Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

What’s your biggest question about writing children’s books?

Happy New Year! As a children’s author, editor and writing coach, I spend a lot of  time talking about writing and/or publishing books for children and young adults. I feel so blessed to do the work I do, and to belong to such a warm, supportive and buoyant community of fellow readers, writers and children’s […]

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 Series Series, Part 6: Tracking Plot Details

When it comes to maintaining continuity of plot details in a series, it can be helpful to create a scene chart or a storyboard for each story as well as for the overall series itself. Some novelists use index cards or Post-it notes to build a storyboard, because they allow for manipulation of the sequence […]

The Series Series, Part 5: Tracking Settings

In the last post, we looked at building, developing and maintaining the continuity of characters within a series. Now let’s look at the same thing with respect to setting. The key to creating an evocative setting – whether real or fantasy – is to incorporate the senses. Many writers describe only what can be seen […]

The Series Series, Part 4: Continuity

Despite scrupulous editing, some of the most successful series of all time feature notable inconsistencies.  For example, in Eragon, book one of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, the character of Murtagh has brown hair – but in Eldest and Brisingr, he has black hair.  J.K. Rowling is the first to admit to the many discrepancies in […]

The Series Series, Part 2: Starting a Series

It took us thirteen drafts to figure out the best way to start the Very Fairy Princess series: with a “day in the life of…” establishing story.  Once we had introduced the character and  her world, other story ideas seemed to flow more easily.  The first book in the Dumpy the Dump Truck tells the story of […]

The Series Series, Part 1: Planning a Series

I’ve been on a series of deadlines and taking a bit of a break from blogging, but as I promised last week, I’m picking it up again with a series of posts about… writing a series. My mother and I have developed three series to date: The Dumpy the Dump Truck picture book series; the […]

Blog-hopping

I’ve been taking a break from blogging for the past month in order to focus on writing and editing deadlines, as well as other professional obligations… but I’m proud to have popped up on one or two other people’s blogs this month in interviews! Please check out Julie Hedlund’s Blog where I am proud to […]

Beginnings

What does it take to draw in today’s young reader and persuade them to keep reading? Last week, in the children’s lit class I’m teaching at Stony Brook Southampton, we looked closely at the beginnings of middle grade and YA novels.  I made a list of important elements for my grad students… but I’d love to hear […]

Beach Writes – The Southampton Childrens Literature Conference

“If you’re dreaming of becoming the next J. K. Rowling, we’ve got the perfect place for you—the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference!” So said School Library Journal last year after Rocco Staino paid a visit to the Stony Brook Southampton campus to observe the Conference in action. As Director of the Conference, I am delighted to […]

Next Page »