Writing a Picture Book

My Monster can open his mouth wide enough to swallow a whole man!

My Monster can open his mouth wide enough to swallow a whole man!

Writing a picture book is not easy. There are loads of rules you need to follow and I’m ignoring some of them at my own peril. But I’m writing for fun. I’m writing because I love it, I have a passion for telling stories and most importantly of all; I write because I have to! I need to be creative, I need to create and if I, for whatever reason, had to stop writing today, I would channel my creativity through a different artistic medium.  Whether you’re any good at it, is really not that important. What’s important is that you love what you do. And I love illustrating as much as I love writing my stories and that’s the only reason why I do it.

Now going back to those rules, I believe all rules on writing can be, and do get, broken. I’m doing it all the time. As long as I know that I’m actually breaking a rule, and as long as I think that going against the advice, is actually benefiting my story, then I don’t see the harm in it.

My first picture book, “Agosto, a frightened little Acorn” is breaking an important rule, a rule that should not be broken should one want to be picked up by an agent / editor. They, apparently, hate inanimate objects that come to life. But where would my story be without its dancing spoons, grumpy knives and Inga the reading lamp? Not where I would want it to be, so hence why I decided to write about inanimate objects that come to life.

My second picture book “My Monster” also goes against some of these rules. When writing a story, it’s important that the story has a conflict that needs to be resolved. My picture book is about a five year old girl, Alberta, and it’s her story, telling us about her best friend, who happens to be a monster, and what they get up to at night. It doesn’t really have a conflict but I’m hoping that her story is appealing enough to keep the reader interested throughout the story. Oh and if you haven’t worked it out already, the pic on top of this post is Alberta and her monster friend; Albert.


About G. Olivo

I love children’s picture books, Disney and Pixar animation and a lot of my illustrations tend to reflect my love for comics, cartoons and picture books.

Posted on July 3, 2013, in My Monster and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This is a brilliant opinion and I couldn’t agree with you more. From my experience, this rule has been broken many times in books, plays and films, and I’m sure a lot of money has been earned by companies/corporations in the entertainment industry, for example, Universal, Paramount, Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar, etc. In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts plays a magnificent role and so does the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Are these not inanimate objects written by famous authors?

    I’ve watched many films that were made from books/comics where objects have played a central role. The Smurfs living in mushrooms is a film that comes to mind.

    I grew up reading and watching Paddington Bear and am sure the author, Michel Bond, is fulfilled that his idea about a teddy bear is still popular today. Isn’t a teddy bear an inanimate object too? My childhood would have been less rewarding if the author had decided not to write about Paddington.

    An outstanding, thought provoking comment on ‘Editors that hate inanimate objects that come to life’, surely they need to look at the pleasures and enjoyment these ideas give to people around the world. I for one am pleased that you broke this rule and think it should be axed like the wolf in Red Riding Hood. ☺

    • Thank you for your comment and for sharing your thoughts on my post. I guess the rules are there for guidance and for improving one’s writing in order to avoid clichés, etc. But I take your point that there are wonderful stories out there that have inanimate objects that are alive; Disney being the biggest culprits here 🙂

  2. Albert looks wonderful!

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