The other day, I watched an old panel discussion of famous novelists whose books have been turned into successful films. YouTube is full of old treasures like these. Between writing, revising, and laundry— hanging out with these writers (all of them now gone) is my favorite sort of break.
Not one of the writers on this panel wrote their novels’ film adaptations. One, Kurt Vonnegut, said he simply couldn’t because writing a novel is what he does best and writing a screenplay is too different.
It occurred to me that while many think they could write picture books, few who try actually write true picture books. Vignettes, shorter short stories, a scene--- all pass for picture book texts in the eyes of beginning writers. True picture books are something different.
True picture book texts are poetry, rhyming or not. In addition, they are screenplays, where the main action is told in images. They also require the skill of flash-fiction writing, as the word count tops up at 600-800 words. Unlike this blog post, it shouldn’t use passive construction. The story must be layered and complete.
I’m almost certain Kurt Vonnegut would have said he couldn’t write a picture book.