I met Merrily for the first time at this year's SCBWI National conference. Pretty, kind, and fun, Merrily was a blast to hang out with. Not only is she a poet, she teaches writing classes at UCLA extension. I asked her to give us a writing tip of the day. She gave us two, one from her and one from our dear departed Sue Alexander.
The best tip I ever got was from Sue Alexander: Type out 5-10 pages of your favorite picture books in manuscript format. Now analyze what the artist chose to illustrate. Check to see what actions or words were illustrated and what was told only in the pictures.