Most picture books are made up of 16 spreads. A “spread” is both pages of an open book.
To represent the spreads, draw sixteen rectangles on a piece of paper, using four rectangles per row. Draw a line down the middle of each rectangle to divide them into 2 squares. These represent the picture book pages with text and illustration (usually 32 pages).
Rectangles 1 – 4 represent the beginning. Introduce characters, the setting, the character’s want, the conflict.
Rectangles 5 – 11 represent the middle of your picture book. Introduce other characters (most picture books should have 2 – 3 characters), action, and complications. Rectangle 12 is the crisis or climax page.
Rectangles 13 – 16 represent the ending. Examine the character’s feelings and solve the story problem. Include a physical resolution and an emotional resolution.
You can fill in the squares with sticky notes and move them around, if needed. This technique will help you visualize your story.