Why Storyboards Are Great Tools for Picture Book Writers with C.A. Henderson

children’s books, authors, writers, writers groups, tools
Christine Henderson
Why Storyboards Are Great Tools for Picture Book Writers

I’d like to welcome Christine Henderson to Thyme for Writers. Christine enjoys writing about family life. Her writings have been featured in numerous anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Heaven Touching Earth as well as The Secret Place Devotional guide.

Why Storyboards Are Great Tools for Picture Book Writers

by Christine A. Henderson

children’s books, authors, writers, writers groups, tools, storyboards, Thyme for Writers, Christine Henderson
Why Storyboards Are Great Tools for Picture Book Writers

I brought a new picture book story to my children’s writers’ group meeting and asked for their assistance in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the story. They all liked the unique plot and the characters but they thought the story was too long. For those of you who write novels, it’s probably hard to imagine that 900 words is too long to tell a story. However, these days 800 words tends to be the max length that publishers want to see.

Being inquisitive and stubborn, I really didn’t think I needed to shorten my story. Surely, new books had at least that many words or more. To test my theory, I went to my local Barnes & Nobles and picked up an assortment of new books that I thought fit my story idea concepts. Sad to say, that word count rang true. Most pages had an average of two to five lines of text with an upper end of nine words per line. The books were 24 or 32 pages with at least two of those pages either being blank or showing the publishing details and acknowledgements.

So it was back to the drawing board – literally. I had imagined a storyboard in my head with the images previously, but now I wanted to put it on paper. Not being a great artist, I drew my stick figures with a bracketed scene description below each drawing. Now I started adding the text. Once I did that, I could see what words weren’t needed because the picture showed that part of the story. It was easy to chop 100 or more words. The story hasn’t lost its plotline, but now it flows better with the images.

Another reason to do a storyboard for a picture book is to see if you have a short story, rather than a picture book. If your storyline takes place in just one or two scenes, it may not be a picture book because there aren’t enough options for illustrations. If that is the case, perhaps you could incorporate that story in a book of stories or submit it to one of the many children’s magazines who accept short stories.

You may contact Christine at:



Appalachian Mountains, RT Book Reviews, Shaker series, writer, author, romance, Thyme for Writers
Ann H. Gabhart
These Healing HIlls

Ann Gabhart is our guest today on Thyme for Writers. Ann is the bestselling author of over thirty novels, has been called a storyteller. That’s not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. Ann’s historical novels have Kentucky backgrounds like her popular Shaker series and her new release, These Healing Hills set in Appalachia. She also writes about family life, love and sometimes mystery (as A.H. Gabhart) in small towns like her Kentucky hometown. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and enjoy life out on the farm.


by Ann H. Gabhart

Appalachian Mountains, RT Book Reviews, Shaker series, writer, author, romance, Thyme for Writers
Thyme for Writers
Ann H. Gabhart, Guest

Here we are almost to November, a month of thanksgiving when we consider our blessings. At my little country church, each Sunday we take a few minutes to mention blessings. Sometimes these are what you might think of as everyday blessings. Things like sunshine and rain. Birds and flowers. A child’s smile. A good sermon. An appreciated card. Being alive. So many reasons to be thankful. A good day at work. A restful night’s sleep. Maybe a baby sleeping through the night for the first time. A new rosebush. An old rosebush blooming.

These days we’re also blessed with numerous electronic ways to be entertained. At least I think that’s a blessing. Not long ago, I came across an article about how we are swamped with electronic means to avoid the uneasy condition of being bored. You’ve seen people with a phone in their hand continually. We can watch movies and shows with the touch of a finger on various devices. We keep up with what everybody else is doing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter while sharing our own doings.

But if we continually look to some device to keep us entertained, we lose those times when our minds are just idling. Times when we might be bored. But those times might be our best daydream opportunities when our thoughts can wander while new ideas surface.

When I started writing for publication, I had two young children, so time was at a premium. That was back in the dark ages before clothes came out of the dryer ready to wear. I had to iron every week. Trust me, nothing is much more boring than pressing a pile of pants and shirts. Yet, at the same time, while my hands were busy with smoothing out wrinkles, my thoughts could take flight. I had time to think up story ideas and imagine characters I might want to meet on my writing page.

Appalachian Mountains, RT Book Reviews, Shaker series, writer, author, romance, Thyme for Writers
These Healing Hills
by Ann H. Gabhart

Of course, you don’t have to pull out the ironing board to have quiet time for creative thoughts. How about sitting on the back deck as the sun comes up and letting your thoughts meander? For my new book, These Healing Hills, I let my mind wander right over to the Appalachian Mountains as I considered the history of the Frontier Nursing Service. Then my character, Francine, showed up to take those mountain trails to being a midwife. One thought led to another and on until soon my fingers were on the keyboard coming up with yet one more story.

A person needs quiet moments now and again and a little boredom never hurt anybody. Unless of course you grew up on a farm and made the mistake of telling your dad you were bored. Then you might find yourself out in the field picking up rocks or chopping thistles! So hope you have some restful moments this Thanksgiving season to gather your thoughts, count your blessings and come up with some great new ideas.

To find out more about Ann’s books and to check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, visit www.annhgabhart.com. You can also join in the conversation on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart or Twitter@AnnHGabhart.

When Francine’s plans for her future fall apart at the close of World War II, she discovers new purpose as a nurse midwife in the beautiful Kentucky Appalachian Mountains. Will she also find healing and perhaps discover the birth of new love? RT Book Reviews says, “Gabhart’s latest historical novel intrigues, inspires and entertains. . . Humor, grace and, of course, romance give the characters life and breath, and the message of faith is gently organic and sincere.” These Healing Hills is available at bookstores or online book sites. Find more information about the story and buy links at http://www.annhgabhart.com/books/these-healing-hills/