Writing for Children Blog

A weekly look at the craft of writing from full time freelance writer and former ICL Instructor Jan Fields. To have in-depth craft articles, contest opportunities, hot markets accepting submissions, and cool writer resources delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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Finding Markets in Difficult Times It's not you. It's them. by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
You Only Need One How to find a publisher or agent by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, nonfiction, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
From Writing to Selling Finding a market for your work. by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens
Where Do You Get Your Ideas? It's a mystery. by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, mystery, writing for children and teens
Mystery Sidekicks Many a mystery was hugely improved by a good sidekick. by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, mystery, novels, writing for children and teens
Mystery Detectives Choose your detective wisely. by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, mystery, novels, writing for children and teens
Follow That Clue! The Clue-Theory-Test Method of Plotting Mysteries by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, mystery, novels, writing for children and teens
Mystery For Young Children Being interactive is the key. by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Spicy or Sweet? Love Scenes in YA by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, romance, writing for children and teens
Conflict is So Romantic Making the journey interesting by Jan Fields
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, romance, writing for children and teens
Characters Make the Romance ALL the characters need to be believable by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, romance, writing for children and teens
For Love of Romance Building on the three basic stages by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, romance
Walking Through A Developing Story Structure It all begins in your head by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, writing for children and teens
Structure in Narrative Nonfiction Articles How to tell the true story by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Traditional Plot Structure for Very Short Stories The good ones make it look easy by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, picture books, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Beginning, Middle, and End What Do We Need from Each? by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Does Popularity Matter? Advice on writing to trends by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Feeling Spoofy? Poking fun at a specific form or genre by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Five Steps to Finding Your Funny Humor is a personal thing. by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Humor for Older Readers Using a slightly different approach by Jan Fields
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
You Write Funny Humor is buried in the notion of the unexpected.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
The Value of Short The Pros and Cons of Short Stories
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Do I Have I Have a Plot? Finding the Perfect Place to Start
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
From Zero to Sixty Finding the Perfect Place to Start
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, writing for children and teens
The Dance of Plot and Theme Working in tandem to create a story.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Worldbuilding When You Can't Go Out in the World Research is key.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, research tips, writing for children and teens
Writing in Difficult Times When real life intrudes on your writing life
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Worldbuilding: Dressing the Set It's not just for fantasy writers.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, writing for children and teens
Introduction to Worldbuilding It's not just for fantasy writers.
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, writing for children and teens
Words as Art The art of story vs. the art of poetry
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, poetry, writing for children and teens
Poetry Publication Options For poets seeking to get published
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, poetry, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Why Poetry? Exploring this means of expression
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, poetry, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
5 Poetry Practice Playtime Activities Practice make perfect—in all your writing
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, poetry, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Children's Poetry for Magazines Six Hot Tips
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Top Three Narrative Nonfiction Missteps Watch out for these common mistakes
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, nonfiction, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Picture Book Biographies Bringing historical figures to life for young readers
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, nonfiction, picture books, writing for children and teens
Narrative Nonfiction and Magazines Breakthrough on a smaller scale
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, nonfiction, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Narrative Nonfiction   What is it and what does it look like?
