If you are writing a picture book manuscript, here are a few tips from Deborah Underwood of The Christmas Quiet Book as she guest posts on The Write Routine blog. She writes: Leaving room for the illustrator is one of the most important lessons for picture book writers. And I’m sorry to say it took me about six years to learn it. SIX YEARS. I think that was because I didn’t really understand why we need to leave room, why we shouldn’t write a lot of description. Now--finally!--I do.
Me: When I’m in the middle of writing a story for a picture book, I visualize in my head the colors, the clothes, the setting, etc. Once the illustrator reads the manuscript and sketches and comes up with the final art, I am stunned. The end result is always so much more beautiful than I envisioned. It’s best to leave out some details and give the illustrator the space to create. Illustrators are the artists who bring our story to life. Let’s leave them room to do their thing. It is a collaboration between author and illustrator to make the book the best that it can be.
Underwood goes on to write: Every descriptive word in a picture book limits your illustrator. Read her post on how she resisted, at first, to make changes, but in the end was happy to have acquiesced.
Dummy – A loose mock-up of a book showing placement of text and artwork. – Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Here’s a link to creating a picture book dummy.