Over the course of more than ten years, I have had the privilege to work with Emma Walton Hamilton on a picture book and four early chapter books, all part of a non-traditional, rhyming series that teaches children achievement principles and raises ocean awareness. As a new author with no prior experience, Emma became my invaluable mentor, editor, teacher, marketing advisor, and industry guru. I am incredibly fortunate that Emma decided to take my project on as it may never have materialized without her support and guidance. Because Emma always understood the purpose and ethos behind my project, she was not just a phenomenal technical editor. She also added important insights to enhance character and plot development. But best of all, working with Emma, I have grown as a writer and communicator. Beyond the business of writing and publishing books, Emma has enabled me to do something that I truly love and hope to do for a lifetime - share the principles and stories in my books with children.
Brooks Olbrys, Author of The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob
After much revising during a four year span, my story wasn’t quite where I wanted it. I cannot stress enough how much the editing advice from Ms. Walton-Hamilton helped me within the process of completing my first story and finally getting it traditionally published. I would highly recommend her to any aspiring writer needing sound advice! I had sent the story out to every children’s book publisher under the sun, but to no avail. I guess you have to wait until the right one comes along, and it did, through Mayhaven publishing. One day I received a package that had a letter starting “this story is very clever” along with a contract included. I was never more elated in my life!
Sheri Poe-Pape, author
Emma is a gifted and stalwart muse who gave me a better understanding of what I have written and what, specifically, I need to do to improve my story. She did this with gracious goodwill, good-hearted objectivity and extensive professional and creative insight. Emma’s thoughtful, comprehensive, and utterly practical critique of my work guided me to a breadth of disciplined creativity that is very hard, perhaps impossible, to achieve by myself. My attachment to my central character has kept me too close to see the issues that block her full expression, and my own. Emma guided me to open-minded examination of my work. Her editorial skill is objective and fully explicated without being sanguine. She is acutely perceptive and utterly practical. Truly, Emma is an insightful editor who discerns the windows in the work that can be opened to invite greater light. I made a general call for help in improving my story and received much more than I expected: a road map to multi-dimensional understanding and practical next steps to bring my characters and story to brighter, clearer, life. Emma gave me this road map for the improvement of my book, but also for my personal development as an author. Her critique was at once decisive and affirming. I recommend her careful and perceptive reading and editing gifts to other authors who want to say all that they can say, to themselves, and to others.
Claire E. Scheuren, author
There comes a point in a piece of writing where its author, after laboring over each and every word, is so intuitive with their script that the objectivity to evaluate it from the reader’s perspective is obscured. Emma is a wizard in providing the unbiased voice that allows the author to detach enough to see where writing gaps exist. Emma prompts an author to consider improvements in voice, plot and character development and does so in a timely, detailed and insightful way. Emma is an invaluable coach on the writing journey.
Sue Valiquett, author
I am truly touched and awed by the time/thought put into your evaluations. I am currently digesting all, and my mind is swimming with new ideas and… pondering. Thank you for everything, my writing journey begins!
Robin Holmes, author
Thank you so very much for your lovely words about the book. I can’t say enough about your insights, questions, and edits. Your critique made me think more clearly about what I am trying to say and do with this book and the rest of the books in the series. I have rewritten all the stanzas to fix the “voice” and the show-and-tell problems. Because of you, I now have much more confidence to publish this book in the spring! Many, many thanks.
Marjorie Blumberg, author of “Sunny Bunnies”, mbpublishing.com
What a superb analysis! Best bang for my buck yet in my short career as an author. My only regret is that I didn’t find your services BEFORE submitting this book to publishers. Your services are just as advertised. This evaluation will make me a better writer. Thanks again!
William Trombello, author
A good editor can improve a piece of writing; a really good editor can improve the writer. Emma Walton Hamilton was such an editor for me. She possesses that rare blend of detached professionalism combined with an understanding of the creative process. It’s no wonder that she brings out the best in the writers she works with.” – Susan Milord, author of “Pebble – A Story of Belonging” “I learned more in one hour from Emma Walton Hamilton than I ever did in any English or Creative writing course. Beyond her abilities to breathe life into the text, she is professional, and courteous. She is a best selling author and a class act.
