Picture Book Plotting A-Z

October 3 - November 11, 2021


  • This 5-week online course is largely self-paced, with new content and assignments released weekly in our virtual classroom.
  • There are weekly live office hours via Zoom for Q&A on Thursdays at 7pm Eastern.
  • Additional time might be spent posting assignments and reflections in the virtual classroom.
  • You can add an optional consultation with faculty after the course.




Picture Book Plotting A-Z
Are you ready to do a deep, deep dive into picture book structure? This 5-week intensive with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen features assignments for each letter of the “Picture Book Alphabet” as well as weekly LIVE Zoom sessions for all of your course related questions.

If A is for ARC, and Z is for ZILLIONS, just imagine all of the learning that happens in between! Get ready to read, write, and WORK on all things Picture Book Plot from A to Z!

In this course, you will explore every aspect of picture book plotting, including:

  • Narrative arc: beginnings, middles & endings
  • Components: character, theme, setting, word play, humor, dialogue, description
  • Illustration and page turns
  • Repetition and word play

In addition, you will:

  • Read lessons (Most written, some pre-recorded video)
  • Complete assignments
  • Learn about writing query letters and pitching your picture book
  • Analyze mentor texts
  • Participate in weekly LIVE Zoom Q & A sessions

It is a primarily a self-paced program, with participant engagement happening through our online community forum and weekly Zoom office hours for questions and reflections related to the pre-recorded resources.

There is not a formal manuscript critique during this course, but there will be check-ins and sharing of works-in-progress. Toward the end of the course, one of the assignments is to submit a picture book manuscript that is broken out with page turns (like a dummy without illustration) for discussion.

You will then have the option to add-on a more formal critique following the course and suggested revisions from Sudipta.


  • You want to write picture books. This in-depth course will ensure that you have a thorough understanding of how to plot a compelling picture book.
  • You have written a picture book(s) but aren’t sure it’s ready to submit. Making time for this course means you will learn how to revise and strengthen your story.
  • You’ve written a story for children but have no idea about how to submit it to publishers. This course will give you best practices for revising and submitting your work.
  • You’ve been published in magazines but would like to see your book in print. This course can help you build on your strong writing skills to put together a powerful picture book.


This course takes place over 5 weeks, with new content and assignments released weekly in our virtual classroom. You will have the best experience if you try to keep up with the lessons. There will be weekly live office hours with Sudipta for Q&A on Thursdays at 7pm Eastern that will build on the recorded material.

Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend live sessions, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recorded Q & A session. They’re typically posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through December 31, 2021.


New content and assignments released weekly throughout from October 3-November 4 in our virtual classroom, with 4 LIVE Q & A sessions spread throughout.

Week 1: October 3-9
Topics include: introduction, narrative arc, beginnings & endings, urgency and tension, character

Thursday, October 7: LIVE Zoom Office Hours Session, 7-8 pm Eastern

Week 2: October 10-16
Topics include: dialogue, description, foreshadowing, character problem-solving, hooking the reader, marketing and pitching, humor

Thursday, October 14: LIVE Zoom Office Hours Session, 7-8 pm Eastern

Week 3: October 17-23
Topics include: action, pacing, layout, outlining, analyzing mentor texts

Thursday, October 21: LIVE Zoom Office Hours Session, 7-8 pm Eastern

Week 4: October 24-30
Topics include: Variations on plot constructions, writing good query letters

Thursday, October 28: LIVE Zoom Office Hours Session, 7-8 pm Eastern

Please note: class will not be held the week of October 31-November 6.

Week 5: November 7-13
Topics include: Theme, settings, illustration, using repetition

Thursday, November 11: LIVE Zoom Office Hours Session, 7-9* pm Eastern (please note extended time for group workshopping of picture book drafts)

Following the course, writers will have the opportunity to purchase an optional consultation with Sudipta to discuss one picture book manuscript. After submitting work, a private session will be scheduled via Zoom to review ideas, suggestions, and next steps. The cost for this optional consultation is $125, and will be scheduled within 6 weeks of completing the course.


Picture books are the first entry point for getting children engaged in story, inviting kids to immerse themselves in the stories they hear–and later, the ones they read. This course will help you learn the components of a strong picture book.



Picture Book Word Count, and Other Rules that are Meant to Be Broken
Picture Books: To Rhyme or Not To Rhyme
How Do You Know If You’ve Written a Picture Book?


“Sudipta provided a wealth of information in the coursework and was very generous with her time during office hours. She knows her stuff!”

“Sudipta is a wonderful teacher in person but the online lessons were also great – so much material laid out in a very accessible way. It is clear she put a lot of work and thought into the class.”

“I like the process of getting new information each day, then an assignment, and often an extended lesson with writing cues. Being able to ask questions any time was great; the Thursday night sessions were very informative.”

“Even though we were were not together in person, I felt the facilitator and Sudipta did a great job in making us feel we were a mini family where we could learn and share freely.”

Faculty & Special Guests

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is an award-winning children’s book author whose books include Chicks Rule, The United States vs. Jackie Robinson (2019…
Learn more