I've never been an outliner, not for novels, and certainly not for picture books. Who has ever heard of outlining a picture book? That's just weird, right?
I tried for years to write picture books and never had success (or a plot, or character development - just ask my former critique groups). I worked through revision after revision and story after story (and so did my wonderful critique groups). I vowed I would NEVER write another picture book ... I was only going to write novels. (Remember that? Ha!)
Recently, I've been rethinking my stance on outlines for novels. I've also been working on my picture book portfolio, which is a little scary, because the requests I get are usually for images that don't have a story behind them. Going forward, all the picture book images in my portfolio need to have a story attached to them, whether it's one of my stories or a retelling (3 Little Pigs, Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.). So now I have to write picture books again.
Which brings me back to outlines. If I'm going to write PBs, even if they are just for my art portfolio, I'd like them to be good, or at least not embarrassing. How do I make sure my PBs have a plot, character development, and all that other cool stuff? By outlining.
Really? Yes. I'm going to outline my picture books.
Maybe it will be easier if I start with one of my old picture book ideas. I wrote an outline! The story has a shiny new plot! There are new characters! Action that builds; it's not just episodic! There are lots of illustration possibilities (even more than before)! Hooray!
Outlines for picture books ROCK!
Now I just have to write it ... that's the easy part, right?