Yappie

Katie Davis

62

PODCASTS

1

SUBSCRIBERS

Katie Davis
The Nature of Plot | Writing for Children 064

Aug 18, 2017 - 00:12:01

THE FLIGHT OF THE ARROW Many writing books have tried to explain the nature of plot. Some talk about story arc. Some talk about beginnings, middles, and ends. Some talk about conflicts and character growth. Right now, I’m going to talk about arrows. You shoot them, they travel swiftly to the destination you intend – if you are skilled enough, if you are strong enough, and if you actually have a destination in mind. Some writers say they just sit down and start writing and let the story develop as they write. Some don’t like that kind of “seat of your pants” writing because the writer has to do so much revision. But whether you plan the plot-arrow’s flight ahead of time, or revise until it’s flying straight and true, the plot still needs to fly. It needs to cover the ground from beginning to end in a strong, forward motion. Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. Is your manuscript submission-ready? Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Picture Book Summit | Writing for Children 063

Aug 4, 2017 - 00:37:56

Picturing Picture Book Summit My guest today is fellow Picture Book Summit Co-Founder Julie Hedlund. This episode is a rebroadcast from my previous podcast Brain Burps About Books. In this interview, we talk about how Picture Book Summit came to be and what you, as a picture book writer, can learn from an online conference. If you're curious how an online writing conference works, you're in luck! We are hosting a FREE Mini Summit on August 22, 2017. In "Don't Write Your Grandma's Picture Books," the Picture Book Summit Team will reveal how music, movies, and media have changed the ways kids read picture books, how kids today are in search of more sophisticated humor and shorter pacing, and how nonfiction has drastically changed in the last decade.  You can see all the details at http://bit.ly/PBMini2017   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. Is your manuscript submission-ready? Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Finding Your Way to The End Part 2 | Writing for Children 062

Jul 28, 2017 - 00:08:56

WRAPPING UP YOUR STORY Author John Green likes to collect famous last words. The last things we speak can say a lot about us, or they can be vague and anti-climactic. That’s because real life isn’t as tidy as a story. In a story, the last lines usually do say a lot (even if only symbolically) about the story. For the last word on this topic and an ending checklist, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. Is your manuscript submission-ready? Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Finding Your Way to The End Part 1 | Writing for Children Podcast 061

Jul 21, 2017 - 00:10:47

HOW TO TIME YOUR ENDING In a way, every story is a story of transformation. Circumstances change. Characters experience revelations. Challenges are met and overcome. The longer the work you’re writing, the more transformations are likely to occur. In board books and many picture books, for instance, the transformation is often simply circumstance. In the very famous Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, the little rabbit experiences the changes that come with bedtime. The little rabbit undergoes no change in personality or beliefs, and nothing is really overcome. The transformation is simple because board books are often more about the sound of the language and the images than they are about any deep story. But board books can accomplish a bit more. Lift-the-Flap board books are often a type of mystery. In another famous board book, Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill, the reader joins Spot’s mother on a search for her pup. Finding the ending in these books is quite simple. Good Night Moon ends after we’ve bid everyone and everything possible a “good night.” Where’s Spot? ends with the finding of Spot. But what about a more complicated book? How do you find the right ending for the picture book you’re presently tooling with? Again, transformation can be the key to finding the ending. How many things transform in your book? Have you revealed all of them? Listen to the full episode for advice on ramping up to your ending. Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Show Some Respect | Writing for Children 060

Jul 14, 2017 - 00:12:30

WHY SUBMISSION GUIDELINES MATTER Many times, editors finally find time to dig into the slush pile or they open their email and check out submissions and get a disappointing surprise. People send poetry for children to publishers who list “no poetry” right in their guidelines. People send fiction for children to publishers who only publish nonfiction. People send parenting essays to magazines that only publish material for children. Why would anyone send things like this when it cannot possibly result in a sale? They do it because they never read the magazine or checked out the publisher’s list. They didn’t read the submissions guidelines. They didn’t get our incredible annual guides that give you all the information you could possibly need in order to get published, and/or they didn’t do a search online for information about the publisher from third party sources.   They simply didn’t bother.   To find what editors do with these submissions and how you can avoid being one of them, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Last Minute Dialogue Checklist | Writing for Children 059

Jul 7, 2017 - 00:09:04

MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE As you work through your revision and polish up your work, don’t forget dialogue. Few things can do more for your story than good dialogue, so it’s worthwhile to get it right. ___Check that all spoken dialogue is enclosed in quotation marks and that punctuation occurs inside the quotation marks. [Enclosing all punctuation within the quotes is standard style of most American publishers.] ___Only spoken words go in quotes, thoughts do not need to be set off with quotation marks. Some writers use italics to set off thoughts. ___The best verb for tagging your dialogue is “said.” Use other verbs when they truly add to the moment. And do not use verbs as speech tags unless they actually describe speech -- “sneered” or “snorted” and the like are not speech tags. For the rest of the checklist, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Catch 'Em with the Query | Writing for Children 058

Jun 30, 2017 - 00:14:42

DON'T KILL THE QUERY Among cover and query letters for children’s fiction, there exists one absolutely killer mistake that is frequently made by new writers. They forget why children read fiction. Most fiction that you write and will sell will not be assigned as homework, so none of the children who read it will be forced to read it. They must want to read it. Editors know this, so the number one thing they want to know about your manuscript is: will children want to read this? That’s the number one thing you must prove with your query letter. To learn how to create a query that conveys the fun of your story, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
7 Tips for Creating Compelling Conflict | Writing for Children 057

Jun 23, 2017 - 00:12:37

CREATING CONFLICT Every story needs conflict. The tension of resolving that conflict is what compels the audience to read all the way to the end of your book. Today we look at 7 tips for creating conflict. 1. Be certain your main character has a worthy, noble goal. No one likes a shallow greedy protagonist. Be sure it’s a realistic goal as well or your young reader won’t relate to it. So the young child who wants to make his mom a specific gift is relatable. The young child who wants to sell all his toys so he can give his big brother the bike he wants is a tad harder to believe. 2. Consider the tension of a ticking clock. Time limits for reaching a goal will create an urgency that readers find compelling. For all seven tips, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
8 Must-Know Facts About Magazine Nonfiction | Writing for Children 056

Jun 16, 2017 - 00:14:40

WHAT MAGAZINE EDITORS WANT 1. Magazines are often picky about their nonfiction magazine sources. Although few prohibit using Internet sources, they should never be your only–or even your main sources. And never, ever use Wikipedia as a source. 2. One good thing websites are good for is pointing you toward primary sources that you can contact by email for specific information pertaining to your subject. Often you can find the email addresses of professors at major universities, curators at museums, and other experts from the websites to which they contribute. For all eight must-know facts, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
7 Steps for Taking Your Work to the Next Level | Writing for Children 055

Jun 9, 2017 - 00:15:12

LITTLE THINGS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE Have you hit a roadblock with your writing? You got the story down, but something seems to be missing? Or you just know it can be better, but you don't know where to start? Today we touch on 7 things you can do to bump up your story. 1. Make your story stink! Consider the sensory detail in your work. Studies have shown that the sense of smell is one our most emotionally evocative senses. As a writer, are you just a sightseer or do your stories stink as well? Stink in an evocative way! 2. Consider your motivations. Don’t overlook the motives of minor characters. You may not ever reveal why your villain acts so villainous, but you should know. The better you have thought out the motivations of each character, the more naturally well rounded they will become. For all seven tips, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
8 Steps to Perfect Dialogue Format | Writing for Children 054

Jun 2, 2017 - 00:16:11

ARE YOU PROPERLY FORMATTING YOUR DIALOGUE? Formatting dialogue in any manuscript can be perplexing. Follow these 8 guidelines so you don't get tripped up by tricky dialogue. 1. Check that all spoken dialogue is enclosed in quotation marks and that punctuation occurs inside the quotation marks. [Enclosing all punctuation within the quotes is standard style of most American publishers.] 2. Only spoken words go in quotes, thoughts do not need to be set off with quotation marks. Some writers use italics to set off thoughts. 3. The best verb for tagging your dialogue is “said.” Use other verbs when they truly add to the moment. And do not use verbs as speech tags unless they actually describe speech: sneered, snorted, or giggled, and the like are not speech tags because they are not specific ways we vocalize words. For all eight tips, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
8 Tips to Help You Get to Know Your Character | Writing for Children 053

