We held our first ever Picture Book Bootcamp last Saturday, November 12th, 2011. The 3-hour workshop was facilitated by our TCBW’s Second Scribe (a.k.a Vice-President) Lucy Ravitch.
Most of the material came from Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books, Nancy Lamb’s Crafting Stories for Children, as well as past SCBWI conference talks and other writing retreat Lucy Ravitch has attended.
Lucy did an amazing job of compiling all she’s learned from Ann Whitford Paul’s & Nancy Lamb’s books, past SCBWI conference talks and other writing retreats she’s attended into 21 pages of extensive notes.
The LA Public Library Harbor Gateway Branch librarians were helpful as usual. Librarian Donna (who became a member of our group after our first meeting at the library), was kind enough to reserve our usual conference room, and to photocopy a page of our materials when we were missing two copies.
The meeting room normally holds 10 people, but we managed to rearrange the table and bring extra chairs to accommodate all 21 picture book writers who RSVP’d for the event.
Lucy brought 45 different picture books, which she beautifully showcased.
She used many of the books to illustrate various points of her talk—from picture book writing techniques to the many styles and types of picture books.
Lucy’s discussion included instruction on how to create compelling characters, create an eye-catching first line and a great story beginning, hold a story together, develop a satisfying story ending. She also discussed the art of picking a great book title, and the benefits of making a dummy book. She also briefly touched on the language of the story as used in picture books, and rhyming in picture books.
Before the meetup began, Lucy had asked everyone to pick two picture book manuscript samples from the board. Writers who attended used the manuscripts as a sample to work on some of the writing techniques Ann Whitford Paul discusses in her book.
Writers who attended added their own notes to Lucy’s 21 page handout, and eagerly asked questions.
The workshop ended a few minutes before 4pm, and we all gave Lucy a big round of applause. Everyone clearly appreciated all the effort she put into the handout, as well as the presentation.
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