Art,  Smart Dummies

Planning Out Your Pages

Note: I will not be doing a book review this week (and possibly next week) because I have several things I want to get ready for Smart Dummies this year! Interested in a critique group this year? (Survey closes September 5th and is on a first come first served basis).

Before you start planning out your pages, I’m going to refer you to Marla Lesage’s post about Picture book Length: It’s important to know how long you want to make your story before you separate it out. This is for picture books, but a lot of the books you will be writing will use one of these templates. Creating a longer book? Make sure that the number of pages that you are creating are divisible by 8. 

This year I’m doing Cinderella. I will be using the Cinderella published by George Routledge and Sons as an example. You can read the story here in many formats:

While I will always strongly suggest that you have a fully finished text before you start planning out pages. Sometimes you wont have that text because you are working on a wordless book or you just work better visually. If this is you then you might want write down the important plot points and then separate these into pages and spreads.

A spread is 2 pages put together. When you have a book open in front of you those two pages are a spread.

Important Plot Points for Cinderella

The numbers by the plot points indicate the number of spreads I’d use for each of these plot points.




      1. Cinderella’s father remarries. (1/2 spread)
      2. Cinderella’s step mother and sisters are mean to her. (1/2 spread)
      3. The prince announces there will be a ball so he can find a wife. (1 spread)
      4. Cinderella told she’s not allowed to go to the ball which upsets her. (1 spread)
      5. Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appears and gives her everything she needs for the ball (Cinderella must be back by midnight). (2 spreads)
      6. Cinderella meets the prince at the first ball. Because she’s so punctual  getting home the Fairy Godmother is happy to let her go to the next ball. (1.5 spreads)
      7. The princess (Cinderella) at the ball is mysterious and everyone talks about her. (1.5 spreads)
      8. Cinderella falls in love with the prince at the second ball. (1 spread)
      9. Cinderella forgets about the time and rushes out of the ball at the last minute leaving her glass slipper. (1.5 spreads)
      10. Cinderella comes back in rags with only one glass slipper. (1/2 spreads)
      11. The prince looks for Cinderella with the one lost slipper. (1 spread)
      12. The slipper fits and Cinderella has the other slipper. (1.5 spreads)
      13. The prince and Cinderella live happily ever after. (1/2 spread)



This version differs a bit from the Disney version. You can already start to see how you can break down this story into 14.5 spreads and 13 plot points. I have the number of spreads I would use in the right hand column to show you how this story would be divided 

If you have a manuscript you can write the pages/spreads directly on your manuscript. You can also go to page 18 of your booklet and write 3-4 words under each thumbnail describing the scene you are creating. This will help you visually plot things out. For some pages you are going to want to use 2 pages (or a full-spread) for creating your image. Make sure those two pages are next to each other in your thumbnails. 

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