May 26, 2017 - 00:10:47

DO YOU KNOW YOUR CHARACTER? Consider asking yourself (or your character) these questions. The answers will help you understand your character's motivation and how their mind works. You may not use any of the answers in your actual story, but knowing the answers will help you write a more fully developed character. 1. Interview your character. Imagine yourself as a reporter asking your character questions about how he was feeling at different points in the book and why he did things. As you relax and answer the questions, you often find new dimensions to the character. 2. Consider giving your main character a “catch phrase.” Even if you never actually use the catch phrase in your work, imagining a catch phrase that matches your character will reveal a lot about him/her. After all, a kid whose catch phrase is “full steam ahead” is a totally different person from one whose catch phrase is “Be careful, be safe.” For all eight tips and questions, listen to the full episode.   Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Before you hit send... Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Sounds Good to Me | Writing for Children 052

May 19, 2017 - 00:10:19

FUN WITH SOUND One way to add bounce to your writing is to play with sound. You can choose words that depict sounds like bump, crash, bang, or gong–that’s called onomatopoeia. Which means the word sounds like what it is, or the sound it’s making, like “zip.” Or you can play with sounds within words. That can be more subtle, but still lots of fun. Alliteration is the repetition of similar word sounds, and can take the form of assonance or consonance. When a vowel sound is repeated, it is assonance; repeated consonants create consonance (which is often identified as simply alliteration). Listen to the full episode for more fun ways to use sound in your stories. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/052   What's the writing question you have but are afraid to ask? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh set of eyes? Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Getting Crafty | Writing for Children 051

May 12, 2017 - 00:12:28

GET CRAFTY! Crafts are one of those things that many writers don’t really consider when coming up with a publishable project. But the magazines that use crafts, need a steady stream. The reason crafts are a staple of many children's magazines is because they help to make content interactive. They don’t just offer a story or article, but let the child move beyond the magazine to create something new. Interactivity is a goal of many magazines, work that engages the reader and also leads to the reader doing something. A craft can fit this bill. Also, crafts and other hands-on creative activities are particularly popular with the “maker movement” that has taken over popular culture. Craft how-to articles are not difficult to write, either, and you can be paid for them. In fact, writing a craft article has a lot in common with writing a recipe. You usually have a list of ingredients (materials and tools needed) and a list of directions. Listen to the full episode for three keys to an effective craft for children’s magazines. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/051   What's the writing question you have but are afraid to ask? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh set of eyes? Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Refuse to Be Bored | Writing for Children 050

May 5, 2017 - 00:15:06

REFUSED TO BE BORED AND BE A BETTER WRITER FOR IT "If something, some topic gives me that excited feeling in my stomach, I start to research it to see if there is enough to make a good book. If there is, I write it. Anything that amazes me could wind up being the subject of a book.” —Kelly Milner Halls Not too long ago Jan Fields wrote about this on our blog and in our newsletter. She chose Kelly Milner Halls' quote about her excitement at finding new weird topics to write about, because, as she wrote, “I think it's key to nonfiction writing. It's key to fiction writing. It’s key to writing.” If you're not excited by the thing you're writing, you’ll never get the reader to be excited about it. And if you truly find the topic thrilling, you can stir up interest in topics kids never thought to wonder about. Editors, agents and published writers often talk about their passion for a project. Passion, excitement, and enthusiasm play a huge part in this business. For three ways to avoid boring your readers, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/050   What's the writing question you have but are afraid to ask? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh set of eyes? Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Five Common Character Motivations | Writing for Children 049

Apr 28, 2017 - 00:19:29

FIVE COMMON CHARACTER MOTIVATIONs OF VALUE TO WRITERS In any story, a character must do something. A character who just bobs along on the current of everyone else's actions and decisions isn’t worthy of being in your story, and definitely isn’t worthy of leading your story. Even if this character reminds you of someone you know in real life, the needs of a good story will be in direct conflict with a completely passive character. So your characters must do something. And their reason for acting must have clear and believable motivation. One of Newton's Laws is that an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Humans can be a bit that way as well. There are lots of times we’ll laze around unless something motivates us and forces us into action. This is particularly true when the needed action involves overcoming obstacles (which can be challenging, and scary, and painful. All things we tend to resist). The motivation you provide for your character must be sufficiently strong for readers to believe it would keep this person on this path of action. Listen to the episode for five common character motivations of value to writers for young readers. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/049   What's the writing question you have but are afraid to ask? Tell us and we'll answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh set of eyes? Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Sometimes, Ya Just Gotta Rhyme | Writing for Children 048

Apr 21, 2017 - 00:16:35

SOMETIMES, YOU JUST GOTTA RHYME You constantly hear the advice to write in prose, not rhyme. Why? You see, there's this interesting phenomena that goes on in our brains. It's like this: most of us simply cannot tell when our rhyming work is terrible. You see the skills needed to actually write good rhymes also imparts the ability to judge good rhyme. So if we can't write it, we also usually cannot tell that we can't write it. And that's the trap that catches many, many unpublished picture book authors. How exactly does that work? Well, to sell a rhyming picture book, certain things have to happen and all three are essential. Listen to the episode to hear the three things you need in your rhyming manuscript. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/048   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Celebrating the National Ambassadors for Young People's Literature | Writing for Children 047

Apr 14, 2017 - 01:41:51

Interviews with Champions of Children's Literature Today we celebrate the National Ambassadors for Young People's Literature! Jon Scieszka is the author of many bestselling children's titles, including The Stinky Cheese Man, which won a Caldecott Honor medal, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and the Time Warp Trio chapter book series. Jon was the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and served from 2008-2009. Katherine Paterson is the two-time winner of the Newbery Medal (Bridge to Teriabithia and Jacob Have I Loved) and the National Book Award (The Great Gilly Hopkins and The Master Puppeteer). She was also name a a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. Katherine was named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2010-2011. Walter Dean Myers has received two Newbery Honor Awards and five Coretta Scott King Awards for books including Sunrise over Fallujah, Fallen Angels, Monster, and Harlem. Walter served as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature from 2012-2013. Kate DiCamillo is an award-winning author including winning the Newbery Medal for The Tale of Despereaux in 2003 and Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures in 2014. DiCamillo, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2014-2015, says about stories, "When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see each other." Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/047   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
7 Questions to Ask About Your Short Story | Writing for Children 046

Apr 7, 2017 - 00:08:27

ASK YOURSELF 1. Does your story have a clear main character? Short fiction can’t support a rambling assortment of characters vying for the main character job. Omniscient viewpoint nearly never works in short fiction – readers need a main character to relate to, care about, and focus on. The more you dilute the job of main character, the more you dilute the impact of your story. 2. Does your story have a clear problem or conflict facing the main character? The story problem needs to be important, challenging, and emotionally significant. The story problem needs to apply pressure to the main character. It should be clear that the main character could not simply walk away from this problem. 3. Is the story problem solved by the main character? Sometimes a main character cannot solve his own problem. It is simply too big for him. However, the resolution of the story must not be taken completely out of his hands. His efforts must be crucial in bringing about the ending of the story. For example, a child could not carry his hurt father out of the wilderness, but the child’s efforts would have to be key to bringing help to his father. Don’t take the job away from your main character. For more questions to ask yourself about your short story, listen to the entire episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/046   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
What to Expect When You're Expecting to Go to a Writing Conference Part 2| Writing for Children 045

Mar 31, 2017 - 00:18:17

WHAT NOT TO DO Don’t try to give a manuscript to any editor or agent. If they want it, they’ll ask for it. It’s far more likely they will ask you to mail it to them so they don’t have to pack it. But nothing makes a bad impression on an editor or agent quicker than to have you hand them a manuscript. If the editor or agent shows interest in your work, offer a card with a note on the back saying you’re planning to follow up on the interest with a submission. No manuscripts; really. WHAT NOT TO WEAR Choose clothes that are comfortable. You’ll be doing two things a lot: sitting and walking. If your shoes pinch, it’ll be a lot harder to be cheerful and friendly, and being hot and sticky is no fun either. You can go funky, fun, or serious, but again, remember you are making an impression, and you can only do that once… for the first time at least. WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW? For more no-nos, tips on freebies you can expect, and what to pack, listen to the entire episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/045   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
What to Expect When You're Expecting to Go to a Writing Conference Part 1 | Writing for Children 044

Mar 24, 2017 - 00:12:18

WHAT TO EXPECT AT A WRITING CONFERENCE Many people sign up for writing conferences hoping they’ll send a manuscript home with an editor, or even better, be offered a contract right there at the conference. Has that ever happened at a conference? Probably. But you’re much more likely to come home with a cold than a contract. Does this mean writing conferences aren’t worth your time and money? Not at all. It does mean that you need to know what you can expect to gain from a conference so you can prepare for all it has to offer. BEGIN BY BEING CHOOSY When choosing a conference to attend, it’s easy to think “big” is “best.” Some writers start right out with one of the two big national conferences from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators as their first. But these huge conferences can be overwhelming. It’s difficult to connect with other writers in the bustling conference atmosphere (unless you’ve preplanned to meet up with online friends) and virtually impossible to chat with any of the conference presenters (with the huge number of people in attendance, the conference often has to limit contact for the presenter’s welfare). You will receive a wealth of valuable information, but if it’s your first conference, your overall impression may be that you didn’t “do it right” because you didn’t talk to people much. Smaller conferences can be better because you’ll get more chance to meet other conference attendees, and there is more chance to interact with presenters also. However, not all small conferences are created equal. It’s important to choose wisely. One way to do that is to “check out” certain things. For more helpful advice on making the most of your conference experience, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/044   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
ISBNs Explained | Writing for Children 043

Mar 17, 2017 - 00:11:21

What's an ISBN? It’s an International Standard Book Number. It’s a unique number code given to books so that anyone who wants to buy or stock a specific book can find that specific book. Bookstores, libraries, readers, publishers, or your fans can search and find your book based on its ISBN. Every ISBN consists of thirteen digits, though it used to be ten until around 2007-8, and whenever it is printed it actually says ISBN right in front of the number. You can buy an ISBN through CreateSpace, which means they’ll be listed as the publisher, however, if you ever want your book to be carried by an independent bookseller, spend the money and purchase what you need through Bowker. Why? Bookstores do not usually like to carry books published by Amazon, and Amazon owns CreateSpace. Self-published books, though gaining ground (especially if you produce them correctly by using aprofessional editor and designer), still do not have the caché that traditionally published books have, so you want every advantage you can get. To hear more about ISBNs including when you do and don't need one, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/043   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Help! I'm Stuck! | Writing for Children 042

Mar 10, 2017 - 00:12:33

IT’S NOT JUST YOU All writers, whether brand new or seasoned veterans, get stuck sometimes. Even those of us who outline extensively before we begin sometimes realize the plot is simply not working and a new approach is needed. But getting stuck can be paralyzing, especially for those of us who struggle with our inner critic's assurance that we're about to crash and burn at any moment. So having some solid strategies for how to handle those sticky spots will certainly come in handy. With that in mind, here are five tips for pulling yourself out of the rut when you're stuck. OUT OF THE BOX Sometimes getting unstuck means thinking outside the box. For instance, when you totally don't know what should happen next, Pixar studio artist Emma Coates suggests making a list of all the things that couldn't possibly happen next. When creating such a list, don't be afraid to be completely silly and outrageous as you add more and more and more things that couldn't possibly happen next. With each item you add, think about why that thing won't work…or maybe it will get your book to go in a fun new direction like the Caldecott honor book Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brogsol. This kind of thought makes you look in directions you've never considered and really forces you to examine any expectations that are keeping you stuck. Sometimes we're stuck just because we're mentally considering something impossible when it's really exactly the right way to go. To hear all five tips to help get you unstuck, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/042   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/    

img
Katie Davis
Explaining the Advance | Writing for Children 041

Mar 3, 2017 - 00:13:47

EXPLAINING THE ADVANCE As with any profession, writing comes with a lot of profession-specific jargon that turns words we’ve always known into strangers. One such term is the advance. This is money an author receives at some point after signing a book contract but before collecting royalties. The advance can be a confusing thing for many writers. What exactly is an advance? Is it bad for publishing? Do you even want one? Do you have to pay them back if your book doesn't do as well as expected? All of these questions have led to some weird myths about advances. For help debunking these myths, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/041   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Tell Adults to Butt Out | Writing for Children 040

Feb 24, 2017 - 00:13:11

GROWNUPS SHOULD BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD A surprising number of writers really struggle to separate themselves from the adult characters in children’s stories. This is especially true for newer writers with stories for very young children. Few of us have very clear memories of our preschool years, but we have excellent memories of the preschool years of our children. And in all of those memories, we are the parent. Obviously. We are not the child. So when we write from those memories, it can be easy to slip into the adult viewpoint. Unruly adults are the result. Unruly adults talk too much. Unruly adults step in and solve the story problem–either directly or through wise direction. Unruly adults push the main character into a passive role in the story. Listen to three possible unruly adult stories and why they don't work in this episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/040   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
A Hero's Journey for Magazine Writers | Writing for Children 039

Feb 17, 2017 - 00:16:20

A CALL TO ADVENTURE Increasingly editors are interested in two things in fiction (1) adventure and (2) something a boy might read. But many writers are stuck when it comes to thinking about adventure. What makes up an adventure and can you do it well in 2,000 words or less (sometimes a lot less). Sure you can. After all, Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is a perfect adventure story in 336 words. The adventure story is the basis for so many classic myths and legends–so much so that “The Hero’s Journey” has become almost a guidebook for adventure. So how could the circular structure of the basic “Hero’s Journey” help us craft a magazine adventure story? Let’s begin by looking at a simplified version of the Hero’s Journey structure, keeping in mind that for magazine fiction, the story must focus on the main character: Ordinary World–Stories begin just before the thing that ultimately changes the main character. Call to Adventure–A need arises, the main character has a challenge. Refusal/Commitment–the main character resists the challenge, doesn’t want to undertake the task but ultimately accepts that the challenge cannot be avoided. Approaching the First Ordeal–The main character begins to understand the size of the challenge and the stakes are raised. Ordeal–main character faces a serious challenge and overcomes. Reward–a time of rest for the main character, sometimes a false sense of completion. The Road/Resurrection–more complications, when things look much worse than expected and the biggest challenge met. Mastery–The adventure resolves, often a sense of coming full circle. The main character has changed. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/039   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Layered Writng | Writing for Children 038

Feb 10, 2017 - 00:09:39

TWO-LAYERED WRITING Sometimes we can borrow something from another art form and smuggle it over to children’s writing to be used in a slightly different way. One example of this is the “log line.” A log line in Hollywood scriptwriting terms is a kind of one-sentence summation of your script, preferably making it sound almost unbearably exciting. A log line sums up both the script's objective and subjective story. The objective story was basically what happened on the screen: A meets B and experiences the kind of instant loathing that is sure to result in true romance. The subjective story is basically what the story is about–in human terms: perhaps something like “strong emotion is the root of romance.” A good log line merges the two halves into one sentence to describe a script or film. Cool, huh? What does it say about children’s writing? It is the nature of art–whether children’s writing, adult writing, painting, film, sculpture–that most forms have a dual nature. They have some kind of representation of reality married to what it means. In children’s writing we tend to think of that as “story” married to “lesson”–because we think of children in terms of instruction and training. Purists balk at the idea of “lesson” and insist they should just entertain. However, much of what is entertaining in adult art contains that element of “lesson”–if you take lesson and translate it to theme.   Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/038   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
What's Your Point of View | Writing for Children 037

Feb 3, 2017 - 00:10:57

A PRIMER ON POINT OF VIEW The designations for Point of View are dependent upon how the main character is presented. In first person, the book is told directly by the main character, such as Barbara Park does in the Junie B. Jones books: “My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice, except I don’t like Beatrice. I just like B and that’s all.” First person point of view offers an up-close connection with your main character but can result in too much “telling” instead of “showing.” Also, first person point of view can create difficulties in introducing physical description of the main character. Try to avoid the “look into a mirror” method of description since most editors consider that method clichéd. Many character driven stories: the Amber Brown series and the Junie B. Jones series, for example, rely upon first person to clearly present the nuances of the main character. Many first person novels also include humor based on the main character’s unusual perceptions of people and events. For best uses of second and third person point of views, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/037   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Do You Know the Answers to These Submission Questions? | Writing for Children 036

Jan 27, 2017 - 00:10:37

8 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR SUBMISSION 1. Does the title grab an editor’s attention? Does it offer a peek at the tone, subject, theme or unique vision of your story? 2. Is the story appropriate for your target market? Don’t send magazine articles to book publishers. Don’t send fiction to a market that buys only nonfiction. The key to knowing what’s appropriate is research. One way to research is listen to Episode 012-Is-This-a- Picture-Book? 3. Does the first sentence make you want to read the story? Does something happen in the first paragraph? If you can say “it gets better” about anything to do with your first page, then you need to revise. You only get one chance to grab the reader, so do it right away.   For 5 more questions to ask yourself about your submission, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/036   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Building Good Setting |Writing for Children 035

