To Write a Picture Book

This week finds me in the middle of a great challenge… NaPiBoWriWee! This is Paula Yoo’s challenge to write 7 picture books in 7 days. Some people may scoff and say, ‘how hard can that be?’

Sure, picture books are short. Picture books are simple. Picture books are fun. But, it’s not as easy as you think to write them. Picture books are tough because they have to be simple and yet so layered. ‘Every word is like a haiku poem – not one word can be wasted,’ as Paula shared with me in a personal note. To me it’s like dancing, you have to put your foot in the right place at the right time, or else the timing and flow is off. One misstep and you could end up on the floor on your face. But if you get your foot in the right place, at the right time, the book pirouettes and waltzes about you like the most beautiful of dances.

So far I've written two 'stinky' PB manuscripts and one that I'm pretty happy with. But the goal is to get the words down and refine, refine, refine. Ju 

If you’re interested in the great PB challenge, visit Paula at
http://paulayoo.com/napi/. Her blog is full of encouraging words, great information and wonderful author/illustrator interviews. Accolades to Paula for her tremendous venture!

Paula also opened my eyes to a couple of new software programs I am definitely going to have to check out.  I’m pulling the following directly from Paula’s site… http://paulayoo.com/napi/?p=221...


I have a few writer pals who recently joined the Scrivener cult. They insist this writing software program is PERFECT for fiction writers.

I was curious, so I checked out their website. Here’s how they explain their program:

“Your Infinite Desk. The main interface features everything you need to organise, write, edit and locate the different parts of your text. On the left, the “binder” provides the main navigation tool, displaying everything in the project in an easy-to-organise hierarchy. You can now also maintain and view separate lists of documents here by creating Collections, which appear as tabs at the top of the binder. Search results can be saved as Collections, too, giving you quick access to your most frequent searches. To the right of the binder, the outliner presents selected portions of your structure in more detail, showing a synopsis of each document. The rows can be assigned label colours, helping you see related documents at a glance. The standard editor interface occupies the right side of the split. This rich text editor features many tools for writing, formatting, and annotating your work. The inspector on the right shows the selected document’s notes, along with its meta-data and synopsis index card. The inspector also houses a document’s keywords, reference links, snapshots and comments and footnotes. Finally, a PDF has been opened in the foreground using Scrivener 2.0’s QuickReference feature.”

In a nutshell, instead of creating a lot of separate folders to hold all your Word files, you can have everything in one document. You can store your research, your website links, your photos, your notes, sketches, etc. in a Scrivener document along with the actual manuscript and different versions of your manuscript (original draft, revisions etc.). Think of it like a giant Trapper Keeper binder. LOL! (That’s a Gen X reference. For those of you who do not know what a Trapper Keeper binder is, go here: 

For more information on Scrivener and to download or test out an app, go here:  SCRIVENER: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/



OMM WRITER is a new software program that I found out about recently from my awesome website designer/creator Greg (he’s the genius behind paulayoo.com!).

Turns out OMM WRITER Is a very simple program. Basically, it just takes over your entire computer screen so all you see are these spare, wintry trees against a snowy zen landscape. (Or you can choose among other equally zen-like landscape backgrounds). You can’t check your email or surf the Internet or play Solitaire. All you can do is WRITE. It provides a simple text file so you can write undisturbed for as long as you want. They also have fun sounds you can choose for how your keyboard clicks sound (I like the little bell glass sounds) and a variety of ambient sounds and New Age type music (my favorites are the cello and piano tunes). The ambient sounds include things like a heartbeat in the womb and the sounds of turning the pages of a book in a library.

OMM WRITER’s website describes their software like this:

“A wise man once said “We are all at the mercy of our wild monkey minds. Incessantly swinging from branch to branch.” With multiple windows and applications all vying for our attention, we have sadly adapted our working habits to that of the computer and not the other way around.OmmWriter Dana is a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate.OmmWriter is a simple text processor that firmly believes in making writing a pleasure once again, vindicating the close relationship between writer and paper. The more intimate the relation, the smoother the flow of inspiration.If you are a scriptwriter, blogger, journalist, copywriter, poet or just someone who enjoys writing, welcome back to concentrating.”

Cool, huh? I tried this program out and OMG. It totally worked. I was able to write 1000 words a day just using this program. I then would transfer the text into SCRIVENER. I use OMM WRITER for first drafts and SCRIVENER for the research, outlining, and revision process. I also started taking yoga (more on that in another post), so OMM WRITER is totally blissing me out, man! LOL!

For more info on OMM WRITER, go here: OMM WRITER: 

Thanks for stopping by and happy writing.
C.K. Volnek