Anastasia Suen

Developmental Editor

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Nonfiction Picture Book Workshop

The Nonfiction Picture Book Workshop is back!


I’ve updated all of the Nonfiction Picture Book Workshop lessons
and added them to the Intensive Picture Book Workshop.

Work with a developmental editor for 8 weeks to write the first draft of
your nonfiction picture book and revise it twice.

You will free write the first draft (panster), select a story arc (plotter), and then rewrite (panster) and revise (plotter) your picture book manuscript twice.

All of the writing lessons, goal worksheets, and critique worksheets are on a private site. After you sign up, I will send you a password.

There are 70+ lessons on the site.

  • There are lessons for preschool concept books.
  • There are lessons for picture book biographies.
  • There are lessons for information books.

Choose the lessons that match your manuscript.

Intensive Picture Book Workshop Syllabus:

  1. Story Goals: What are your 5 goals for this story? (Ideas) Due first day
  2. Story Topic: What topics does the story cover? (Ideas) Free write.
  3. Story Theme: What is the story’s emotional message? (Ideas) Free write.
  4. Story Pitch: What happens in Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3? (Organization) Free write.
  5. Story Arc: How do the main character’s emotions change? OR Which idea patterns do you use?* (Organization) Finish the first draft and select a story arc.
  6. Storyboard: How is the story paced page by page in a picture book? (Organization) Send in the first revised draft and a storyboard.
  7. Point-of-View: Does the story have a single narrator? (Voice)
    = Send in the second revised manuscript.
  8. Wrapping Up: Final Manuscript Questions + Goals Review Due last day

Please note: This is a STORY CRITIQUE. If you are writing in rhyme, I will help you with the meter in a Rhyming Picture Book WIP Scanning Critique.

Q. What is a free write?
A. A free write draft is the draft you write to figure out your story. You simply let the words pour out onto the page day after day until you reach “the end” of your book.

Be a Panster: Sit your pants in the chair and get those words on the page. Write whatever comes to mind without letting the editor in your head say, “This won’t work!” Just let the words come.

Be a Plotter and answer the guiding question for each critique step worksheet. Let your planning (and the new ideas you learn in the lessons in the modules) feed your muse so you can write.

Q. Do I have to write the first draft from beginning to end?
A. NO. Write the scenes in the order that they come to you — every day — so you can finish the book before you select a story arc for module 5.

Q. Is it okay if I have already started writing my book?
A. YES. Just keep writing until you reach the end.

Q. Do I have to write ALL of my first draft?
A. YES. After the story is out of your head and on the page, you will know what the book needs to say on the very first page to “set up” the story. (You can’t set up the book if you don’t know what is going to happen yet.)

Be a Panster: Write ALL of the first draft in modules 1-5.
Be a Plotter: After you select a story arc for module 5, decide what you need to “set up” your picture book. Then write 2 NEW drafts.

Q. Why do you want me to write two NEW drafts of my picture book?
A. For module 6, write a new draft of your picture book and send it in with a storyboard (a page by page “outline” of the action in your story) so I can critique the Big Picture in your storyboard.

After the storyboard critique, write another draft of your picture book for module 7 and send it in for a manuscript critique.

Q. Why do I need to find 3 book comps?
A. Editors compare your book to other books like yours as a standard part of the acquisitions process at many publishing houses. So we start with your 3 book comps to make sure your is unique. (If your book is not unique in some way, why will anyone buy it?)

Q. How long can the manuscript be? Is there a page limit?
A. There is a 1,000 word limit for picture books as that is the industry standard.

Q. How long will it take you to critique my picture book?
A. I will critique your picture book within two business days. (I write my own books first thing in the morning and work one-on-one with individual writers in the afternoon Monday through Friday.)

Q. Can I ask questions about the suggestions you made on the manuscript?
A. Yes. In the final session of the workshop, we can discuss any questions you have about the manuscript suggestions I made. We will also review the goals you set for this manuscript.

May 3 – June 21, 2017
Intensive Picture Book Workshop
$299 USD

If you’re ready to keep working on the manuscript AFTER the workshop:

Still have questions? See the Workshop FAQ or email me.

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up


Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up
by Jennifer Swanson (Author)

Booktalk: Take a close-up look at sports and nanotechnology, the cutting-edge science that manipulates objects at the atomic level. Nanotechnology is used to create high-tech swimsuits, tennis rackets, golf clubs, running shoes, and more. It is changing the face of sports as we know it.

Snippet: What do Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, Michelle Wie, and Usain Bolt have in common? All of their equipment was made with nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is the science of things at the nanoscale. It deals with microscopic particles called nanoparticles. Most people measure things in terms of meters or feet. Nanotechnology engineers measure objects in nanometers. Nano- means “one-billionth,” so a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.


Meet Jennifer Swanson (and me!) at the Cool Science panel at the ALA Annual Book Buzz stage 10:30 – 11:15 on Saturday, June 25. We’ll talk about bringing contemporary subjects and science in action to classrooms and libraries.

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead
by Michelle Markel (Author) and LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

Booktalk: In the 1950s, it was a man’s world. Girls weren’t supposed to act smart, tough, or ambitious. Even though, deep inside, they may have felt that way. And then along came Hillary. Brave, brilliant, and unstoppable, she was out to change the world.

They said a woman couldn’t be a mother and a lawyer. Hillary was both. They said a woman shouldn’t be too strong or too smart. Hillary was fearlessly herself.

It didn’t matter what people said—she was born to lead.

Snippet: She wasn’t frightened of the crowds and cameras and reporters. But she couldn’t believe how people criticized her–in ways they’d never criticize a man.

They said her headbands were too casual and her attitude was too feisty. An ex-president said a First Lady shouldn’t be too strong or too smart. Others called her “the Hillary problem”–and a lot worse things than that.

June 06, 2016, 08:29:04 PM EDT AP report


Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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