Jan 20, 2017 - 00:17:31

STORY AND SETTING One of the most common marks of a beginning writer is the “talking heads” story. What does that mean? Well, you have dialogue (usually between two characters) but no sense of place. The reader can’t picture the characters fully because he doesn’t know where they’re having this conversation––at the kitchen table? Walking together down a dusty road in the South? Squirming to find a comfortable position in airline seats? Without setting, dialogue doesn’t seem totally real. Setting should be carefully chosen for your fiction. A story told on the beach in California will not be interchangeable with the same basic plot set on the streets of London. Setting is more than background noise. For some stories, setting is almost a character by itself since it can affect every area of the story. Your protagonist’s surroundings will influence his attitudes and responses to conflict. Setting includes geography [in what part of the world is the story located?] season [a summer story is very different from the winter story in children’s magazines] and housing [apartment? Mansion? Boarding school?]. BUILDING GOOD SETTING Some writers draw elaborate floor plans and maps to help them write consistently about their setting. The more vividly you visualize your setting, the better you can weave it throughout your story and the more it can support your plot. If you have only a sketchy understanding of the particulars of the environment your book is set in, you’ll find yourself scotch-taping on your setting details rather than building a believable world. For more ideas on how to build good setting, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/035   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Writing from Life | Writing for Children 034

Jan 13, 2017 - 00:17:36

THE LEAP OF FICTION Writers are often inspired by events from real life. But to use that inspiration we must view real life as a launch point and then join it to plot. We look at the life event and then we leap far from it, carrying along only those scraps we need for the actual story. Stories aren't  recitations of what actually happened––that’s what articles are for––stories are for revealing truth. Showing us reality beyond reality. Stories have a heart filled with personal growth and discovery. Life can be lively, but to make it a story you need to take a leap. When Katherine Paterson wrote Bridge to Terabithia, for which she won the Newbery medal, she was inspired by a real life event. She said, ”I wrote Bridge because our son David's best friend, an eight-year-old named Lisa Hill, was struck and killed by lightning. I wrote the book to try to make sense out of a tragedy that seemed senseless." Paterson didn't write the story of David and Lisa, tragic though the real life story was––she wrote a completely different story about Jesse and Leslie, a story born from the feelings she had about the real life event. The actual event sparked the story but the story didn't happen until the author made the leap from real life to a totally new thing––story.   For more ideas on how real life can inspire your stories, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/034   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
How to Avoid Getting Scammed | Writing for Children 033

Jan 6, 2017 - 00:17:15

SCAM PROOFING If you think of yourself as tech savvy, you probably have virus protection, spam filters of some sort, and pop up blockers. You can chant, “Don’t open unfamiliar attachments” in your sleep. But there are worse things online than viruses and spam. The Internet is like one of those ancient treasure troves you read about in stories. You can find wonderful things there. Or you can hit the booby traps and you’re trapped in the cave of doom forever. Not good. A frightening numbers of writers have been scammed. By whom? By the unsavory people who’ve realized that writers can be a great source of funds. Some people have been scammed for thousands of dollars. Some cost you your pride and hope, which is sometimes worse than mere dollars. Writers have been seriously demoralized and made to feel like a fool. Some zealously guard the cheats because they can’t even face that fact that they were made fools of, believing they got exactly what they expected. At whatever level they’ve been cheated, it’s heart-breaking to see it happen to any writer, but especially to children’s writers. So let’s look at some things you really need to know to stay safe as a writer today. For ways to scam proof your writing efforts listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/033   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
How Submissions Work | Writing for Children 032

Dec 30, 2016 - 00:19:02

Today we’re going to talk about submissions. This is a topic that comes up frequently with each new contest. People ask about everything from naming and saving their Word documents to asking if we could rank all the entries. That way people would know where they stood. So, let’s spend a little time talking about the process of submissions. Our contests were designed by the founders of ICL as a way for people to practice submitting their work to agents and editors. Let’s break down each piece of the contest process and how it applies to submitting to agents and editors. FORMATTING GUIDELINES Entries submitted to our contest must follow the guidelines listed in the contest rules page. Manuscripts should be double-spaced with one-inch margins and in Times New Roman or Courier 12-point font. Why is this important in the publishing industry? It’s important because agents and editors may read hundreds of manuscripts a day, some from their current clients and some from hopeful writers trying to break through. By having a standard, it allows the editor to focus solely on the story and not be distracted by a strange font or hard-to-read size. It also allows them––at a glance––to get a feel for the length of your story. It also ensures that as your manuscript goes up the publishing chain, formatting isn’t changed because someone’s computer doesn’t recognize the font you chose. Using the proper formatting and font shows you are professional. What did your teachers use to say? Neatness counts! (And it still does!)   For a better understanding of how submissions work (for our contest and out in the publishing world) listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/032   You've got questions. We've got answers. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.   Is your manuscript ready for submission? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Cleopatra had Cooties | Writing for Children 031

Dec 23, 2016 - 00:12:49

WHAT DO KIDS CARE ABOUT? You may have heard me mention that the great nonfiction writer––and editor––Andrea Davis Pinkney said, when shekeynoted at the online conference, Picture Book Summit, that nonfiction sounds like nonfun. But you should know, kids love nonfiction. Sometimes we forget that some readers find nonfiction more exciting––it’s their favorite reading. Also, there are very few magazines that don't buy nonfiction––but there are quite a few that buy only nonfiction. With this reality, most of us can see the value of dabbling in nonfiction, but some find their nonfiction pieces meeting rejection time after time. How do we find the perfect topic and slant to make the sale? Often it comes down to connecting with our kid-side. Let's sing that old Sesame Street lyric “One of these things is not like the others…” our example is that three of these articles ideas belong together, but one just doesn't belong here. Which one and why? A Teaspoon of Kerosene for that Cough? Disgusting Doses from the Past I Vant to Suck Your Fluids––Vampire Caterpillars. Kids In the White House Overcoming Homework Hassles––Helping Kids Set Priorities Right, what kid is going to read an article on how to get kids to do their homework? If you wanted to write an article on homework, you would need to do it from the viewpoint of the kid, not of the parent hoping to get kids to work. Many new writers produce nonfiction that would be of interest to adults––especially parents––but would not be of interest to kids. Now, writing for parents is a potentially lucrative market, but it’s a different market. When you choose a nonfiction topic, realize that no one is going to make the child read it. For tips on writing nonfiction kids want to read, listen to the episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/031   What questions do you want to ask our instructors? The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature wants to hear from you. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap. Wondering if your manuscript is ready for submission? Get a critique from an ICL instructor. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Interview Your Characters | Writing for Children 030

Dec 16, 2016 - 00:16:08

Do you ever wonder if you have a real plot in your short story––something that an editor will find satisfying and complete? It can be tough, but one way to find out is to imagine your main character in front of you and just ask him or her some questions. What questions? Ah, there’s the key. Kurt Vonnegut said, ”Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water." The first question to ask your character is what he or she wants. A character who wants for nothing is probably not someone an editor is going to find interesting. Let’s ask that question of the main characters in two short stories––one for young readers (Penny) and two from two different stories for intermediate readers (Hannah and Carter). Author: Hi, so, tell me––what do you want most in the world right now? Penny: I want to go back to my old preschool where all my old friends are. Hannah: I want Olivia to move back to Texas before she ruins my life. Carter: I want to make enough money to buy another new cell phone, but I don’t want to be bored to death doing it. All of these wants are very serious for the main characters. Now, Penny and Hannah aren’t going to get what they think they want––Carter will, but he may learn something about being careful what you wish for. Penny’s family has moved, and they aren’t likely to move back. And Hannah’s nemesis isn’t likely to move away just because that’s what Hannah wants. We can sense the problems inherent in their desire right from the moment they tell us what they want. For more questions to ask your characters, listen to this episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/030   What questions do you want to ask our instructors? The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature wants to hear from you. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap. Need a fresh set of eyes? ICL instructors offer critiques! Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
No Time for Forced Rhyme | Writing for Children 029

Dec 9, 2016 - 00:12:53

One of the most common reasons for editors to reject a poem is bad meter. Meter is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem. When the pattern works, the sound of the poem aids the content of the poem instead of distracting from it. Many writers think it’s enough to for a poem to rhyme but don’t understand the nature and construction of meter. So, if you know how to handle meter, you’re more than halfway to selling your poetry. But there is another problem that is probably just as widespread and can affect even writers with a totally perfect ear for meter. I’m talking about forcing the rhyme. Sometimes a poem will be about a specific subject, or be telling us a lively story, but the writer will suddenly find herself stuck. She needs a line to rhyme with a different line. After all, rhyme scheme is important. So, she’ll make a slight detour in subject so that she can make the rhyme––then she’ll return to the first subject: While birdies all stand ‘round and preen Spring wears a bright weskit of green With buttons of white A dazzling sight The choicest of seasons I’ve seen. Okay…why are there birds in a poem that’s basically a simile about how the bright spring grass and white spring flowers are compared to stylish clothes? Sure, there are birds in spring. And preening is kind of related to sartorial splendor, but let’s be honest––the birds snuck in to make a line that rhymes with green. And the poem’s writer knows it did. The editor knows it  too. The poem is not likely to sell, even overlooking the lame last line. Once you’ve chosen what your poem will be about, you must be true to that. Rhyme and meter is essential but content is just as essential. It’s not a hierarchy. All must work together. To find out how to make it work, listen to this episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/029   We want YOUR questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature wants to hear from you. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap. Need a fresh set of eyes? ICL instructors offer critiques! Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Cook Up a Good Story | Writing for Children 028

