PICTURE BOOK FOCUS Add Oomph to Your Picture Book Climax with a PAUSE

In this featureNatascha Biebow shares tips on how to strengthen
the climactic turning point in your picture book

Are you good at telling jokes? If you are, or know someone who is, you’ll also know that what makes a good joke teller is the PAUSE. Like this:

What do you call a pig that knows karate? . . .  

Here, the joke-teller pauses looks around the audience for effect and then waits for them to envision the outcome.

Then, only then, do they deliver the punch line.

A pork chop!

An effective picture book climax works in much the same way:

The story builds up to a moment of PAUSE . . .

The looking-round-the-audience, envisioning-the-outcome-moment is the page turn, and the punch line corresponds to the last few spreads of plot resolution that follow the climactic turning point.

This pause can be achieved in a number of ways:

SHHH! I'm Reading! by John Kelly & Elina Ellis

Mrs Armitage On Wheels by Quentin Blake

Neon Leon by Jane Clarke and Britta Teckentrup

I Really Want To Eat a Child! by Sylviane Donnio and Dorothee de Monfreid
Tiz and Ott's Big Draw by Bridget Marzo

As you build up the action to the plot point where the stakes are the highest, things are at the worst for the character, and some kind of shift is needed before the resolution, use the pause to create that suspenseful moment. You can try:

Adding a pause to your pacing will help to give your climactic turning point more oomph and keep readers turning the pages to read the punch line ending.  

Natascha Biebow is an experienced editor, mentor and coach, who loves working with authors and illustrators at all levels to help them to shape their storieswww.blueelephantstoryshaping.com 


No comments:

We love comments and really appreciate the time it takes to leave one.
Interesting and pithy reactions to a post are brilliant but we also LOVE it when people just say they've read and enjoyed.
We've made it easy to comment by losing the 'are you human?' test, which means we get a lot of spam. Fortunately, Blogger recognises these, so most, if not all, anonymous comments are deleted without reading.

Words & Pictures is the Online Magazine of SCBWI British Isles. Powered by Blogger.