Category: For Writers

In Doubt? Try a New POV

I got stuck this week. I’m revising one of my earlier novels, trying to speed up the beginning, but I couldn’t get chapter two to work correctly. The story is told in the alternating points of view of two characters, and chapter two is the all-important introduction of one of them. I had written it…
Read more

Benefits of Writing Conferences

There’s a wonderful feeling you get after a writing conference. An excitement and energy that comes from spending a day or weekend with people who are just like you. With an SCBWI event, that feeling is even more exaggerated, due to the warmth and generosity of the writers and illustrators of children’s books. I spent…
Read more

Editing Checklist, Part 2

Following up from last week’s editing checklist part 1, today I’m focusing on words that are easily confused. Some say English is one of the most difficult languages to master because it has many words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. As writers, we need to know which to…
Read more

Editing Checklist, Part 1

When I’m editing manuscripts — my own and others — I’m often fixing the same things. All writers have little mistakes they always make, and many of us stumble over the same ones. Now, when I say “editing,” I don’t mean “revising.” When you’re revising, you’re fixing character and plot issues. When you’re editing, you’re…
Read more

Go Beyond Your Writing Comfort Zone

A friend of mine posted a link to her TEDx talk yesterday and even though she didn’t mention writing once, I kept thinking about me and my work as I listened to her. Tanya Streeter is a freediver — a world record breaking one at that — and her talk was about the obstacles she…
Read more

Author Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith on writing a series

Today I’ve got a treat, an interview with an author who’s as warm and generous as a person as she is skilled and talented with words: Cynthia Leitich Smith. Cynthia is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, Diabolical and Tantalize: Kieren’s Story (Candlewick). Her award-winning books for younger children…
Read more

Revision Strategies: Edit or Start Again?

In my 19 years as a journalist and editor, editing was always open document, save as version 2 (or 3 or whatever, we actually used our initials) then clean it up. Don’t waste what you’ve already got. Build up the weak spots, move sections around, polish up the sentences and viola! The final piece. We…
Read more

To Outline or Not to Outline Part 6

Over the last week, I’ve been exploring writing processes and outlines with some of my writer friends, and today I’ve got the final writer weighing in. Bethany Hegedus is the author of two middle-grade books, Truth With a Capital T and Between Us Baxters, both from Bank Street Books, and her next book, Grandfather Gandhi…
Read more

To Outline or Not to Outline, Part 5

The wonderful Jessica Lee Anderson is my guest today in my To Outline or Not to Outline blog debate. Jessica has written five books, two nonfiction (What Is A Living Thing? and Presidential Pets) and two novels for teens (Border Crossing and Trudy). Her newest teen novel, Calli, arrives in September. Like, P.J. Hoover, Jessica…
Read more

To Outline or Not to Outline, Part 4

In today’s installment of my To Outline or Not to Outline blog debate, I have a bonafide outliner — with some great insight into her unique outlining techniques. P.J. Hoover is the author of a series of three middle-grade fantasy novels, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World and The Necropolis, which chronicle the…
Read more