Sunday, August 18th, 2019

10 Reasons Why I Love to Write

November 15, 2010 by  
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Today is “I Love to Write Day”! Here are ten reasons why I love to write: 1)   I can do it anywhere. All I need is my laptop, or a pen and paper. This means I can work from home, or on the road, or from just about anywhere – and I do! 2)   I […]

What’s in a Title?

October 30, 2010 by  
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One of my students asked a question this week about coming up with good book titles. It got me thinking.  In my view, good titles are: Catchy – They play with language, use alliteration, rhyme or rhythm, have a sense of humor, rather than just describing the events of the story.  What if Where the […]

The 3 Little P’s of Picture Books

October 23, 2010 by  
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Writing a good children’s book is hard. Selling one to a publisher is even harder.  Getting it bought, and read – by librarians, booksellers, and most of all, kids – is the hardest of all.  The best children’s book authors are masters of economy and action, which can take a lifetime of study and practice […]

Why You MUST Write That Children’s Book

May 4, 2010 by  
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I was recently interviewed for the esteemed blog “Cynsations,” run by the very talented YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith.  It was a real honor – Cynthia’s site is among the most respected, and followed, in the Kid Lit blogosphere – but it also gave me an opportunity to reflect on a core value of mine, […]

Conferences, Festivals, Bookfairs and Other Opportunities for Writers to Eat

April 16, 2010 by  
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Our MFA in Writing and Literature team spent the week in Denver at the annual AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference. This got me thinking about the value of conferences to writers, and – a blog post is born! There are essentially two different types of conferences that children’s book authors should be […]

The Why’s and How’s of Choosing an Editor

April 5, 2010 by  
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Writing for young people is deceptively difficult. But getting published these days can be a harder task than the writing process.  The marketplace has changed dramatically over the past ten years, and the pressure on publishing houses to cater to their bottom lines means fewer acquisitions and higher hoops for authors to jump through in […]

The 6 Common Mistakes Made by Aspiring Children’s Book Authors

March 7, 2010 by  
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In my freelance editing practice, I read as many as 100 children’s book manuscripts a year – sometimes more.  Over and over again, I see aspiring authors making the same basic mistakes. This was one of the main reasons I decided to create my new home-study course, Just Write for Kids! There just aren’t enough […]

Show, Don’t Tell – or, a Tribute to Mo Willems

January 24, 2010 by  
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Some picture books are narrative all the way through with no dialogue, and some are only dialogue with no other narrative, as in Mo Willems’ wonderful “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” series.  Most often, they are a blend of both. Generally speaking, dialogue should make up at least one-third of a picture book, […]

The Building Blocks of Plot, or “Dramatic Arc”

January 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Writing Childrens Books

Basic plot structure for a picture book is the same as for any other kind of dramatic structure, be it a novel, a play or a film: 3 acts – or, beginning, middle, and end. Each one takes up roughly one third of the book, and each is divided by a transition or plot twist… […]

They’re Called PICTURE Books…

December 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Writing Childrens Books

Like many children’s book authors who are also parents, I get a lot of ideas from my own kids.  Several years ago, something sort of magical happened to my son that seemed worthy of a picture book.  We were dining on our back deck, and he – at the age of three – essentially willed […]

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