Some Writing Resources and a Blog Hiatus

Summer is coming! That means it’s time to take a blogging break (actually, since it’s quite a while since I posted, it may seem that I’ve already been taking one. I hope this post will make up for that, a bit at least.) Before the blog goes off on its vacation, I’d like to share some resources with you. Some you may already be familiar with, others may be new to you. This is just a sampling of the plethora of resources out there. I hope you’ll find something helpful in the ones I’ve shared in the links below. Websites: KidLit411 has been named Writer’s Digest’s top kidlit blog for… Read More

Continue Reading

A Different Take on Mentor Texts

I have a very short post for you today, but I hope it will give you something to think about as you continue to read to learn about writing. Last month, I talked about choosing books in the same genre and even the same topic as the one you’re writing for the mentor texts you use. Sometimes you may be surprised, though, and will discover a mentor text in a style, genre, topic or category that you would never think of writing. So last month’s post isn’t everything there is to say about mentor texts. Keep an open mind, and be prepared to find mentor texts anywhere. As an example,… Read More

Continue Reading

More About Mentor Texts — What to Read? How to Choose?

With so many books out there, how does a writer choose appropriate mentor texts to read? (If you missed my initial post about mentor texts, you can find it here.) Here are some hints for choosing good mentor texts. At the end of the post, I’ll suggest some links where you can find more assistance. 1. Choose CURRENT books. No matter how much you may love a classic you first encountered years ago (or last month), literature — and particularly children’s literature — has changed quite a bit in recent years. Look for books that have been published within the last 3-5 years. 2. Usually you will look for books… Read More

Continue Reading

Using Mentor Texts

As my editing clients could tell you, I often suggest reading mentor texts — recently published books by established writers that can show how others have handled the issues the client is trying to bring to life in his or her manuscript. Seeing how well-established writers deal with character development, or the building blocks of plot, or story arc, or the use of antagonists and obstacles to the protagonists, can help a new writer think about how they can deal with those same challenges in their own writing. Reading and analyzing such books can help a writer see what works and what doesn’t in order to hone his or her… Read More

Continue Reading

Further Reading — Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul

If you write picture books — or, really, any other kind of book — and you haven’t read Ann Whitford Paul’s excellent overview of the writing craft, then I highly recommend you get yourself to a bookstore or library and get yourself a copy! It is packed with information, from her advice that before you start writing, you need to read, read, read, to creating characters, plotting and the basic three-act structure that most stories follow, making your writing as strong as it can be — it provides a complete breakdown of the process of writing a picture book. Not only does she explain all the building blocks that go… Read More

Continue Reading