Stacie Hutton, Author
Emma Walton Hamilton was my indispensible dramaturg during the writing of my play, MEN’S LIVES, an adaptation of Peter Mattheisen’s non fiction book of the same title. Her advice made that play something of which we can both be proud. Emma also produced MEN’S LIVES both years that it ran at the theatre she instituted with Sybil Christopher and Steven Hamilton, which has become one of the finest regional theatres in America. Emma possesses a gift for helping shape what E.M. Forster, calls, story, plot and character in literature of all kinds, not just plays. Her wide angle abilities to pull together, beginning, middle and end are a boon to a writer. Emma is correct in her literary assessments, clear spoken and precise in her advice, and an altogether beautiful person to work with, or indeed, just to have lunch.
Joe Pintauro – Award-winning Playwright, Author and Poet
I have worked with Emma Walton on three books and know what good fortune that has been. She has a sharp eye and a gracious manner, is respectful, occasionally firm, always supportive. Emma brings a bone-deep understanding of staging and theatrical presence to the editing process, allowing her to “see” the workings of a book–to applaud what is right, and to shape what isn’t until it sings. Her projects have the immediacy and vibrancy of a live performance in which she celebrates the subtlety and resonance of the author’s voice
Catherine Creedon, award-winning author – “Blue Wolf”
Emma is a talented developmental editor. She is adept at giving editorial feedback in a constructive way to authors; has a strong sense of plot, character development, and dialogue, and is particularly good at line-editing so that a story’s shape emerges more clearly (her suggestions for cutting and streamlining are particularly effective). Emma also has a strong marketing sense; unlike many editors, she has a talent for conceiving, writing, and executing marketing materials for both print and electronic mediums.
Katherine Tegen, Vice President, Editorial Director – HarperCollins Children’s Books
Emma Walton Hamilton’s workshops are just what the manuscript doctor ordered: a comprehensive overview of children’s literature and story structure, substantiated by specific examples….a satisfying balance of the theoretical and the concrete!
When swimming the seas of unfamiliar subjects, the most essential buoy is an excellent teacher. Emma’s teaching skills and personality overflow with enthusiasm and sterling formulas that develop a writer’s focus, clarity, and equip them with the foundational principles needed to grow and blossom to their fullest potential. She is a great gift to a fledgling writer.
Emma Walton Hamilton’s class taught me an unbelievable amount during such a short time. She honed in on what is necessary for a successful children’s book: structure, timing, how words and pictures can — or cannot — intensify one another. And, she’s a pleasure to boot! Energetic, intuitive and accessible.
Amy P., illustrator/cartoonist
Emma Walton Hamilton’s course on writing picture books is insightful, inspiring and wonderfully practical. Emma’s depth of knowledge about the industry as well as her innate talent for writing childrens’ books make her an invaluable resource to anyone who is interested in writing and publishing their own work.
Mariah B., educator/author.
I am a beginner writer and this was my first real writing course. I loved how easy it was to understand, and how accessible Emma made herself throughout the entire course. She always answered whatever questions that came up for me. I am super excited to now have a rough manuscript in hand that I am looking forward to improve upon! If you’re considering taking Emma’s course I would definitely recommend it!
This course was wonderfully structured. I learn best by comparisons and by doing as well as proper organization and this course definitely had all that. I don’t think could have gotten to the place I am with my book without this course.
Emma’s course has turned my interior world upside down. So many of the boxed ideas in my head incapable of finding a satisfying venue, now have a freeing place to potentially come alive. Emma’s logical and personal approach to writing is offered freely, enabling each student to believe in their personal quest to express themselves in words.
Although I am a teacher and therefore close to the source, I had a totally new experience during the course. It brought me ways to write in a completely new direction. I am very excited I came upon your site Emma, glad to have been your student! Thanks a lot!!!
Thanks to Emma, I now have the tools I need to make my picture book projects publisher-worthy. By taking this course, I gained so much in knowledge, understanding, and self-confidence. Emma’s enthusiastic, supportive and insightful responses to my comments and questions were key to this experience. Her warmth and boundless positivity were genuine, palpable, and contagious. I am eagerly embarking on new projects, ready to use all I’ve learned – and looking forward to the next offering from this skilled and inspiring teacher.
This course was extremely valuable in opening your eyes to the structure and writing of children’s books. I gained much information and many ideas. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in writing children’s books!
I had a ball with Emma’s course! It gave me the confidence, focus, structure and tools that I was seeking to give life to the stories swirling in my head. Emma was always accessible and encouraging. I now have a completed manuscript and other story ideas taking form. I look forward to any further course offerings.
I thought the class was useful.
I loved the course as it was something I was looking for being a first time treading the waters of the “Writing World”. Guidelines in structure, the sheets to record Character Bio, Plot Structure etc were valuable to me. Just what I needed. While a little nervous at first to be guided by one of the masters in this art I have since spent many hours pouring over sheets for other story ideas.
I loved this course. It exceeded any and all of my expectations. I felt everything was thoroughly explained and extremely helpful. I look forward to (and hope you have) more courses.
Emma is not only a gifted writer, but she is a truly gifted teacher. In ultra clear step by step building blocks, she guides you through the style basics required to produce a publishable picture book in today’s competitive literary world. For me the course was a personal journey of discovery full as much with inspiration as with information.; a real gift.
I have to say I truly enjoyed this course. I am a working mother of two, so I appreciated the ability to take the course at my own pace and the quick response to questions. This course was a great help and hopefully the first step to a wonderful journey.” Thanks!
Simply put, this is a wonderful class! The information offered is invaluable. It is great that you can work at your own pace for this class, as well. One can spend quality time on each assignment, rather than rushing through the work while maintaining a full-time job and taking care of a family. I highly encourage anyone thinking about taking this class to go for it!
Emma, Thank you for taking the time to have this class. I found it interesting and extremely helpful. I will definitely recommend this course to anyone I meet.
I found the course very valuable and important.The course gives one the opportunity to make much more of the Story. The Story becomes much better and has much greater chances to succeed.
I feel like I finally understand the universal appeal of the book “Where the Wild Things Are” and I am so grateful to Emma for walking me through it from a child’s perspective and helping me appreciate its mastery.
Just want to thank you for offering this course at such a great value. I hope one day I can dedicate a picture book to Emma for all her expertise.
I enjoyed this so very much! I am just a beginner and this was so very clear and great info!
The quality of the eight lessons was amazing. The course opened my eyes in regards of how deep someone must dig to write a picture book as I had to examine and compare five remarkable published picture books. My time spent on this course was worth every minute!
I attended the Southampton Writers Conference in 2013 and had the opportunity to work with Emma. This course was both a continuation and a supplement to the information gained at that conference. The work at your own pace course made it easy to fit the program into my daily life. I would and have recommended this course for any person who dreams of writing Children’s Picture Books but struggles with finding the time. This course is efficient and opens up a world of possibilities for those wishing to advance their writing skills and opportunities. I am working on submission ready work and have several pieces draft form that I’m confident will find home.
Pam J. N.
Although it took me longer than anticipated to complete the course, it has helped me produce a manuscript that I’m fairly happy with and given me a better understanding of what to consider when writing future manuscripts.
Emma Walton Hamilton’s Just Write for Kids Home Study Course is informative and user-friendly. Emma provides comprehensive instruction and several different ways to interact with her as well as other students. Emma’s style is consistent and supportive. I found myself inspired in ways I had not been in a very long time. I would definitely recommend this course to a friend. I cannot thank Emma enough for her instruction, her advice, and the resources she provides.
This college-level, home study of picture book writing can take your writing to new heights. Emma is a great communicator, and I’m humbled by all that she knows and shares. Finishing the course, I had a richer vocabulary tied to elements and mental images of what a picture book must become in order to meet the standard of “read it again and again.
The Just Write for Middle Grade course takes writers through the middle grade and chapter books writing process step by step. The two things that made this course stand out for me are the methodical presentation of materials and the reusable worksheets. The 14 weeks of comprehensive lessons include several worksheets for each lesson. I found them extremely helpful in forming my thoughts and rethinking my chapter book. I have also started using the worksheets to plan my next chapter book. Emma answered all my questions in the private Facebook group and in the comment section of the lessons, and I was able to see Emma’s answers to other class participants’ questions. I also benefited greatly through a private consultation with Emma where she gave me excellent feedback and suggestions regarding my chapter book. I recommend Emma’s course and her consultations.
Alayne Kay Christian, Award-winning children’s book author.
