One Writer’s Journey

March 24, 2015

Picture Books: Mentor Texts

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:48 am
Tags: , ,

Mentor textsIf you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I’m a fan of using mentor texts.  A mentor text is a book that you use as a guide in one particular aspect of your own writing.

You might use Wolfie the Bunny as a mentor for including a chorus in your picture book.

Graceling is an excellent example of how to include a plot twist.

The Shattering has the best unrealiable narrator that I’ve ever encountered.

Any and all of Sharon Shinn’s texts are excellent examples of character description.  By the end of the book you KNOW what this character looks like but it is fed to you in dribs and dabs.

Need a lyrical text?  Look at Jane Yolen’s books.

But sometimes you chose a mentor text and it just doen’t work.  That was the case when I looked at Home by Caron Ellis as an example of how to bring my picture book ending home.  Ellis makes her book on varied home work by ending it at her own home.  Get it?  She brings it home.  I know.  It sounds corny but it really works.

I’d tried something similar with my prayer book.  But no one who read the new ending liked it.  It felt disjointed.  Compared to the rest of the book, it felt narrow.  And the really funny part?  After reading my manuscript, someone recommended that I read Home.  Been there.  Done that.  Have the draft to prove it.

Mentor texts are a great way of learning what can work in a story but sometimes they are just as valuable for teaching you what doesn’t.




1 Comment »

  1. […] the past when I’ve written about using mentor texts, here and here, I was talking about picture book writing.  For those of you who may not remember, a mentor text […]

    Pingback by Mentor texts | One Writer's Journey — June 16, 2015 @ 1:24 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: