Programs

Non-Traditional Picture Book Structure (A Two-Night Mini Course)

January 23 - 25, 2023

OVERVIEW:

A Two-Night Mini Mini Online Course

Picture book journeys aren’t one size fits all, and that’s a good thing! Join children’s book author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and literary agent Rachel Orr to celebrate alternative approaches to picture book structures. This program is a great fit if you’re looking for a short course of two, 75-minute sessions offering limited interaction with the community, but loads of information.

  • Monday, January 23, 2023 (7pm – 8:15pm EST)
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023 (7pm – 8:15pm EST)
  • Webinar-style program with closed captioning available and limited interaction in the chat
  • Optional post-course critique opportunity available for an additional cost

FEEDBACK EXPECTED:

  • None included in the course. There will be limited interaction in the chat feature of the webinar-style program.
  • An optional, post-course critique opportunity is available for $125 for a picture book manuscript (up to 800 words). You will be contacted within 4 – 6 weeks of your submission with comments. Details will be released during the final night of the course.

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Picture books vary in topic, style, and genre. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to plotting your picture book, either.
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In this short course, children’s book author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and literary agent Rachel Orr will cover:

  • An overview of picture book approaches, including concept books, “slices of life” books, holiday books, biographies and other non-narrative nonfiction
  • What is a “traditional” plot and why
  • Contemporary stand-outs that twist the traditional structure
  • How to decide what model is best for your project
  • What exactly is a high concept book (and how do you figure out if that’s how you should be pitching your project?)
  • Considerations from the author (creative!)
  • Considerations from the agent (business!)

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You are starting out as a picture book author or author/illustrator looking for beginning information about structuring your picture book.
  • You are a picture book author or author/illustrator who has already written books with traditional plots and you are looking to expand your repertoire.
  • You are considering writing a picture book for children and want to learn more.
  • You’re looking for something short, sweet, and smart! This is not a full workshop, instead it is two, 75-minute sessions meant to engage and build your knowledge of the picture book form.

TENTATIVE AGENDA:

At registration: You will receive a Zoom link to use each night of the course.

Part One: Monday, January 23, 2023 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)

  • Picture Books: An Overview
    • What is considered “traditional” in picture book plot
    • Concept Books to Biography (and everything in between)
  • “Non-traditional” approaches to picture books

Part Two: Wednesday, January 25 (7pm-8:15pm EST)

  • High concept: What is it?
  • Texts & Models: A Showcase of Examples
  • How to decide what approach is best for your project
    • Considerations from an author
    • Considerations from an agent
  • Q&A
  • Information about optional critiques

Optional After the Course Critique: An optional, post-course critique opportunity is available for $125 for a picture book manuscript (up to 800 words). You will be contacted within 4 – 6 weeks of your submission with comments. Details will be released during the final night of the course.

Please note:
If you’re unable to attend either session for any reason, you’ll have access to the recordings (with closed captioning) through February 28, 2023.

HOW IT IMPACTS KIDS:

Some stories can use non-traditional plot structures to spark children’s imaginations and inspire them.  This two-night mini workshop can help you discover what your story needs.

Why do we mention this? Learn about the Highlights Foundation mission.

RELATED RESOURCES:

Picture Book Word Count, and Other Rules that are Meant to Be Broken

How Do You Know If You’ve Written a Picture Book?

Short and Easy, Right? How Hard Can It Be to Write a Picture Book?

3 Tips for Writing Funny Picture Books

Nonfiction Picture Books: Get it Right with Research

Faculty

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

Rachel Orr

Rachel Orr is celebrating her fifteenth year at Prospect Agency, where she represents both authors and illustrators in projects ranging…
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$59.00