mom's finger pointing to the bathroom-
The picture book idea I have that's only pictures is about a boy who's being told to take his bath
He's a black boy who watches as the claw foot tub turns into a lion-  the window drapes an Elephant, the carpet a crock till- he is forced out of the tub and escapes only to find himself near a baby elephant by a watering hole, I will withhold the rest of this story- so your forced to read it sometime when in print :)  But that maybe a while till I get better at the illustrations-- unless something else occurs
#18 - September 26, 2017, 02:52 PM

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
Karen, re your "Wait" idea, you might want to check out Kevin Henke's Waiting...
#19 - September 27, 2017, 12:53 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wwa
Wow that's an adorable story thanks Harold.  I found it on utube;    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaKVluM-XSs
   Thanks!  The idea I have involves a child waiting for adults and other things in life, which comes in handy when she or he get's themselves in a pickle and on rocks while the tide is coming in.  It's just an idea at the moment. 
I've been to your site twice now and was unable to find any books you might have written.  Are you strictly an editor?

Your web site is a wonderful resource! 

I clicked a link to the CBC children's book councel members list on your site but it doesn't show a list of members.  I tried to find this before but could not find the list. 
Do you know if there is no longer a public list of publishers?  Wait I found it, but maybe you want to fix your link to it. 
http://www.cbcbooks.org/membership/member-list/


#20 - September 27, 2017, 03:05 PM
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 05:27 PM by karen-marks »

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Moderator
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
Hi Karen,

Harold is a guru in the industry. He's also the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books. He began as an editor in one of the bigger publishing houses, as I recall, but I'm sure you can research his resume online.

The reason he suggested you look up Kevin Henkes book is because that's the precedent and potential competition for your book if you carry the idea forward. You could maybe use it as a comp title. You will definitely need to make sure your book is substantially different so it stands on its own in the marketplace. (Keven Henkes books are well loved and less likely to go out of print.)  Waiting... might also be a great learning tool if you study it. We call them mentor texts.

Of course, by the time you get to that particular idea an perfect it, this book may be considered old enough as to be irrelevant. That's the glacial pace of publishing. Still, it might be good to make a note of it.
#21 - September 27, 2017, 08:36 PM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wwa
The reason he suggested you look up Kevin Henkes book is because that's the precedent and potential competition for your book if you carry the idea forward. You could maybe use it as a comp title. You will definitely need to make sure your book is substantially different so it stands on its own in the marketplace. (Keven Henkes books are well loved and less likely to go out of print.)  Waiting... might also be a great learning tool if you study it. We call them mentor texts.    (it's an incredibly lovely book on closer inspection)


Oh my gosh thank you, this is incredible information!  Thank you both for sharing your knowledge I am extremely grateful.   
#22 - September 27, 2017, 10:10 PM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wwa
 Hui-Li were you able to figure out how to present  your wordless picture book?

Thought this thread might like this link I ran into tonight while researching  wordless picture books, gives great information on how this helps children learn to read. 

What drew me to make the sketches for my wordless  idea: when I would read to my sons, the Maurice Syndak book "Where the wild things are", the part where he was riding on the monsters there were no words, and it was so much fun to make up things while reading it to my sons.   So this was the inspiration as well as content.  I thought a black MC needs to get sent to (the bathroom) not bed then go on his/her own adventure.  My only question is how do we know that our wordless book has a plot?  Yikes the questions never end. .


 

http://widaconference.us/past-conferences/2014/presentations/2014/Wordless%20Picture%20Books.pdf
You have all inspired me so much I've been working on Wait and I  pulled out my sketches this morning for my wordless picture book and put a rough dummy together, any luck I will clean up all the sketches, so if I do get an in with a Publisher, I'll be ready.  I was loosing steam with children's picture books there's so much to know and learn,  but  have a renewed zest.    :running

#23 - September 28, 2017, 10:57 PM
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 11:18 PM by karen-marks »

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
Karen, thanks for the note about the dead link... Now I just need to find it!
#24 - September 30, 2017, 06:27 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wwa
I was incorrect your good it does take you to the CBC website.   It must be challenging to keep up a website, I think this is your page:  http://www.underdown.org/more-resources.htm
It takes you to the children's book counsel's website, and its not that hard to find the list, I mis understood it to be a direct link to a list of publishers.  So unless you want someone to go directly to the list I think  it's fine as it is.
   
#25 - September 30, 2017, 10:02 PM

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
Karen, I actually did have 4 direct links to that list, which were all broken. So I fixed them. Yes, that particular one was just to the CBC website, but it's good that you got me checking!
#26 - October 01, 2017, 08:29 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wwa
It's a fantastic website, full great information.  I am not a spring chicken and trying to break into  a field with so much talent (very intimidating) and so much to learn so I appreciate the immense effort sites like  your's  and SCBWI  put into providing access to links and information that help me to work in the direction of becoming a published children's book author.  I got lost in podcasts by SCBWI yesterday.   

I started writing children's books many years back but put it away to raise my sons.  I picked it back up in 2014 along with still working day jobs.  I wish I hadn't set PB  aside, but I've come back to writing and illustrating with loads more stories inside bursting to be told and hope to entertain and bring joy to children.

Again thank you, in such a vast field it's a pleasure to find so much information in one spot.     :wc

My inspiration is Laura Ingles Wilder, who I understand didn't get published  till her 60ies.  I have always told stories to poor unsuspecting kids weather it was round a campfire, or at home with my sons, and somehow  managed to keep  their attention, I just hope I can pull that energy  into Picture, YA, MG, books.



#27 - October 01, 2017, 09:01 AM
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 11:00 AM by karen-marks »

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI RA
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region cencal
 :cop3  Putting on my mod hat to remind everyone to please limit your posts to the original topic otherwise it is difficult for the original poster to find answers to the question posed.  Thank you.
#28 - October 01, 2017, 03:20 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Booth Brothers: Drama, Fame & the Death of Lincoln
Capstone: September 1, 2017

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.