Narrative Non-Fiction Picture Books

These are non-fiction picture books written like a story, where the reader doesn’t what to expect next or how the story will end. The reader learns something new while enjoying the picture book.

Linear Stories for Picture Books

Unlike plot-driven stories, linear stories (AKA incident stories) are made up of a series of incidents flowing from one to the next, each incident having about the same weight/importance. The protagonist moves through the incidents without really changing or learning anything. So, linear stories tend to be about typical days in the protagonist’s life, rather than extraordinary days required for a plot. Linear stories are often bookended by a beginning (waking up, arriving at Grandma’s house, leaving for the beach) & an end (going to sleep, leaving Grandma’s, watching the sun set at the beach before going home) to create a satisfying structure. However, linear stories only work if they do something special. The language may be rhythmic & beautiful, the series of events surprising or absurd, or the incidents themselves infused with humor.


This is plot-driven and/or character-driven fiction with beginning/middle/end. Stories where the reader doesn’t know the stories will end. This is what I write!


My picture book, Spearfinger, is about to be released. It is definitely fiction.

Spearfinger, a witch, terrorizes the Cherokees of the Smoky Mountains. No one can stop her. A little boy named Chucha battles her. Can he discover her secrets? Can he put an end to her rampages? http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/charles-suddeth.php

I have a secret

[My dirty little secret: I always sneak horses into my books]

Go for it, Always Dreaming. May you topple Empires.

Preakness, Saturday, May 20, 2017:


Go, Always Dreaming!

Always Dreaming, go just for me,

Stardom and world fame are waiting for thee,

Sounds from the rude stands can’t spoil thy day,

Lulled by thy starlight all will pass thy way,

Always Dreaming, king of mine bet,

Run while I cheer thee onto victory,

Gone are the cares of those behind thee,

Always Dreaming, win one for me!



Hubble: This moon is bound to Dwarf Planet 2007 OR10. The planet is 950 miles across. The moon is about 150 miles – 250 miles in diameter. 2007 OR10 follows an eccentric orbit, but is currently 3 times farther than Pluto from the sun.

Name that dwarf planet. Pick one: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey. (and maybe name the moon)

These two images, taken a year apart, reveal a moon orbiting the dwarf planet
2007 OR10. Each image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3,
shows the companion in a different orbital position around its parent body.
2007 OR10 is the third-largest known dwarf planet, behind Pluto and Eris, and the
largest unnamed world in the solar system. The pair is located in the Kuiper Belt,
a realm of icy debris left over from the solar system’s formation.
The dwarf planet is about 950 miles across; the moon is estimated to be 150 miles
to 250 miles in diameter. 2007 OR10, like Pluto, follows an eccentric orbit, but
it is currently three times farther than Pluto is from the sun.

 I like Bashful, because it was almost impossible to locate.


Eating & Writing

10 (or more) Foods Writers Can’t Live Without

The 10 foods I deem essential to a writer. Not necessarily in this order, but you can’t write without food! Feel free to disagree/add to this list (Eleven Top…?)

  1. Peanut butter: My favorite! Deadline? Eat a PB & J sandwich, keep on keeping on. I call it the writer’s best friend. Peanut butter weaseled its way into more than one of my novels.
  2. Chili: I am widowed, but I used to cook it for my family. Chili is like writing. I never write the same way, & I never fix chili the same way.
  3. Chocolate: I feel sorry for the Europeans before Columbus. No chocolate. Like most writers, I save it for a reward. After I finish a manuscript, or I sign a publishing contract. (When I finish this blog is a good excuse)
  4. Coffee: Why wasn’t this first? What writer doesn’t drink too much coffee? I love to write in coffee shops. Coffee shops usually sneak into my stories.
  5. Ice cream: I really love ice cream, so I seldom keep it at home. What’s this self-control stuff I keep hearing about?
  6. Pumpkin: Pie, bread, vegetable, pumpkin butter with my peanut butter, almost any way. We all have our personal likes that defy explanation, & I have no explanation.
  7. Cornbread: Eating warm cornbread/johnnycakes fresh from the skillet takes me back to childhood. All my stories take place in the south, & cornbread shouts, South!
  8. Cheese: See ice cream to understand why I avoid it. I have a cat who loves it. If I do bring it home, she climbs on me & demands her share. (& gets more than her share)
  9. Pizza: I’m sure no one is shocked by this. I don’t think I ever met anyone who doesn’t like it. And it has worked its way into most of my novels.
  10. Fried green tomatoes: I know; this shouts SOUTH more than anything else. This is a hate it or love it item, but I LOVE it.

I stick food into all my stories, but my editors cut most food references. Stick to the story, they fuss. (Don’t tell them) I sneak some back in. People gotta eat!

8 habits of great authors

(just gear your habits toward your genre/main character)

  1. Think Like your Main Character: If you’re a man writing about a woman, think like a woman. I.e. always be your POV character.
  2. Find the “Emotional Truth” of your character’s experiences: You must know your character’s past and motives & tie them in with others like them, because they will have similar problems, goals etc.
  3. A Good Pop-Culture Reference Goes a Long Way: Music, Stars, TV shows etc. (might use made-up names)
  4. Get Input From Real People: Co-writers, beta readers, critiquers, comments from people similar to your character
  5. Use Slang Words at Your Own Risk: slang mutates too quickly to use in print
  6. Keep It Moving: keep it simple & stay on the plot. I.e. KISS & RUN. (keep it simple stupid & run with the plot)
  7. It’s Okay to get Dark: No genre is off limits anymore.
  8. Find the Kernel of Hope: Even with a sad ending, leave a way out.
    Happy writing to you 

Raven Mocker!

4RV Publishing and I are working on my picture book, Raven Mocker, which will be a bilingual English/Cherokee edition. Unole, a Cherokee boy, tries to fight off Raven Mocker who wants to steal the soul of Unole’s sick mother.

The first task is the English editing. Then the Translator will translate it into Cherokee, and I will assist him in compiling a glossary. Then it goes to the illustrator for illustrating and formatting. Then publication, sometime around the first of the year. Then I take a break.

Author: Charles Suddeth

English Editor: Wayne Harris-Wyrick

Illustrator: Darrenn Canton

Art Director: Aidana WillowRaven

Translator: Tim Nuttle.

Cherokee editor: Lawrence Panther

Children’s Corner Imprint Editor: Renee’ La Viness

Derby Day!

Today (May 6) is the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.  The Run for the Roses.

Go Always Dreaming!

Always Dreaming, go just for me,

Stardom and world fame are waiting for thee,

Sounds from the rude stands can’t spoil thy day,

Lulled by thy starlight all will pass thy way,

Always Dreaming, king of mine bet,

Run while I cheer thee with shouts of praise,

Gone are the cares of those behind thee,

Always Dreaming, win one for me!