Teacher Friendly Picture Book Structures

As a writer and an educator, I love experimenting with new approaches that could make my stories and lessons stronger.  The article, “7 Ways to Structure Your Picture Book,” by Brian A. Klems gives seven picture book structures that are appealing to educators.

I hope you find this article as helpful and creatively inspiring as I did!



A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words

Hello everyone! 

We’ve all heard the phrase, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” but is that a true statement?  Your challenge for the next two weeks is to write a story (1,000 word minimum) based off of one or all of the pictures below.

If you are having trouble starting your story, try writing a very detailed description about what you see.  Then, start asking questions: What just happened? What is happening now? What will happen next? Where is this person/place/thing? Why is this person/place/thing this way? etc.

Happy writing!


Egg with Message

falling off a cliff

giant basket

Novel Writing: The Snowflake Method

Hello everyone!

I have found that stretching myself as a writer is a painfully fun activity.  “The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel” by Randy Ingermanson is a thought provoking article.

Before I read the article, I had never heard of the Snowflake Method.  After reading “The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel,” I feel it would be worthwhile for me to incorporate some, but not all, of the steps from the Snowflake Method into the way I plan a novel.  My advice is read the article and, as Mr. Ingermanson wrote, “decide what might work for you, and ignore the rest!”

You can read the full article here: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/


Disclaimer: My posting the link above is not an endorsement for Snowflake Pro.

Fools and Politics

Hello everyone!

In the spirit of April Fools’ Day and politics, elect one of the following five prompts to start your next story.

  1. “You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.” – Laurence J. Peter

Samantha’s stopped looking at me.  She nods to something behind me.  I turn around.  June is staring at me; her face is bright red.  I shut my mouth.  Probably the smartest thing I’ve done all morning.


  1. “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin

Charles tapped the side of his leg impatiently.  Where was this going?  Bruce had told him all this before and the conversation always ended with both of them being offended.


  1. “You’ve got to learn to accept the fool in you as well as the part that’s got it goin’ on.” – Tyra Banks

Claire climbed into her “practical,” used car.  It was ugly.  She’d thought so when she bought it, but it got great gas mileage which, according to the dealer, was just one of its many desirable qualities.

“What this car lacks in looks, it makes up for in trunk space.”  That’s what the dealer had told her.  What he’d left out was that the air-conditioning didn’t work and the radio randomly changed stations whenever the car went over 40 mph.  Since it had been a fall purchase, she hadn’t thought to check the air-conditioning and she hadn’t driven above 25 mph during the quick test drive.

Why didn’t I take Max with me?


  1. “A wise man fights to win, but he is twice a fool who has no plan for possible defeat.” – Louis L’Amour

He looked at the TV screen, shocked.  They’d lost.  He’d lost.  While his friends complained about the game’s disappointing outcome, Zack chewed the inside of his lip.  What would Benny say when Zack told him he didn’t have the $1,000?


  1. “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

The two armies were drawn up, waiting for the signal to begin their attack.  Albrecht tried not to think about them as he moved silently among the trees.  He’d grown up in these woods.  Everything was familiar, except the two armies waiting to eradicate each other.  Noon.  He had until noon.

Happy writing!