Category: For Writers

Secret of Success: Make Goals and Achieve Them

It’s a new year and that means a perfect opportunity to set goals. As well as the lose the Christmas pounds and floss more goals, consider setting goals for your writing. I’m not talking about big goals, like get an agent or publish a book. You’re always working toward those. But before you can achieve…
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Why Writing Conferences Are Priceless

Writing is solitary. Just us with a computer and a head of ideas. But we’re not really alone. And going to a writing conference is a wonderful way to celebrate that. Of course, seminars at writing conferences are great learning opportunities. Query letters, characters, plot, dialog — I’ve learned about all these at conferences. But…
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Stay accountable! Write with a buddy

Let’s face it, writing is hard. That blank page staring back at you expectantly, the blinking cursor daring you to put it to work. And your brain going I think I can, I can’t, I think I can, I can’t… With all that, it’s no wonder that we writers clean and do laundry, among other…
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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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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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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…
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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…
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