November 8, 2018

Resources and Tips for Children's Writers

Some days I'm amazed because I get paid to write books for children. Other times I recognize the hard work I put into every manuscript I write. It really is work. BUT I love my job. It's a blessing!

Maybe you've likely considered writing for children, too. Always the teacher, I have some suggestions for new writers.
I created a list of resources for children's writers. These are the books, websites, and online groups I repeatedly suggest to my writing friends, both new and experienced.

I also created a list of tips for new writers. Often writers submit to publishers before their manuscript is ready. I hope my tips will prevent that!

Also, the educational market is a fantastic way for writers to break into the publishing industry. Instead of pitching your book ideas to editors, the editors come to you with writing assignments (books and other resources).
I also teach multiple workshops for writers!

If you're ready to learn even more, consider attending a workshop or conference. SCBWI and the Highlights Foundation can get you started!

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October 1, 2018

October and Anne Shirley

Fall leaves and Anne Shirley go hand-in-hand.

Though not everyone is a fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables book and series, I hope you'll still appreciate this Anne quote.

Because October is lovely!

(I took this photo in 2010 at the top of a dirt road in Warren Center, Pennsylvania. It's still a favorite.)

As much as I enjoy Anne, some of  L. M. Montgomery other books are quite delightful, too. Jane of Lantern Hill, The Blue Castle, and Mistress Pat are a few of them!
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September 22, 2018

Proofreading Printable {FREE}

As an author and former teacher, I like to encourage teachers, students and writers. I created this proofreading printable to help. It explains the differences between revisions and edits.
Too often, writers (especially student writers) tend to proofread everything all at once. Instead, it's recommended (and effective) to revise the text to make it a better story at a different time than editing for proper grammar. Trying to do it all at once leads to distractions. Trust me.

A couple years ago at a writing conference, some other writers and I were discussing proofreading. One of my writer friends (a teacher) introduced me to the acronyms CUPS and ARMS.

This is not my own idea, but I think it's helpful to have a visual representation. So I made this free proofreading printable.

When revising, remember ARMS.
  • Add words/sentences/ideas
  • Remove words/sentences
  • Move words/sentences
  • Substitute a word to better show what you mean
When editing, remember CUPS.
  • Capitalization
  • Usage
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
To share this printable with others, share this original blog post. 

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September 10, 2018

The Best Kind of Research

Since I write nonfiction, everything I write is based on facts. Even if I "know" a fact, I have to back it up with research.

Often, my research is spent finding good online resources. Other times I pour through articles and books or interview experts through email or phone calls.

But sometimes, my research takes me away from my desk and away from my library.
Last week I made some phone calls to some of the museums and homesites related to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books. I needed some questions answered for my forthcoming book. (Look for it in 2020.) One of the people I spoke to volunteered at the Almanzo Wilder Farm in upstate New York. Jim answered all of my questions. Yet, that conversation convinced me I needed to get to the farm. I knew I'd get answers to questions I didn't even know I had if I went.

It wasn't easy, but Friday morning I came up with a plan to get me there. I was on the road later that afternoon ready for a research trip. You can read about my  at my blog, Little House Companion.

Most of us can't plan an overnight research trip in a few hours, but sometimes, when time is running out, you figure out what to do.