Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to mock up a picture book

If you've taken a class with Darcy Pattison, you know she gives great advice. The author of 19 GIRLS AND ME and two picture books about Oliver K. Woodman explains here why--and how--to make a dummy.
Why Make a Dummy?

Picture books combine text and words in a short 32 page book. The structure is so unusual, that you need a dummy to refine and polish your text. It can tell you which section of text is too long, let you look at pacing of the story across the pages, help you spot needless repetitions and much more.

How to Make a Dummy

* Take 16 sheets of typing paper and staple along one side. You may use either a portrait or a landscape orientation, your choice. Some like cutting the paper in half and using 8.5″ x 6.5″, in a landscape orientation. The late Sue Alexander recommended using brightly colored typing paper to simulate art and text better.
* Number the pages in the bottom corners, if you wish. It will begin with a single right-hand page as page 1, and end with a single left-hand page as page 32.
* Now, get out the scissors! Cut and tape your text into the dummy. Put the title on page 1, but leave pages 2-3 blank, as these are usually front matter, such as copyright page, half title page, or dedication. Now, you have a choice: you can start your text on page 4, for a double page spread, or just on the right-hand page 5. After that, the text should lay out across the full 32 pages.

If you have an author’s note or other back matter (glossary, sources, etc, such as for a non-fiction story), you’ll need to reserve a couple pages for that at the end.

Read the rest.

Note: I do this with picture books, too, although I use PowerPoint to create a slide show. It's not safe at my house to take out scissors and glue--it always causes an eruption of children's craft projects. The PowerPoint method works best if you envision two-page spreads for your text.

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