Photo by Ruben & Sophie Bialon on Unsplash

After publishing four children’s books and writing 15 or so other children’s stories that have yet to published, I have finally found a good system that works for me.

This is not a technical guide to publishing or story writing.

This is a way to take the guess work out of mapping out your children’s picture book.

Since the only place I like fluff is on my dog, let’s dive right in.

This is exactly how I wrote my last book, and how I intend to write them going forward.

I made a template in Pages

While I call this a template, it is really just a numbered list. You can easily make this in Pages, Word, Open Office or similar word processing programs. You can also use pen and paper.

Number Your Document 1–32

These numbers represent pages. You need your book to be 32 pages for a couple of reasons that are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Just stick to 32 pages in the beginning.

Beside the numbers, label as follows:

Page 1 — Title + Author/Illustrator Credit + Copyright Statement + ISBN

Page 2 — Blank

Page 3 — Dedication

Page 4 — Blank

Pages 5 through 27 — Story

Page 28 — Blank

Page 29 — Ending Image/The End Statement

Page 30 — Blank

Page 31 — Author’s Note + Other Books

Page 32 — Blank

How This Helped Me

By knowing exactly how many pages I had to work with, I was able to make sure my main character visited supporting characters equally and my character’s reflection scenes always land on the same page.

This makes the books familiar to young readers even when they are new.

Having this plan makes me feel like I know exactly what I am doing when I’m writing. I know exactly where I am going because of this list that takes only a moment to make.

It’s my hope that this bit of structure will give you the feeling of safety it gives me.

This post originally appeared in 2018

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