General writing

Get Story Ideas by Brainstorming

I get story ideas in wonderful places. Listening to people talk, watching the news, listening to songs. Another way I get story ideas is from other writers. I have a lot of fun working as a writing coach. I work with a young man who wants to write some scary, scary stories. He loves Stephen… Read more »

Writing Puns is Fun

I love writing puns and I love writing with puns. Over Thanksgiving, I brought a new game to play with my family called Punderdome. I found this game at Riverstone Books, my favorite local bookstore. I’m very lucky that the family was willing to give it a try, even my 13 year old son got… Read more »

Tell a Story in One Sentence

If you’re writing a story, there are lots of things you need to know how to do. You need to know how to create interesting characters. You need to know how to write dialogue. You need to know how to build tension. You need to know how to write a good ending. Once you’ve got… Read more »

How to Be a Better Writer

I’m always learning how to be a better writer. It never stops. I am always reading different blog posts and listening to different podcasts. Also, I register for webinars from SCBWI. I attend events at the Highlights Foundation, and I always attend the annual SCBWI fall conference here in Pittsburgh. I’ve learned some really interesting… Read more »

Things I’m Writing

I’ve had a good end of summer and beginning of fall for my writing projects. At the end of the summer, I turned in eleven short documents that were examples of different text structures. These documents are going to be used by a teacher to help students identify types of text, like cause and effect… Read more »

Real Books Better Than E-books

Sometimes I think real books are better than e-books. I’m not anti-e-book, because I love to read and e-books make it so easy to read. I love using my library’s app to find an e-book, check it out, and start reading. It saves me the time and gas of driving to my library! I’m not… Read more »

Would Stuart Little be Published Today?

Based on an idea I call the Stuart Little Experiment, I think it’s harder to be published today in children’s literature. I’m reading Stuart Little with my kids right now. At first they were reluctant to start it. I don’t give in to complaints easily, and they can’t resist me reading to them while we… Read more »

2018 SCBWI Western Pennsylvania Fall Conference

Registration is open for the 2018 SCBWI Western Pennsylvania Fall Conference!¬† The conference will be November 9 and 10 at the Hyatt Pittsburgh Airport. Our faculty this year includes Samantha Gentry, Charlotte Wenger, Susan Graham and Stephanie Fretwell-Hill. Linda Camacho will also be providing critiques. We’ll have new PAL-led sessions and a pitch party on… Read more »

Improve Your Writing: Senses

Writing conferences offer a lot of great tips on how to improve your writing. One tip that’s always stayed with me is to use at least three different sensory descriptions in a scene. Using at least three senses helps readers visualize the scene better and it makes the scene more real. Here’s a snapshot of… Read more »

Looking for Writing Help

Can’t wait to dive in! Are you looking for writing help? My writing friend gave me a stack of Writer’s Digest¬†magazines on Thursday, bringing my total to 14. 14 glossy collections of insightful advice, commentary and exercises from experienced writers who for the most part, know their art and the industry pretty well. These magazines… Read more »