Dec 2, 2016 - 00:13:42

8 INGREDIENTS OF A GOOD STORY 1. A cup of plot. A plot that proceeds logically from beginning to end, giving the reader a sense that this is exactly how the story must be told. 2. Four tablespoons of conflict. Okay, I’m dropping the recipe joke… let’s just get on with this! Conflict is an essential part of a good story plot. So, who or what is your main character in conflict with? 3. Dialogue. Exciting dialogue that brings the reader into the story. Dialogue where children don’t talk like adults, and where all the children and adults don’t talk like each other. Make each character a separate person and they will automatically speak differently and have more interesting things to say.   To find out the other 5 ingredients, listen to this episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/028   We want YOUR questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature wants to hear from you. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap. What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Serving Up Tempting Titles | Writing for Children 027

Nov 25, 2016 - 00:20:19

SERVING UP TEMPTING TITLES When it comes to titles, most writers fall into two camps: those who seem to effortless come up with extremely cool titles like “Pistol Packing Paleontologist” (an article by Kelly Milner Halls) and those who struggle and strive to come up with something that doesn’t make an editor nod off in mid read. If you’re in the first group, excellent. If you’re in the second group, there is hope. It’ll take a little more effort but you can learn to whip up some tempting titles with the right recipe. TITLES ARE NOT LABELS When you’re labeling things, you choose the most information in the shortest form. The Ziploc bags in your freezer probably say “hamburger” and “chicken,” not “tempting treat” or “future yum.” The problem with labeling an article or story is that a good label leaves little to the imagination. A good label for the story would tell the most important part and basically spoil the surprise. For example, Very Hungry Caterpillar might be labeled “A Caterpillar Turns into a Butterfly,” and Harry Potter might be labeled “Wizard Boy Saves the Day.” A label gives away the surprise. You never want to give away the surprise. To find out how give your title some oomph, listen to this episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/027   We want YOUR questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature wants to hear from you. Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap. What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Q&A Hall of Fame | Writing for Children 026

Nov 18, 2016 - 00:24:21

Robyn asks: Can you explain the importance of stressed and unstressed syllables in prose picture books to help guide the rhythm. Can you explain it? (Better than I just did!) Geraldene asks: Would today’s fourth grade children be interested in what life was like for kids back in the 1920s and 1930s? Wendy asks: How do I handle back matter in a picture book? Is it included it in the word count, should the font be different, and how would I include it––as a separate document or within the story? Angelique asks: What are the key differences between writing a story for a magazine and a book? How can we tell if our story is better suited for one or the other? Kimberley asks: How do you know when you’ve hit the right audience age range? Do you need to have kids in that age group or just read a lot of books targeted to that age? Now leave us YOUR questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature are ready to answer your writing questions. Leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap! For more information on questions featured in this episode listen to this episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/026   What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Houston, We Need a Problem | Writing for Children 025

Nov 11, 2016 - 00:10:14

CONFLICT FOR ANY AGE Many times writers have trouble understanding the place of conflict in stories for young children. Either the stories will be devoid of conflict. Or they will be wondrous stories of fighting and near-death experiences. In magazine fiction, the place of conflict tends to land somewhere between these two extremes. In story terms, conflict occurs when something must be overcome in order to move from our perceived goal to achieving that goal. Our main character’s goal could be want-based (getting a new bike) or need based (finding a way out of a trap.) The difficulty standing in his way tends to increase as the age of the main character increases. In a very young character, the child may only need to do some problem-solving to achieve the goal. For example, in “Zindy Lou and the Dark Place” by Judy Cox (published in Spider) the main character is frightened of the dark bathroom at school. She tries a variety of methods to solve her problem and finally hits on one that works. There is no bad guy, no adult to the rescue, no friends or siblings making fun of her fear––finding a way of coping with the fear is the sole conflict. However, for older readers conflict usually increases. In “Prayers and Other Nonsense” by Kathleen Ahrens (published in Skipping Stones), the main character must talk her mother into leaving their home before a storm destroys it. The need is greater and the conflict is more interpersonal. For more information on developing conflict in your story, including a story structure template you can use for any fiction manuscript, listen to this episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/025   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
How to Get Your Nonfiction Rejected | Writing for Children 024

Nov 4, 2016 - 00:11:20

HOW TO GET YOUR NONFICTION REJECTED If you’re like most writers, you’ve heard by now that magazines need nonfiction. Actually, magazines are desperate for nonfiction. Magazines never get enough nonfiction. So, many writers smile and settle down to write an article. How tough can it be, after all, these are just kids? Well, tough enough that many of those writers collect rejection letters. How did that happen? Are editors hot for nonfiction or aren’t they? Well, it depends. WHERE’S YOUR BIBLIOGRAPHY? Children’s magazine editors are just as picky about sources as any other editors. They want to know that your information is current, unique, and accurate. Most writers can only be as good as their sources. An article on penguins cobbled together from watching a Discovery program and touring a few websites is not going to impress an editor. Television documentaries are notoriously inaccurate (after all, they need drama – lots of drama) and websites often pass misinformation from one site to another. Nonfiction requires good research and good research requires work. Listen to the full episode for four steps to avoiding getting a rejection! Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/024   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Querying About Query Letters | Writing for Children 023

Oct 28, 2016 - 00:08:42

QUERY LETTERS Many of the more prestigious children’s magazines (and most of the YA magazines) prefer writers query instead of sending finished manuscripts. Most book publishers and agents require queries as well. Queries help (slightly) in keeping slush piles thin, and makes the editor’s job easier in some ways and more taxing in others. Queries mean editors are responding to your idea, your professionalism, your qualifications, and your scholarship instead of your finished product. For many writers, queries are terrifying. We know we can write, but can we pitch? And a query is a kind of pitch. You are persuading an editor that your product will be superior, but you must do so with something other than your product. Your query must convince the editor: * you are qualified to write the story/article/book, * you have the skills to write the story/article/book, * the story/article/book will fit well in that specific magazine, specific publisher, or specific agent because you understand the desired style, tone, and the specific * * needs of that magazine, publisher, agent, * the finished story/article/book is/will be special. * the finished nonfiction will be accurate. The queries that tend to grab interest quickly often have a few things in common. To find out how to increase your chances of getting your pitch picked up, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/023   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Poetry for the Very Young | Writing for Children 022

Oct 21, 2016 - 00:10:17

POETRY FOR THE VERY YOUNG Poetry for very young children has a lot in common with poetry for older readers. It’s built word by word, as poetry has no room for extraneous words. It sounds good to the ear. It gives the reader a different way to look at the world by drawing attention very closely to something. Still, when writing for the very young, some things must be kept in mind. Generally speaking, the younger your audience, the more concrete your poetry must be. Young children have such a limited range of experience that they cannot make connections between the sun and a golden disk because they have no point of reference for "a golden disk." When dealing with young toddlers, they have difficulty grasping comparisons at all. To a toddler, dogs are so much like cats, that if you compare them, the child may have difficulty understanding that they are really different things at all. BABYBUG is probably the magazine geared toward the youngest of all children. Poetry in BABYBUG may contain play on sounds, but they won't use much (if any) simile. The poems for this magazine are often 10 words or so. They will focus on very common experience: seeing a dog while on an outing with mom, watching water run in a tub, discovering that both balls and trucks roll. The poetry reinforces common experience, helping children discover their world. When the poem goes outside common experience, such as a poem about a bear cub snuggling with his mother, the poem stretches his boundaries slightly, but not too far since the poem will still deal with baby friendly ideas like snuggling with mom, snow is cold, night is for sleeping. For more tips on writing poetry for children and suggestions on what magazines to submit your poems to listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/022   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Write the Most Popular Genre in Kidlit | Writing for Children 021