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, research tips, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
The Perils of Picture Books  It's not as easy as it looks.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, picture books, writing for children and teens
How Do I Tell Where I Fail? Objectivity can make you a better writer.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, revision, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Picking the Right Word Make your manuscript shine
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, revision, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Perfectionism Alert How polished does it need to be?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, revision, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Dialogue and Plot Let's move along now
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, writing for children and teens
Dialogue: Don't Forget the World! The importance of setting in dialogue
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, middle grade, novels, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
Dialogue Bits and Bobs The nuts and bolts of putting it together
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, middle grade, novels, picture books, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Dialogue and Humor The perfect opportunity to reveal your characters' funny side
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Writing Contemporary Realistic Fiction What's considered realistic?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, middle grade, novels, writing for children and teens
Checking for Ruts Is it time to change things up?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
The End A bittersweet time
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Looking Back on Your Year How did you grow in 2019?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Your Year in Review Time to tidy up the loose ends.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Okay, I Sent My Submission. Now what?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Have You Considered Essays? Expanding your markets can expand your success.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for adults, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
Crossing Over Into Writing for Adults Can kidlit writers write for an older crowd?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for adults, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Submissions: Preparing to Send Tips for avoiding rejections
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Researching Agents What do you want in an agent?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens
Research Never Stops Always be reading.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Danger Ahead 4 Research Perils and Prevention
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Four Unexpected Benefits of Research Improve your writing. Improve your life.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Asking Questions Never stop.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Needful Things Revision begins on page one.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, revision, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Guilty Secret Revision is not my favorite thing.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, revision, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Misunderstood Verbs Understanding the powerhouse of your sentence
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, revision, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Three Steps to Writing Better Dialogue Let the character speak for themselves.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, revision, writing for children and teens
How to Get Published in a Magazine Tips for increasing your chances for a successful submission
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Top Ten Questions to Ask Before Submitting What you need to know before you hit the send button
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Is This Real Writing? The creative and challenging work of writing for magazines
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for magazines
Write Your Fiction Tight but Right Two pitfalls of writing short and how to fix them.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Increasing Your Successes in Writing for Magazines Three tips to increase your publication chances.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Overcoming Fear Combating fear in your writing career.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Listening to More Voices Advice published writers want you to know.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Listening to the Voices Advice published writers would tell their unpublished selves.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Author Platform It's About Name Recognition.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, marketing, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Self-Care Matters Smart writers remember they need care too.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, time management, writing for adults, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
From Real Life to Written Page Specific Requirements of a Publishable Real-Life Account
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
From Real Life to Written Page How to Use What You Remember
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Setting the Stage for Nonfiction Success Find the spark.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Setting the Stage: More on Props What does your character value?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, contests, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Setting the Stage: Choosing a Point of View Let's Look at the Classics
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, novels, writing for children and teens
Elements of Setting Don't miss this essential tool.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Setting the Stage: Scenes All the world is a stage, and so is your story
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Getting Unstuck Here's what to do
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog
Let's Talk About Plot Getting from beginning to end
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, middle grade, novels, picture books, writing for children and teens
Check Your Clutter Is it stealing your time?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Yeah, It's Work Here's how to make it work for you.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, book marketing, craft, revision, Submissions, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Harnessing the Power of No No is a complete sentence.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Falling in Love How to get the creativity flowing
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Dialogue Attribution Small thing, big effect
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
All Done, or Not? Deciding when your story is ready to submit.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
The Value of Road Maps Will an outline really help?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
A Tale of Two Payments How writers get paid
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
When I Really Want to Get Better, I Teach Help others, help yourself
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Adding Humor for Increased Sales Kids love humor ... and so do publishers
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, middle grade, picture books, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
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Filed under: Winners' Circle, Writing for Children Blog, contests, writing for children and teens
Beware Bears: Problems to Avoid Building a career that has legs
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Cleaning Up Misconceptions Sweeping away writing myths
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Success Ahead in Creating Characters Three ways to make your characters unique
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Triple Up for an Electrifying Year Ahead Three keys for getting a good start in the new year.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Preparing for Next Year's Success Nothing wrong with helping success along a bit
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Taking Stock of Your Attitude Are you hesitant to call yourself a writer?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
The Courage to Go Your Own Way Following your own road map
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Taking Stock Failure is proof of effort.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Picture Books: 3 Sides to Great Characters Are your characters larger than life?
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, picture books, writing for children and teens
Picture Books: Sound Off Writing stories that are meant to be read aloud
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
Picture Books: First Lines Are you making a good first impression?
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
Picture Book Autopsy What makes a good picture book tick?
