CREATE A PICTURE BOOK COMPETITION

This year's judge

Author and illustrator Rachel Bright (The Lion Inside / The Squirrels Who Squabbled) will choose the winning entries and here, she gives some tips for creating a great picture book!

Top Tips from Rachel Bright:


1.SCRIBBLE DOWN ALL YOUR IDEAS

- and have fun doing it! (and don't worry about being perfect straight away)

Keep a little notepad for a week or so with you all the time to write all your ideas for stories in before you actually sit down to write your final script (a bit like an ideas sketchbook) and scribble down any funny or silly idea you have for a character or story-line whenever you think of it (in the bath, on the loo, in the car!).

Try using this as your starting point. Your ideas don't need to be perfect in the beginning - just get them all as they tumble out. Think of it as a great big brain fishing net!

Then - when you are ready - pick the idea you like best and begin weaving your story around it - it can really get you off to a good start. I keep a notebook ad pen on me always as I always get my best ideas at the weirdest moments!


2. GO WITH THE FLOW!

You will know when you are onto something as it's so much fun doing it you forget where you are and what you're doing and you're just inside the story. If it feels hard or you keep getting stuck - do something else for a while - run around outside, have a snack... have a nap and then come back to it with a fresh head! Forcing it never works.


3. MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT

My favourite picture books make every single word count. There isn't a single word that isn't doing a good job! So when you have finished your first draft - go back over it again and again and see where you can chop and prune and polish - there are ALWAYS bits you really want to keep but deep down, you know it might be better if you chopped it out. Listen to your instincts!

Perhaps you can draw something in the picture instead of saying it in words? The great thing about picture books is the space between the words and the pictures - they should never tread on each other's toes!


4. READ IT OUT LOUD

This is something I have done ever since I started writing. I always read what I have written back out loud to myself (and often anyone else that will listen!) because then you can really hear the rhythm in the words and if something is working or not. If it feels nice in your mouth to say it - it will feel nice on the ear to hear it!


5. HAVE FUN WITH IT

It's fun to play with words - if you find that a word doesn't exist that you need - make one up! Or adapt one - some of the greatest writers never let the boundaries of the dictionary stop them!

Do whatever feels fun and whoever reads the story will have fun too.

14/01/2018This year's judge