Oct 14, 2016 - 00:12:52

FEELING MYSTERIOUS? Mysteries are one of the most popular genre in literature. In books, there are even thriving sub-genre, like cozies, hard-boiled detectives, and police procedurals, that have countless fans. Magazines like Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine have been feeding the adult reader’s need for short mystery fiction for generations. But what about kids? Do children’s magazines still want mysteries or is this the land of books only? Many children’s magazines will accept mysteries. Many editors say they would love to get more good mysteries. So what makes a story good? * A fresh idea with a clever puzzle. * Strong characters. * Lively, real dialogue. In other words, the same stuff editors want in any story. So why aren’t they getting these things in mysteries? Well, mysteries can be kind of tricky. First, you really need to plan a mystery before you start writing it. This flies in the face of the writing style of many (especially many newer writers). So they come up with a possible problem (who took the teacher’s special fountain pen?) and they know who the main character will be so they jump in and start writing. But, when the writer doesn’t know who took the pen, often the result is (1) a solution that doesn’t flow logically from the clues, (2) a solution that flows too logically, making it not a puzzle at all since everyone knew who the villain was well before your ‘detective,’ or (3) a solution that falls back on old clichés (more on these in a minute.) How do you plan your mystery? Listen to the full episode to find out! Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/021   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
Five Tips to a Great Main Character | Writing for Children 020

Oct 7, 2016 - 00:11:44

FIVE TIPS TO A GREAT MAIN CHARACTER What makes a memorable main character? Well, for a character to carry a series of books, you’ll need to make the person memorable. Although the “every kid” type will offer instant ability for readers to connect, it won’t be enough––the character needs specific, unique traits or abilities to linger in the mind of the reader. The unique trait might be learning disability (Joey Pigza in the Joey Pigza series by Jack Gantos has ADD) or unusual ability (Cam Janson has a photographic memory) or speech patterns (Junie B. Jones speaks like a real kindergartener, which makes some people nuts, but she does sound like a five-year-old) ––but the character needs something to stand out from the pack. 1. Make the main character matter emotionally. That doesn’t mean the MC must be a paragon of virtue (in fact, no one like’s perfect people since they don’t read “real” and they’re kind of obnoxious), but you must give the character something we can connect with so that their fate matters to us. It’s the weakness in a character (and the character’s voice) that makes him/her linger in our minds. For four more tips creating a great main character, listen to this episode of Writing for Children. Find out how to be a good partner for your illustrator by listening to this episode! Read more in our show notes plus get a handy guide on word count in today's children's publishing market at http://writingforchildren.com/020   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Consider the Illustrator | Writing for Children 019

Sep 30, 2016 - 00:19:08

BE A GOOD PARTNER! These tips come from notes taken at a Writer's Retreat several years ago when the wonderful illustrator Brian Lies helped us gain an illustrator's eye view: * Think about how things look as you write. Sometimes we writers choose creatures for a story based on how funny they sound to our ear. We might giggle at the idea of an elephant who goes to live with a family of mice––but think for a minute about the job of the illustrator. How big is an elephant? How big is a mouse? How do we make them both fit on a page? Are we saddling the illustrator with choosing between showing the whole elephant (and little dots of mice) or showing the whole mouse (and just the tip of the elephant's trunk or perhaps a toe). * Consider little things that make illustrations interesting. It might be interesting to read a story that is a conversation between two kids––but after the first illustration, it's pretty dull to draw it. Keep the characters moving --new actions, new places, and new times of day can go a long way to making the story look good. Find out how to be a good partner for your illustrator by listening to this episode! Read more in our show notes plus get a handy guide on word count in today's children's publishing market at http://writingforchildren.com/019   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Do You Sound Like a Kid? | Writing for Children 018

Sep 23, 2016 - 00:16:12

DO YOU SOUND LIKE A KID? Dialogue is one of the best ways to connect with readers and one of the quickest ways to lose them. Your readers know a fake kid when they listen to one––so your dialogue not only carries plot and characterization burdens, it needs to be real. Let’s look at some tips for “realifying” your dialogue. Eavesdrop on kids. Libraries are great places to do this because no matter how often they’re shushed, when kids gather, they talk. You can often grab a chair or table near a gathering spot and simply take dictation. Then, when you’re at home, you can analyze what things make kid-speak unique. Catch Kid TV. Yes, it hurts and it can be didactic and goofy, but bad kid tv will teach you almost as much as good kid tv. You’ll learn to identify young characters who are slipping into overly mature speeches and preaching to the audience––and then you can avoid it in your own characters. Not all kid-speak on tv is good––a lot of it is horrible. Spend time listening and you can begin to identify good and bad. Find out how by listening to this episode! Read more in our show notes plus get clickable links at http://writingforchildren.com/018 Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/  

img
Katie Davis
How to Write Funny | Writing for Children 017

Sep 16, 2016 - 00:21:01

IS LAUGHTER REALLY THE BEST MEDICINE? I don't know, but I do suspect that laughter is a great way to get published. If you spend much time listening to acquiring editors or librarians or agents, you'll soon discover that humor is very much something they desire. Kids love books that make them laugh. Humans, in general, appreciate humor, even in the darkest times. Unrelenting horror or pain is hard to survive, so being able to step outside it, even a little, to laugh can be life-saving. And readers will appreciate a story that allows them to do that. But for an author to find the way to do that takes a little understanding of how humor works. In Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, the alien character tries to understand laughter and comes to the conclusion that it's about pain and wrongness. In some ways, there is truth there. But, as a writer, I'm looking at humor as a technique and "pain" isn't really a helpful answer for me. So I began to look for what really makes something funny. What is a basic foundation of written humor that I can build on to lighten up my writing? Find out how by listening to this episode! Read more in our show notes plus get clickable links at http://writingforchildren.com/017 Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Don't Promote Prose Bloat Part 2 | Writing for Children 016

Sep 9, 2016 - 00:11:19

NEVER ADD THE ADVERB JUST BECAUSE ‘SAID’ FEELS BORING Why is Harry Potter full of adverbs? Mostly to make the tag lines feel interesting to the writer. That’s pretty much the same reason adverbs clutter up the tag lines of many examples of beginning writing. Let’s face it, tag lines just feel boring. They aren’t particularly active and they feel redundant…he said, she said, he said, she said. As writers, we hate the idea that anything we write is boring so we look for ways to jazz it  up. And adverbs feel like one way, but without care, adverbs can become a little silly. “I could eat you up!” he snapped bitingly. “Get away from me!” he yelled loudly. One excellent cure for the tagline blahs is to alternate a little narrative action for the tag lines; this gets more movement into the scene, increases our sense of being there, and adds sentence variety. Another cure is to cut tags if the speaker is extremely clear and you want to create a brisker pace. A balance between simple tag lines (using said or asked), the rare unusual tag verb (whispered or bellowed, but never queried or continued, keep it simple enough to add without distracting), narrative action, and simply untagged speech will quickly cure the tag line blahs. Then you can add your adverbs to tag lines only when you know they’re the perfect  word for the job. “If you need an adverb,” he said decisively. “Then use an adverb!” When is it okay to use an adverb? Listen to the episode and find out! Read more in our show notes plus get clickable links at http://writingforchildren.com/016   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Don't Promote Prose Bloat Part 1| Writing for Children 015

Sep 2, 2016 - 00:20:27

HOW EVIL ARE ADVERBS? Have you heard yet that adverbs are evil? Writers often mention their critique groups cutting out all their lovely adverbs. And you can also find writing books vilifying adverbs as an archaic evil creeping into modern prose. So, are adverbs evil? And if so, how do you make sure to kill them all? WHAT IS AN ADVERB ANYWAY? When you think of adverbs, you probably picture those –ly lovelies that shore up the dialogue tags: “You’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer,” she said cuttingly. “I love pillows,” he said softly. “I invented the light bulb!” Edison said brightly. But adverbs can be single words without an –ly also, and they can even be phrases. The key to whether something is an adverb is whether it adds more information to the verb. She walks fast. [The adverb is "fast"] Mark throws with precision. [The adverb is “with precision”] Jack eats often. [The adverb is “often”] So an adverb serves an informational purpose in a sentence; that’s good, right? So why are writers afraid of them? Sure, J.K.Rowling sprinkles them like spring rain through all of her Harry Potter books, but many editors frown on them. Why is that? Aren’t they a perfectly good part of speech? Don’t they serve a purpose? Actually adverbs can be a very good thing. Find out why in this episode. Read more in our show notes plus get clickable links at http://writingforchildren.com/015   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Nonfiction Does Not Mean NonFun | Writing for Children 014

Aug 26, 2016 - 00:13:44

NONFICTION DOES NOT MEAN NONFUN Many new writers connect the word "nonfiction" with horror filled memories of slogging through dull textbooks and trying to memorize all the war dates through history. Or trying to memorize the states and capitals. Or trying to memorize scientific terms for the test. In other words, we remember mostly painful associations with nonfiction as a child. So we assume kids won't want to read our article unless we jolly them into it. So many beginning writers will do one of the following: 1. Address the reader directly, a lot, in kind of a jolly voice, and often asking questions about the reader’s life to try to draw comparisons with the article’s subject. 2. Mix fiction into the nonfiction much like you'd mix tasty syrup into icky medicine to force it past the lips of a cranky child. Since we assume fiction is tasty and nonfiction is icky, we're sure we need some fiction to make the nonfiction fun. And yet, those are two things editors hate to see. You could easily get a rejection over that. Why? Listen to the episode and find out! Read more in our show notes plus get clickable links at http://writingforchildren.com/014   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.speakpipe.com/WFC. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Where Did You Get That Information? | Writing for Children 013

