Picture Book Revision Checklist

I am compiling a picture book checklist, to make sure I cover all my bases during revisions. Over the years I’ve collected suggestions and ideas from others and have added a few of my of my own.

PB Revision Checklist

  • Does the plot have a clear beginning, middle, and end?
  • Does the beginning jump right into the action?
  • What does the character want?
  • What is standing in her way?
  • What is at stake? What happens if she doesn’t get what she wants?
  • Is it from a child’s perspective?
  • Does the main character solve his own problem?
  • Did you leave room for the illustrator?
  • Remove unnecessary words. The sweet spot for fiction is under 500.
  • Check for passive language. Use strong nouns and verbs.
  • Do the characters have distinct personalities?
  • Read it aloud. Record yourself or have someone read it to you.
  • Does it make you FEEL something?
  • Print it out. Change the font.
  • Check for fun, lyrical language.
  • Create a dummy.
  • Swap critiques with a couple friends.
  • Get a paid critique from an author, agent, or editor.
  • Let it sit for a couple weeks. Come back to it with fresh eyes.
  • Repeat the steps above as needed.
  • Have three polished manuscripts ready before submitting.

This checklist is still a work in progress. What would you add to the list?