by Tammi Sauer
For PiBoIdMo 2012, my blog post focused on a variety of ways a writer can structure a picture book.
This time around, I wanted to share a different approach to framing a story.
*drum roll, please*
THE HOW-TO… STRUCTURE
The How-To…Structure offers readers information on, you guessed it, how to do something.
Keep in mind, however, this structure isn’t just a list of bland, disjointed steps for accomplishing a task. Nope. Nope. Nope. These steps (along with the art) need to tell a real deal story. There should be a beginning, middle, and end. There should be characters, conflict, plot, setting…. There should be opportunities for your readers to feel something.
Some good examples of books that use the How-To… Structure are as follows:
Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
So You Want to Be a Rock Star by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds
How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan , illustrated by Lee Wildish
How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth by Michelle Robinison, illustrated by Kate Hindley
Your Challenge: Jot down a few possibilities for some How-To… books of your own. It might help to think in terms of a title. Even easier, just fill in the blanks to the prompts below and see where they take you.
Guide to Being a ________
The __________ Handbook
This is what happened when I just filled in those blanks:
How to Catch a Dragon
Guide to Being a Big Brother
The Pirate’s Handbook
Extra Credit: Analyze the picture books I mentioned earlier in this post. How did those authors incorporate the How-To…Structure? Do you see some sort of story arc in these books? Did you notice any special word play? The rule of threes? What did you find particularly satisfying in those books?
Happy brainstorming, everybody!
Tammi Sauer is the author of Nugget & Fang, Princess in Training, and many other picture books. She has another eleven under contract. Her latest manuscript sold at auction. It followed the How to…Structure. Ooh.
Tammi is giving away a signed copy of Nugget & Fang which won the 2014 Oklahoma Book Award, made the 2014 Texas 2X2 Reading List, and will be one of the featured books at the 2015 Scholastic Book Fair. Nugget & Fang was a PiBoIdMo 2009 Success Story.
Tammi will also give a picture book critique to another lucky duck winner.
These prizes will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for these prizes if:
- You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
- You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post.
- You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)
Good luck, everyone!