What’s the most awesome part of your story? Do more of that.
What’s the least fun part of your story? Do less of that.
I remember the epiphany of sitting in a workshop when people told me that they wanted more of the cool part of my story. Or all that boring stuff at the beginning that I thought I needed to “set up” the cool part. They didn’t want that at all.
And you know what else is awesome? Usually the awesome part that you get to make longer is the fun part to write.
Do it. Go write something awesome. If you want, here’s a prompt…
Today, a dragon has followed Eric home from school. He wants to keep it, but his parents might not let him.
The most boring way to continue the story would be to have Eric tell his parents about the dragon and to then try and convince them about how he’s responsible blah blah blah.
Especially for picture books, stories are told through action. What’s something awesome he could do with the dragon to SHOW that he’s responsible? Or maybe he wants to try and hide the three-hundred-foot-long-lizard under his porch.
Whatever he tries to do, zoom in, and make that moment longer. Maybe come up with six or seven ideas, choose the coolest one, and then go crazy with it. The farther you go, the cooler it might become. You can always reel it in afterwards.