Have you heard of New In 19? They're a group made up of debut trade picture book authors and illustrators of 2019. I was invited to moderate a #NewIn19 Twitter chat with the members back in October. I'll be sharing a post each day this week using the five questions from the chat. (View other questions through the NewIn19 keyword.) Today I've collected a number of screenshots from the chat in which writers share their favorite ways to "break the rules" of writing children's books. Plus, Vivian Kirkfield shares her rule-breaking tip!
I've included a link to the #NewIn19 archive here for my third question, What writing rule do you love to break?
These writers break tense and break sentence conventions.
And these write in rhyme and break formula.
These three love their prepositions so much that they put them first.
Sometimes working visually before words is the key.
And other times sticky notes and scribbles are the place the story needs to live and breath.
Perhaps the best takeaway for us all here is that some rules guide, some rules warn, and others give the opportunity to rebel.
What rules do you break? Which, if any, have helped you and your writing? Share in the comments below!
I love to break the rule of writing the entire rough draft before polishing one part. For me, the opening lines are so very important. They are my way into the story, just like they are the way into the story for the reader. And so, after I’ve done my research, I spend a lot of time creating just the right opening lines. Once I have them, I write the rest of the manuscript. Sometimes, during revision, I do need to change or refine those opening lines, but for many of my stories, the first line I originally wrote remained the first line of the manuscript that was bought.
Contributors to This Post:
Vivian Kirkfield has paved her career path with picture books. During her college years, she shelved them at a children’s library and as a kindergarten teacher, she read them with her students. But her goal has always been to help kids become lovers of books and reading. She is the author of Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House, Feb 2019)); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (Pomegranate, March 2019); Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books, May, 2019); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); and From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020). Vivian lives in the quaint New England village of Amherst, New Hampshire where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner. You can visit her website at Picture Books Help Kids Soar where she reviews picture books, interviews authors, and hosts the #50PreciousWords Challenge for writers.