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
The Unique Challenge of Picture Books Tips on shared storytelling
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
The Process of Novel Writing: Transitions The road signs for clarity in your novel
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
The Process of Novel Writing: Jumping In Few things are scarier than a blank page
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
The Process of Novel Writing: Planning What you need to do before you start writing
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Novel Writing FAQ Let's answer a few unusual questions
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Break Free from Pretending It's Time to Be Yourself
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
A Writer's Book of Lists Keeping Track of What's Important
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Off the Beaten Path A World of Opportunity Awaits
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Reconnecting with a Work in Progress Time to Revisit Old Friends
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Don't Crash on the Rock of Talent Is your ego getting in the way?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Show Up to Learn Getting the most from your conference experience
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Reading: Osmosis Education One of the best writing teachers is at your fingertips.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Behind the Curtain Discovering the tricks of the writing trade
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Leaving the Nest Are you ready to fly?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Revision: Revising by the Bones A New Way to Use an Old Tool
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, revision, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Writer Reason vs. Story Reason Which one will win?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, revision, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Revising Your Picture Book for Clear Structure What's holding your story together?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, revision, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
Distance: The Key to Revision Time is your friend.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Nonfiction: Let's Talk More About Sources Evaluation is the key
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
4 Ways a Fiction Writer Can Learn to Love Nonfiction All You Have to Do is Fall in Love
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Active Nonfiction It's Time to Do Something
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
The Importance of Nonfiction Shaping the Future
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Character Development The Road to Greatness
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Developing Characters What are their extremes?
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
A Rose By Any Other Name Four Tips for Naming Your Characters
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Proceed with Caution Tough Characters to Sell
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Character Development Every Character is a Casserole.
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Contests: Little Things Mean a Lot
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, contests, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Why a Contest? Here are 7 lucky reasons.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Ready for a Contest Win? Tighten up the weakest link.
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
It's hard to develop a story when you can't get started. Though there are many ways into story creation, one that isn't considered as often is the title. Titles are often tacked on at the end of the...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, book marketing, craft, marketing, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
For many writers, especially newer writers, revision is mainly a step for fixing typing errors, spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Some may have a checklist of things to look for such as overuse...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
One of the most important questions to consider when developing a story is "what is going to be at stake for my main character?" By this, we mean, “What is the cost of quitting?”  A worthwhile...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Good stories have lots of moving parts, and it can be challenging to get all the parts to come together in a way that works. Many writers understand that a good plot requires giving your main...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Many times, the compelling urge to write, to create, to make something that reflects our skills and creativity, brings us to the blank page (or blank computer screen) with the intention of writing a...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
When it comes to writing and submissions, there is such a thing as too soon. In fact, the number one mistake writers make in the area of submitting their work is moving too fast and sending too...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Query letters, cover letters, pitches, and proposals all have one very important thing in common. They all require an author be able to describe the story in few words. This is sometimes called a...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Your first contact with a publisher or agent does a lot of things. It presents the project you've created (or wish to create) in a clear, concise, lively manner. That's hard enough, right? But it...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, Submissions, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
If you ask almost any writer what parts of the process they like least, submissions will pop up somewhere in the list. We worry about whether we're doing it right. We struggle to find all the...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
For most people considering children's writing for a career (or even for a hobby), the type of writing that comes to mind is fiction. For many of us, the picture books we loved most were fiction. The...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
"How is a raven like a writing desk?" When Lewis Carroll first wrote the riddle about the raven and the writing desk, he didn't have an answer. It was simply a riddle to stump a little girl, ...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Over the holidays, as I was putting out the holiday decorations, my daughter and I took time to talk about some the ornaments and other well-loved decorations. Some decorations brought back memories...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
One of the most crippling things a writer can do in the early stage of any book is worry about whether your story (or something like it) has been done before. First, pretty much all stories have been...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
For many people new to writing for children, all children's books are picture books. If you ask them what they are working on, they'll say, "a children's book" as if that is all the explanation...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
The new year will be upon us soon, and it's a good time to make plans to increase our chances of publication success in 2018. Now, it helps to know what you would consider success. So think about...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Coming up with a title for your work in progress can be easy or really hard. Sometimes the title comes to you early, and you just always know what you want to call that story or book. Sometimes...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