Aug 19, 2016 - 00:17:00

WHERE DID YOU GET THAT INFORMATION? If you do much nonfiction writing, you’ll hear a lot about sources. How good are your sources? Do you have primary sources? Nonfiction is only as good as its sources – meaning, everything in a nonfiction book or article needs the support of a good source. Now, if you happen to be an expert (or in the case of personal experience articles, if you happen to be the person who had the experience) then the need for outside sources lessens a bit, but it may not disappear altogether. WHEN DO YOU NEED SOURCES? Anytime you state a fact, you need a source: In Iceland, steam from volcanoes heats homes. In an annular eclipse, a ring-shaped part of the Sun remains visible. Benjamin Franklin once worked out a magic square of sixteen x sixteen. Read more in our show notes plus get clickable links at http://writingforchildren.com/013   Don’t forget to leave your questions! The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.speakpipe.com/WFC. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive an awesome embroidered ICL all cotton baseball cap What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It: Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

img
Katie Davis
Is This a Picture Book? | Writing for Children 012

Aug 12, 2016 - 00:14:51

Is This a Picture Book? Okay, you've written a great story. It's pretty short, under 1000 words (hopefully closer to 500). You like it. Your critique group likes it. It really is good, but is it a picture book? It isn't enough that it be good or even great, a picture book is a particular kind of writing. So, ask yourself some questions: 1. Does your story sing? Whether the story rhymes or not (and not is usually better), your prose needs to sing. Read it aloud, or better yet, try humming the story to yourself. Does it have a flowing, singing rhythm? Not sing-song, but melodious. Picture book stories require a special attention to the sound because if they succeed, they will be read again and again. For 6 more valuable tips on evaluating your story, listen to the show! Listener Question of the Week: Jennifer asks: How do you know if the book you're writing is targeted at the right age group?   Two episodes you might like: Episode 003 - Creating Characters for Children's Magazines Episode 005 - Picture Books 101   Will you please review our podcast … It really makes a huge difference in iTunes. Thank you!  Click here

img
Katie Davis
Magazine Nonfiction that Grabs Kids | Writing for Children 011

Aug 5, 2016 - 00:12:28

Magazine Nonfiction that Grabs Kids Too many of the children's nonfiction articles that editors receive each day lack a connection with kids. We hear and read over and over that editors are looking for nonfiction, but many times that isn't translating into sales for individual writers because of these missed connections. Here are some tips to help stop those missed connections: 1. Don't Parent. Do Entertain and Inform. Kids don't read nonfiction to replace parental involvement. They read nonfiction because it's interesting, lively, fun and includes things they want. Too many writers are crafting nonfiction to fix a perceived flaw in today's kids and editors know kids won't read lectures, so editors don't buy them. 2. Don't skim. Do focus. The number one flaw in nonfiction that editors receive is the lack of focus; when you try to say everything about frogs, you end up with an article that skims the subject and is likely to contain a great deal of information the target audience already knows. But when you focus on one aspect of the subject, that frogs can survive freezing solid and what scientists are learning from that, then you can really dig in and give fascinating details kids don't know. 3. Write for the kid in you, but know about the kids out there. Editors complain that not enough writers are writing for today's kid. You need to remember this is a kid living in a technologically rich world. This is a kid who worries about the environment, is probably really informed about recycling, and is maybe following the news on self-driving cars. This could be a kid who never heard of a tomboy, doesn't worry about being one, but does have gay friends. This is a kid whose school probably has "what to do if bad people attack the school" drills. A kid who wants information to help in today's world. 4. Know that one‐size doesn't fit all in magazines. The only cure for this is getting to know the individual magazines and what they're actually publishing in terms of tone, approach, length, and format. It's time consuming. It can be expensive. It can force you to become creative about seeking out issues in libraries, but it's always worthwhile to know the needs of the consumer (the magazine) before trying to sell your product (the manuscript.) So, please, editors are begging, put away the shotgun for submitting and try using a scope to target instead. 5. Don't write for anyone you can't respect. Kids don't like to be baby-talked any more than they liked being lectured, so speak to your reader as you would have wanted to be spoken to as a kid. You don't have to be jolly to be lively; strong clear verbs, specific details, and clear crisp writing will win out over hyper-bright cheerleading peppered with exclamation marks!!!   Listener Question of the Week: Tammy asks: What’s the best way to have your story reviewed before you submit to an editor?   Three episodes you might like: Episode 002 - Three Keys To Writing Nonfiction For Children Episode 003 - Creating Characters for Children's Magazines Episode 006 - Writing Holiday and Seasonal Material (for magazines)   Will you please review our podcast … It really makes a huge difference in iTunes. Thank you!  Click here

img
Katie Davis
Unusual Story Forms | Writing for Children 010

Jul 29, 2016 - 00:18:34

Unusual story forms Stories for young children are sometimes written in unusual forms. These could be a great way to ... Get Published in a Children's Magazine. You’re probably familiar with the standard plotted story that appears on the magazine page with an illustration (or sometimes two). But there are others, and it’s worthwhile to know them, in case they’re exactly the right form for you. REBUS This one is familiar to many (if not most) magazine writers. In a rebus story, concrete nouns are replaced (or illustrated in the line) by small pictures. Thus, if you used the word “tree” in your story, a tiny tree would pop up right in the middle of the sentence and either the printed word “tree” would be in tiny print below it or it would disappear completely. Sometimes there is a kind of “key” in the illustrations bordering the story that reveal what the pictures stand for.   Rebus stories are very short––often 100 words or slightly more. They often have some kind of twist or surprise at the end. They almost always use each concrete noun more than once and limit the number of concrete nouns overall. So, for example, a rebus with a fall theme might show us “tree” three times, “acorn” three times, and “squirrel” four times. They try to avoid nouns that cannot be illustrated, and stick to very simple concrete ideas. Magazines that use Rebus Stories: Highlights, Ladybug, and Your Big Backyard (their rebus is done in-house, they don’t buy them––but you can see examples there. Learn more when you listen to the entire episode! Listener question of the week: Geraldene asks: Would today’s fourth grade children be interested in what life was like for kids back in the 1920s and 1930s? Get the links to the articles below in our downloadable show notes HERE. How to Write a Rebus What a great way to get published! Metafiction - What Is It? Metafiction is not new, but it’s being used in new ways. This is a great article to learn more about it. Wordless Spreads in Picture Books How and why to use them. Awesome article!   Episodes you might like: Episode 004 - Don't Tell Us A Story Episode 006 - Holiday and Seasonal Material   Will you please review our podcast … It really makes a huge difference in iTunes. Thank you!  Click here

img
Katie Davis
Creating Characters for Young Children | Writing for Children 009

Jul 22, 2016 - 00:17:07

Creating Characters for Young Children  Writing for Children Stories for very young children tend to come in two flavors: the story with a plot and the story with a purpose. Now, a story with a plot can also have a purpose, but if you don’t have a plot, you better have a purpose. The purpose of a very young child’s story may be to introduce a concept like counting or colors. The purpose may be to introduce the child to a moral or character-building activity like sharing or patience. The purpose may be to introduce the child to a potentially scary activity they will soon face like going to the doctor or starting school. All of these purpose things can also have a plot (and will probably sell far more easily if they do). And if the story has a plot, it probably has a single main character as well. So let’s think a bit about that main character. Your character needs to be someone the young child can (1) relate to and (2) care about. Your main character may not be the nicest person we know. Children are actually much more forgiving about the flaws of others than we expect. Most kids know that they are not always so nice themselves––especially inside. However your reader needs to relate to the character––the reader needs to find something in the character that feels real. Listen to the show to learn more! Listener question of the week: Claudia asks: Can a long poem for children, where a character doesn’t really grow, but the story does advance, be a picture book? Want to ask your own question? Go to speakpipe.com/WFC.   Download the show notes and get the links to the following articles: The Delicate Art of Character Folding Advice on character creation in writing for older kids Humpty Dumpty Submission Guidelines This group now consists of two magazines: Humpty Dumpty (ages 5-7) and Jack and Jill (ages 6-12) 22 Lessons for Writing Narrative, Expository, and Persuasive Texts. This is actually a site for teachers, but whoo-boy, is it great for writers to read!   Here's another episode you might like: EPISODE 007 - The “Write What You Know” Loophole  

img
Katie Davis
Here's my heart. Go ahead. Stomp on it. | Writing for Children 008

