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

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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

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Tip of the Month — Ellipses and Dashes

Fix a Flub with this Editing Tip: Ellipses … and dashes – are oh so tempting, but keep them to a minimum. Used too often, they look sloppy or lazy to an editor. Ellipses should only be used if a character’s speech is trailing off (and that should only be used once in a long while) or if you’re quoting something and omitting part of the quotation. Dashes are used to set off a portion of a sentence that adds information but isn’t crucial to the meaning of the sentence. Check out this Resource for Writers! Does grammar have you baffled? Would you like a simple guide that’s easy to… Read More

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Tip of the Month — Use the Right Words

Fix a Flub with this Editing Tip: Make sure you’re using the right word. Sometimes you might get close to the word you really mean, but an agent, editor, or letter-reader will notice the difference, and it will be to your detriment. For example, if you mean accept be sure you don’t say except either in error or because you’re unsure. If you’re unsure about a word, look it up. Check out this Resource for Writers! If you write for kids, be sure you regularly check out the fabulous resource KidLit411. This website is FULL of the right words! It’s a compendium of all things kidlit – if you need… Read More

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Tip of the Month — More About Dialogue Tags

Welcome back to the Flubs2Fixes blog! I hope you saw my two-part interview with author/educator/editor Emma Walton Hamilton. If you missed it, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. It’s the second Friday of the month, so it’s time for a quick editing/writing tip and a resource recommendation. Fix a Flub with this Editing Tip: Back to dialogue tags – be sure you use words that are means of conveying speech: say, said, muttered, yelled, etc. When you look at your writing, you may find you’ve used “he grinned,” or “she laughed,” or “Mom sighed,” as dialogue tags. These are actions. You can’t laugh a line of… Read More

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