If you read a lot of information about writing: essays like this one, discussions like the ones on the Institute's Facebook pages and in either of our groups, writing books, writer's magazines, ...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens
Writing exercises can be fun. They can also help you exercise your writing muscles and break through a block you might be having. So it's always good to know where to find them for those times you're...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Copyright, because it is an area of law, can be scary for writers, and many new writers worry about their work being stolen; they want to know what to do to protect their work. So questions about...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Most people who get involved in writing have some level of hope that it will produce money. As an instructor with the Institute, I had many students who told me they hoped to reach a writing level...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, marketing, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
The Competition Some book publishers are now specifically asking writers to look at competing books when sending in manuscript submissions, partial submissions, queries, or book proposals. And...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, book marketing, craft, marketing, writing for children and teens
One of the questions writers tend to be asked a lot is "where do you get your ideas?" Of course, two other questions are "can you read something for me?" and "can you pass this on to your...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Writing samples are those bits of writing that we send to educational publishers (and a few trade publishers) who are looking to staff specific projects with good writers. In these situations, the...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
For many of us, this is an incredibly busy time. The holidays are beginning to peek over the horizon and nibble at our time (and if you want more info on how to deal with that in terms of your...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Some writers write only one sort of book: picture books, mysteries, science fiction, humor, racy romance, etc. But many writers jump around in their careers and tackle whatever project bubbles up in...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, book marketing, craft, writing for children and teens
A while ago on the Institute's Facebook page, someone was asking about dialogue, which made me think again about this important writing tool. Readers love dialogue because it makes a scene and a...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
The Secrets to Samples Many of us who write for educational publishers are very familiar with samples. These are the bits of writing publishers use to judge whether you're a writer who can do the...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Talking about how to end a book or story is a bit harder than talking about how to begin one. The first paragraph of a book doesn't really count as a spoiler for the book, but the last paragraph...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Momentum is a delicate thing in writing. Sometimes you start out revving along in a novel, falling in love with your main character, fascinated by the situation you're creating and cranking out...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Writing can be a lonely art form. Unlike performance artists, you don't have audience reaction to rev you up. And sometimes family and friends aren't incredibly supportive, especially during the...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Every story has a beginning. The best beginnings grab our attention and make us eager to read on. The best beginnings give a sense of sort of story we're going to get so we can settle in and take the...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Genre, according to Google's dictionary function, is "a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter." When you're...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
For me, being a writer is more than something I do. It’s something I am. A writer is always a writer, whether sitting before a computer or picking up a pen and a notebook, or merely walking...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Almost any strong plot is basically a story of someone's struggle against something. That something is the villain of your story. Now sometimes you have a real human villain. If your story is middle...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
People often tell me how lucky I am to make a profession from something I enjoy deeply. And I am thrilled that this has been possible for me. I love being a writer. Except when I don't. No profession...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
As writers we can easily get caught up in the mode of looking for anyone who will accept us. This is especially true early on in our writing careers, but all publishers are not created equal. After...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
I was recently at the Highlights Foundation and had the opportunity to read the guest book journal in my cabin. A couple of the guests talked about a large spider they cohabitated with. I never saw...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Long ago, when I first realized that my fiction would sell worlds better if I had any idea how to go about telling a good story, I started reading about plot. Plot seemed like a rather mysterious...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
When I began submitting to editors, no one used email. Okay, I'm sort of old and no one actually had email. Submissions were sent through the postal mail, so they were typed. Tip articles talked...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Recently I was watching a video where an artist was talking about "trade secrets" in art. He was recounting the times when he was just beginning in art and people would refuse to tell him what...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Some writers love revision. In fact, for many, the rough draft is something to be rushed through to get to the real "fun," the revision. I'm not one of those writers. I do a lot of revising, ...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
As of today, I have created three original series and written for several others where I had a fairly free hand in shaping the series beyond the original concept. I've worked on others where I was...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
8 Tips for Writer's Websites Creating a writer's website can be daunting, especially if it's your first. Does it have to cost a lot? Should you hire someone to design it? How often do you need...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, marketing
For most writers, there are few things more reviled than writing a synopsis of a book manuscript or short story. What do you put in? What do you leave out? Why is writing a synopsis so...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, book marketing, craft, marketing, writing for children and teens, Writing nonfiction for children
I know folks who lament about not having time to write. They'd do it if they just had time. If they could quit work. If they didn't have so much care-giving they needed to do. If they didn't have...
