The Secret Formula to Writing Picture Books

I recently received an email from someone, and here it is:

My writer’s group is focusing on picture books for a challenge. I’d like to stay in touch with you — you certainly have found the secret formula!!

I really do wish there were a secret formula. I could mix up a batch and then skip the whole creative process of starting with a great kernel of an idea and trying to shape it into a 32 page book that must have a beginning, middle and end.
I could drink down that secret formula and write metaphors and similies and always remember which is which.
I could slather it all over my head and let it soak into my brain and then write seemingly simple (beginning writers note I wrote seemingly simple) and brilliant books like Olivia and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.
Actually, there is a secret formula. Do you want to know what it is? Tell me what you think it is, and I will reveal my secret formula!

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