Writing

Why Did This Book Win a Newbery Medal?

I’m working my way through the Newbery Award winners, and while I’ve read some books I really loved, there are some serious duds in the list. So far I have to say Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon and Ginger Pye are real disappointments compared to some of these books. While I gave both of… Read more »

Details, Details, Details – Details Matter in Novels

“Sometimes I read your stories and I like them, Mom,” said my middle son. “But sometimes, when I read some of your stories, I forget I’m reading. That’s when I know they are really good.” He’s right. And that’s all thanks to details. Everyone know the phrase ‘devil is in the details’ but I don’t… Read more »

Five Focal Points for Revising A Manuscript

I am training for a triathlon. That means I have to practice three different ways of racing: swimming, biking and running. Each one requires me to work on my form for that sport. But the form for each sport has lots of moving parts: arms, legs, head, neck, spine. When you’re practicing any of those,… Read more »

Advice for Writers from an Agent

In May, I attended the SCBWI Western PA Agent Workshop. I learned a lot and got some excellent advice for writers on pitches, storytelling, and revision and I wanted to share it with you! Pitching Advice for Writers While they need to be short, they still need to┬áinclude the main character, the obstacle and some… Read more »

Does Watching the Movie First Make Kids Better Readers?

Lots of parents don’t let their kids watch the movie versions of popular books before their children read the books. I’ve heard this about Lord of the Rings, Divergent, Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and more. I totally see the logic of this. Parents are worried their children won’t read the books if… Read more »

How to Run a Critique Group

What do you need to run a good critique group? First you need people. But once you have enough people, running a good critique group needs something more than just kind words and cheerleading. They need structure. We’re working on tightening up our critique group structure in our SCBWI group and I feel like we’ve… Read more »

How to Write a Story A Month

If you want to be a writer, you need to write and you need to write a lot. In fact, there’s a lot of advice out there that suggests writers should write a story a month. I’ve been writing regularly for many years. I have a tidy stack of rejections that serve as a time… Read more »

Newbery Award Book Shelf at My Library!

This is a post of mini-updates about writing. I’m in a really cool work group of fellow writers and illustrators that is working to support each other and promote each other for school visits. Exciting! 2. I was super excited to discover that my local library has an entire shelf full of the Newbery Award… Read more »

Protagonist v. Main Character v. Antagonist

  Protagonist v. Main Character I’m struggling with characters in my story and their jobs. I think I have one main character and one protagonist. But I was thrilled to find this post from elements of cinema that provides great examples of stories where the main character isn’t always the protagonist, or the protagonist isn’t… Read more »

Read All the Newbery Medal Books, March 2016 Update

We’re into March of 2016 and I feel like I’m finally starting to tackle my “read all the Newbery Medal Books” project. I was stalled at the beginning of the year because I wanted to finish Ulysses. While that book is an excellent but very long read. Then in the process of researching the biology… Read more »