All written communication presents challenges. For example, many of us have had a well-intentioned email message land wrong.
Printed words must stand alone, without body language, facial expression, tone of voice. Printed words presented to a stranger lack the context of personally shared history.
Picture books are written for children. Obviously, the audience lacks mature language development. There is limited leeway for elaboration. Attention spans have shortened, the demands on parents have increased. Modern picture books presenting fictional stories have only about 500 words.
Without illustrations, the manuscript must stand on its own.
Is it any wonder, then, that writing picture books requires ample patience and perseverance, plus a strong dose of kind, encouraging community input? "This is working well. This is unclear. What about trying it another way?"
Patience, perseverance, community, pulling together to produce strong, elegant, economical communication.
The purpose of the psychological reports I write is to help the student, teachers, and family understand and address a challenging situation. The issues are complex, but the report must be clear and practical. The report must be meaningful TO THEM, or it is worthless.
When writing picture books, similar considerations apply. What am I trying to give the future reader? How can I make it clear and meaningful?
To improve our report writing, school psychologists in my area meet to discuss the conditions we evaluate and practice skills for writing "user-friendly" reports. We learn from each other by helping each other. Everyone's skills improve!
When writing picture books, I meet with fellow writers in critique groups. We learn from each other by helping each other. Everyone's skills improve!