Tuesday, August 4th, 2015


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To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

Many middle grade and YA authors debate whether or not to include a prologue when beginning their manuscripts. Prologues are sections of story that precede the first chapter, similar to an introduction, but their sequencing in relationship to the following chapter(s) is not necessarily chronological. Often structured as a flash forward or flash back, a […]

The Promise of Your Story

The Promise of Your Story

We’ve been zeroing in on the unique craft elements of beginnings – opening pages, scenes and chapters – in the Children’s Book Hub over the past few weeks.  One of the most important elements to consider is the promise of your story.  What is your story really about? What will it say on the dust […]

Is it a Chapter Book or Middle Grade?

Is it a Chapter Book or Middle Grade?

What’s the difference between a middle grade novel and a chapter book? The lines can often seem blurry – but the truth is that each is a unique format in children’s publishing. The table below clarifies the essential but often subtle differences between the two:   MIDDLE GRADE CHAPTER BOOKS AUDIENCE Reader is usually between […]

Is it YA or Adult Fiction?

Is it YA or Adult Fiction?

You’re writing a story with a teenage protagonist but very sophisticated themes and content… is it categorized as adult fiction, or young adult (YA)? You’re writing a sci-fi fantasy with two protagonists – an adult and a child.  Is it YA or adult fiction? You’re writing a graphic novel with a 20-year old hero. Adult […]

Announcing My New Chapter Book, Middle Grade and YA Courses!

Announcing My New Chapter Book, Middle Grade and YA Courses!

If you’ve been a follower of my blog, you know that – among my many other hats – I teach children’s book writing at the graduate level for Stony Brook University’s MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, and direct their Southampton Children’s Literature Fellows program. You probably also know that I launched Just Write for Kids – […]

Would You Like to Write a Dozen Picture Books This Year?

Would You Like to Write a Dozen Picture Books This Year?

It’s the start of a new year… and maybe one of your resolutions is to finally write that children’s book you’ve been dreaming about. What if I told you that by the end of 2014, you could have not one but twelve picture books under your belt, with all the support and accountability you need […]

Holiday Gift Ideas for Children’s Book Authors

Holiday Gift Ideas for Children’s Book Authors

Shopping for a children’s book author, or author-to be, this holiday season? Here are some ideas to make the gift-giving a bit easier… One of the best and most lasting gifts, of course, is the gift of education. I offer gift certificates for my Just Write for Kids home study course in writing picture books, […]

Manuscript Mentoring: The Children’s Lit Fellows Program

Manuscript Mentoring: The Children’s Lit Fellows Program

“What I need is someone who will make me do what I can.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Would you like to finish a middle grade or YA novel, or complete four picture books by the end of next year, and start submitting to agents and editors?  What if you could be mentored by award-winning children’s […]

Crowdfunding a Picture Book 101

Crowdfunding a Picture Book 101

My friend, fellow writer and editing client, Julie Foster Hedlund, is conducting a unique experiment in hybrid publishing – a process that may well become a model to help small publishers increase their lists and authors and illustrators find opportunities beyond self-publishing.  She’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to pre-fund the production, publication and printing of one […]

How Clean is Your Manuscript?

How Clean is Your Manuscript?

Before you think I’ve gone all Pollyanna, let me say that I’m not talking about “content” here… I’m talking about presentation. In today’s publishing world, editors and agents are looking for manuscripts that are essentially publication-ready.  Gone are the days of “developmental” editors, and even simple typos or grammatical errors can make them toss a […]

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