“Writing a picture book is like writing War and Peace in Haiku” Mem Fox

“Writing a picture book is like writing War and Peace in Haiku” Mem Fox

Last night our local SCBWI group gathered for a meeting. Three new participants joined us. After settling some business, there was time for critiques. Anyone interested in getting feedback about a manuscript shared what they wrote. One member in particular read part of a story, the entire manuscript turned out to be more than 1500 words. Well written, but long for a picture book.

I remember well the first time I read for the group. I had about 1500 words as well. The group gave the same advice to the new member given to me. Cut to 1,000 words. Less, if possible. I think I know what my face looked like that night. And I remember thinking how difficult it will be to tell story using only 800-1000 words!

When I saw the quote, the title of this post by Mem Fox, I immediately identified. Someone once told me writing a picture book isn’t like writing a novel. As though it’s easy. That’s like saying the medical care of a child is easier than the medical care of an adult because they are smaller.

I think both are equally challenging. Write on.

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