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Filed under: Lessons, writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Whenever you have a large group of people with a dream and a desperation to fulfill it, you're also going to see people quick to take advantage of that. Helpful writers (many of whom began their...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, book marketing, craft, marketing, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Writers often look at trademarked products or song lyrics or bits of poetry and ask, "Can I put this in my book?" The answer to that question can be complicated and rests in two fairly different...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
As playwrights know, a script is made up of both dialogue and directions for movements on the stage. Good playwrights tend to trust the actors and directors to determine most of the movement beyond...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Recently, someone asked about the structure of the action-adventure plot. How quickly should the writer get to the problem? How many pages in each chapter? How should the chapter arc...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens
Within Reason People write stories for all kinds of reasons. Some do it to pass on experiences in their own life and family. Some do it to impart life lessons to help a new generation. Some do it...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
In a way, every story is a story of transformation. Circumstances change. Characters experience revelations. Challenges are met and overcome. The longer the work you’re writing, the...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Along with writing, I also draw a bit and work with polymer clay. On some days, it seems I can draw or sculpt anything. My little clay creatures end up with charming winsome faces and I fall in love...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, time management, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
I don't do much rhyming work. I've written some poetry for magazines and poetry for testing services, but the bulk of what I write is prose. I enjoy adding a little surprise rhyming to prose for...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
As a professional writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about sources. Whether I'm writing fiction or nonfiction, sources are important, because nothing feels worse than having a reader point out a...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
I picked Kelly Milner Halls' quote about her excitement at finding new weird topics to write about, because I think it's key to nonfiction writing. It's key to fiction writing. It’s key to...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Although writing is an art and a passion for me, I also really have to be paid, because writing is my full-time job. I've done some short bits for friends with little to no pay, but the writing I do...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
There's a famous quote attributed to Blaise Pascal: "I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter." Anyone who has tried to create a...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Planning a story or book can seem very counterintuitive to some writers who prefer a very organic process of simply sitting down and facing a blank page (or empty screen). There are very...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
At this point in my writing career, I have never won any prestigious awards, but I do make a living from my writing so I feel pretty successful. Success means something different to each of us, of...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
In any story, a character must do something. A character who just bobs along on the current of everyone else's actions and decisions isn’t worthy of being in your story, and definitely isn’t worthy...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
Recently I've been reviving an old love for drawing and sculpting. I'm never going to make a living at it, but I enjoy it. Connected to this hobby, I've also been looking at YouTube videos about...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines, Writing nonfiction for children
All writers, whether brand new or seasoned veterans, get stuck sometimes. Even those of us who outline extensively before we begin sometimes realize the plot is simply not working and a new approach...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
At this point, I have sold well over two dozen mystery novels for adults and have written and sold mysteries for children, both as short stories and chapter books. In fact, many of my adventure...
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Filed under: writing craft, Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens, writing for magazines
Most of us know that how a story or book starts is extremely important. It is with those first words that an agent decides whether to consider representing you, whether an editor decides to read with...
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Filed under: Writing for Children Blog, craft, writing for children and teens

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