Category: Blog

Author Interview: Lynda Mullaly Hunt, One for the Murphys

Debut author Lynda Mullaly Hunt‘s novel One for the Murphys doesn’t come out until May 10, but it has already received lots of praise, including a starred review from Kirkus. So, who better to talk writing with? I met Lynda at a Writer’s League of Texas event in March and as soon as I heard…
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How to Choose a Writing Conference

As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, writing conferences are gggrrrreeeaaatttt! (For example, the recent Austin SCBWI conference and Houston SCBWI conference, where I was nominated for the Joan Lowery Nixon Award.) The chance to hang out with like-minded people and talk about books is wonderful enough, but there’s also the seminars where you…
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Literacy and Dia With Jeanette Larson

As a writer, literacy is important to me, but not just because I want to make sure there’s a market for my books — literacy helps children grow. Author and librarian Jeanette Larson has been a supporter of the literacy celebration Día, which happens annually on April 30, since it was founded in 1997. So,…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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Book categorization: Protagonist’s age or story’s theme?

I’ve been mulling over this post for a while, ever since I read Salon‘s Laura Miller praising two young adult novels, John Green‘s The Fault in Our Stars and Meg Rosoff‘s There Is No Dog. Not that I have any objection to her praise. On the contrary, what concerned me is the reason for their classification…
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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…
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Cheers for the Fantastic Flying Books

As a book lover, seeing Hugo, Harry Potter, The Help and The Descendants represented at the Oscars was wonderful. Some of the best movies of last year were adapted from books. But one of the best films up for an Academy Award Sunday night wasn’t adapted from a book but celebrates them in a spectacular…
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