Despite having already studied extensively on the topic of writing middle grade books, I still gained value from the course in that it helped me plan out my current book and work on some of the issues I was having with it as well as refreshed the information in my mind and helped me keep it foremost in my thoughts while I wrote. If you are struggling to write your middle grade book, are new to writing middle grade books or just need an extra push to finish your story, this course is the perfect way to get it done!
Just Write for Middle Grade more than met my expectations for rich course structure, substance, and practical skills! It will be a source of ongoing learning for engaging and excellent story telling. Thanks!
Emma’s Just Write for Middle Grade course illuminated my way forward with a novel I’d been struggling to complete for over a year. Thanks to the step-by-step approach of Emma’s lessons, I now have a working draft. Each lesson breaks complex topics into applicable exercises that help a new writer internalize the tools successful writers use instinctively. It’s been a revelatory fourteen weeks that I’m sad to see end.
I have been writing middle grade for a few years now, and have worked with Emma in her capacity as freelance editor, so I know how skilled and knowledgeable she is. I wondered, though, how much I would benefit from the course at this stage of my development as a writer. I discovered that the answer is “enormously.” The course digs deeply into every aspect of writing a middle grade novel or chapter book, and challenges the student to look more closely at their work and to work through things that they might never have considered otherwise. I know that *all* my writing and revision from this time forward will be better because of this course. Thank you, Emma!
Emma Walton Hamilton is one of those teachers you never forget: generous with her knowledge and clear in her guidance. She has a knack for breaking down the elements of writing without ever being simplistic or formulaic. As a result, her course is clear, bright beacon that shines the way toward success.
Patricia McCormick, 2-time National Book Award finalist and award-winning author of Never Fall Down, Sold and Cut, among others.
I learned more in this course that I hadn’t learned in other courses. I especially liked that the lessons were more specific to my genre. I also really loved the editing lesson. I’m looking forward to perfecting my novel and hopefully taking advantage of the editing bonuses! Thanks so much for this!
The material in Editor in a Box for Picture Books is presented in a way that works best for me. There is an overview of the big picture, which allows me to review the notes while I am revising and preparing a manuscript. The details of this program are specific and helpful. The tone is supportive. Finally, the videos are simply amazing. They are very easy to follow, conversational, and filled with useful information. The conversation between Emma Walton Hamilton and Emma Dryden, though easy to listen to and conversational, is packed with information every writer needs.
Editor in a Box for Picture Books…helped me focus on the aspects of greatest importance to future children, readers and publishers.
Editor in a Box is a wonderful help to my revision process. It helped me from start to finish getting my ms ready for submission. The tools are a great help with my picture book. I now have it ready for submission. Everyone needs Editor in a Box.
I am truly honored to have contributed to this amazing resource. But most of all, I am excited to utilize School Visit Wizard as I book my own school visits! As a former teacher, I am quite comfortable creating the content for my presentations, but what a special treat to have expert Emma Walton Hamilton as a coach, by my side, taking me step-by-step through the entire process – from preparation to payment! Thank you so much, Emma. This product is jam-packed with your guidance and generosity. School Visit Wizard is definitely the valuable asset I need for my career’s next chapter.
Marcie Colleen, Children’s Author and Educational Consultant
School Visit Wizard is absolutely fabulous! Everything is laid out so clearly and your advice is so detailed. I especially liked the ideas for storytelling activities aimed at specific age groups, and your audio on how to give an effective presentation/reading. Also, Marcie Colleen’s article on writing a teacher’s guide is incredible! This website has value beyond school author visits, and is definitely appropriate for experienced school presenters as well as novices. I will be recommending this site not only to authors, but to publisher publicity departments so they can better prepare their authors!
Mary Brown, Owner of Books, Bytes and Beyond, Bookseller and Educational Consultant
From the minute I found out my first book would be published, I was terrified by the prospect of seeking out school visits. The process seemed mystifying and insurmountable for a new author. Although I did manage to book a few visits based on personal connections, I couldn’t see how to expand my reach. After taking Emma’s course, I booked three visits within a month, and one school bought 250 copies of my book! I’m already gearing up for the 2016 school year only now I’m no longer afraid because I know exactly what I need to do.
Julie Hedlund, Picture Book Author and Founder of 12×12
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