Published on: 27 March 2011 Author: Polly Dunbar
The fantastic author and illustrator of loads of great children's books, including Penguin and Happy Hector, Polly Dunbar became our fourth Writer in Residence back in 2010. In this blog Polly spoke about her visual guide to writing a children's book.
Here is my guide to writing a picture book - Ideas Everywhere. It was a challenge to produce in such a short time, so it's a bit bonkers. What it lacks in finesse I hope it makes up for in fun and... well... ideas!
It might seem a little clinical to set rules and a formula for the ellusive art of writing picture books; but if you have rules you have something to subvert; if you have boundaries you have something to push against. If there's a story inside that you want to tell, a structure is something to hang it on... it will come out if you invite it.
I've tried to distill the whole writing process into easy to follow steps. It has been inspired by working in schools, teaching, writing my own books, help from my mum - who is a brilliant teacher and fountain of writing tips and of course those little scraps of paper, which I seem to leave a trail of where ever I go.
Ideas Everywhere is aimed at children and teachers, but I hope it will be useful to anyone wanting to write a book for children. If nothing else it's got lovely swishy pages that seem to say 'turn me, turn me...'