Jul 15, 2016 - 00:19:48

Here's my heart.  Go ahead. Stomp on it. | Writing for Children 008 Why You NEED To Separate From Your Work How to Deal with Rejection - It's Not About You Anyone in any area of the arts knows it’s difficult to separate yourself from your work. Your writing feels like an extension of who you are. It hurts to hear anything negative said about a piece you’ve written. As long as you’re writing only for your own enjoyment, and not to be published, feeling totally bonded to each thing you produce is fine. But once you begin looking for publication, it can just kill you. Not only does rejection hurt, but every single step in the process of publication has fresh hurt for writers who cannot see the piece they produced as something other than a shard of their soul. Go to the show notes HERE to get the links to the article included below. Listener Question of the Week: Wendy asks: How do I handle back matter in a picture book? Is it included it in the word count, should the font be different, and how would I include it––as a separate document or within the story? You can leave your question at http://www.speakpipe.com/WFC. If it’s featured on the show, you’ll receive the fab embroidered ICL cap.   Maybe It’s Your Punctuation? This little PDF about using different punctuation marks is well worth printing out and putting up beside your computer.   12 Tips of Creating an Engaging Flawed Hero Heroes can be tough. We have to be able to connect with them, but no one should be perfect. Here are some great tips to achieve the balance.   If Only My Mom Owned the Publishing Company Rick Riordan on having connections. (Do you have any?)   Episode 007 has a question about rejection…click here to listen to the answer.   Join us at our webinar! Click here to register. If you entered the novel contest, it’s free, and if not, it’s basically a $7 lesson from ICL on how to a whole bunch of great stuff every writer should know how to do!  

img
Katie Davis
The “Write What You Know” Loophole | Writing for Children 007

Jul 8, 2016 - 00:16:23

It’s the Writing for Children Podcast, with your host, Katie Davis. Katie’s an author and is the Director of the Institute of Children’s Literature, where, since 1969, aspiring writers have learned to write for children and get published. Young children do not consider themselves unreasonable. They also don’t consider themselves tiny and adorable. They don’t consider their arms to be tiny, their hands to be tiny or their faces to be tiny. All of those things are adult perspectives and they grow out of adults writing about kids from the viewpoint of adults. Does that mean you can’t write kid stories from life? Sure you can. Listen to the show to learn more! Reminders: Whoohoo! Congratulations to our two winners of the podcast launch giveaway: Laura Ceville Julie Thompson You'll be getting the huge package of writer's courses and products. Thanks to all who entered! We have our ongoing writing for children contest right now with $1,300 in cash prizes. Every contest is following by an instructional webinar with the faculty from ICL. All the info is on our homepage, at the bottom. The Institute for Writers market guides are available here and if you want your odds of getting published to improve, get either the Book Markets or Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers. Book Markets, for example, has over 1,311 (total) entries 101 all-new listings (in total) ways to find out where the latest literary agents are!  This week's tips are linked in the downloadable show notes: Research: A Writer’s Best Friend and A Writer’s Worst Enemy “I have always considered “Write what you know” one of the most useless pieces of advice a beginning author gets…”   Clean Teen Publishing Accepts teen and new adult manuscripts.    Rainbow Rumpus The magazine for youth with LGBT parents. Rainbow Rumpus pays $300 per story on publication.   Another episode you might like: Episode 002 - Three Keys To Writing Nonfiction For Children   Don’t forget to leave your questions: The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question at http://www.speakpipe.com/WFC.   “My journey began with an ICL course and now I have five traditionally published books (in Christian teen fiction trilogy, middle grade fiction, and marriage nonfiction) and a cheeky little self-published picture book.” Laura Caron Thomas, ICL graduate (Writing for Children and Teens and Writing Children’s Books)  

img
Katie Davis
Writing Holiday and Seasonal Material | Writing for Children 006

Jul 1, 2016 - 00:15:55

Really? Now you want to talk about this...at the start of summer? Writing Holiday and Seasonal Material   Whether for Christmas, Independence Day, Fourth of July, Hanukkah, or whatever, magazines are a prime spot to sell your writing for children, but you need to submit it way early! Holidays as a cultural experience are welcome at many magazines. They expand reader horizons. You can also do well with holiday crafts, recipes, and activities. These are especially welcome if they offer more of a season feeling than a tie to a specific holiday. If a treat can be shaped like a Christmas tree or a Chanukah dreidel, you can probably find an interested magazine but if it can be shaped like a snowman, a snowflake, or a snowy tree, you'll have even more takers. Learn more by listening to this episode. The tips in the show notes, which you can download at writingforchildren.com/006 include: Chase’s Calendar of Events - If you're looking to tie a promotional event to a special month, travel to a music festival halfway around the world, blog about a historical milestone or do a celebrity birthday round-up on your blog, Chase's Calendar of Events is the one resource that has it all. Goofy Days of the Year - Get inspiration for new stories, or tie your book into one of these funny holidays. How to Tie Your Book Into a Holiday - One creative way to publicize your book is to tie it to a holiday or special event. You'll be able to reach your audience on a more personal level by promotion your book alongside a holiday, theme month, or cause. Our listener question of the week is from Angelique and she asks, "What are the key differences between writing a story for a magazine and a book? How can we tell if our story is better suited for one or the other?" Episodes you might like: Episode 002 - Three Keys to Writing Nonfiction for Children Episode 006 - Magazine Nonfiction That Connects

img
Katie Davis
Picture Books 101 | Writing for Children 005

Jun 24, 2016 - 00:18:53

Picture Books 101 | Writing for Children 005 Picture books are a marriage of two totally different story telling styles. The writer tells a story in words––either prose or verse. The illustrator tells his or her own story in pictures. And the two story styles together bring something deeper and richer than either could do alone. Even though the author and illustrator usually don’t interact, the story is truly something created by both. The book at the end isn’t the author’s book or the illustrator’s book; it belongs to them both. Listen to the episode for more info! This week’s links and bonus links: -Picture Book Summit 2016: The first online picture book conference. “My pores are oozing with information and inspiration. Many thanks for all the work that went into bringing us such a wonderful conference.”       ––Merry Haugen Bradshaw -Check out the show notes for Episode 004 which includes a link to the Twitter Picture Book Pitch Fest where you can…wait for it…pitch to agents on Twitter! -Writing for Young Children Cheat Sheet This week’s listener question is asked by Keri: “How do you get important messages across in a book for children without sounding too preachy?” Download the show notes at writingforchildren.com/005 Reminders: CONTEST: We have our ongoing writing for children contest right now with $1,300 in cash prizes. Check it out! GIVEAWAY: To celebrate the launch of the show we’re having a random drawing for two $918 writers bundles! QUESTIONS: Don’t forget to leave your questions: The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature answers the podcast questions. You can leave your question HERE at speakpipe.com/WFC.

img
Katie Davis
Don't Tell Us a Story | Writing for Children 004

Jun 16, 2016 - 00:19:11

Why is Episode 4 of Writing for Children called “Don’t Tell Us a Story?” One of the toughest things for newer writers to learn to do is create a story. A story is a specific kind of thing. It isn’t a synopsis, like the work stories you tell over the dinner table. It isn’t a vignette, like the funny story you tell of your daughter’s vocabulary gaffe. Writers aren’t born knowing what a story really is. Stephen King once wrote about his lack of success selling one of his early story attempts. He couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t sell at the time. An editor finally told him that he was a talented writer but that the piece wasn’t a story. As Stephen King came to understand stories, he agreed. So, what is a story? How do you know if the characters and circumstances you have created come together to make a story? Listen to learn more! The tips in the show notes which you can download at writingforchildren.com/004 include: Twitter Picture Book Pitch Party - Resources for Picture book Writers about Pitches, Agents, and Editors A Twitter Pitch Party Calendar - Don’t miss a pitch party! This site has a whole calendar of pitch parties for all different genres and the appropriate hashtags for the parties. YouTube Video on Why Writers Need Social Media  Twitter for Beginners - Specifically for writers who need help getting started on Twitter. Our listener question of the week is from Kimberley Moran, who asks, “How do you know when you’ve hit the right audience age range? Do you need to have kids in that age group or just read a lot of books targeted to that age? The Institute of Children’s Literature faculty answers! You can ask your question at speakpipe.com/wfc. Have feedback? Leave us a review HERE on iTunes!

img
Katie Davis
Creating Characters for Children's Magazines | Writing for Children 003

Jun 11, 2016 - 00:15:53

In this, Episode 3 of the Writing for Children podcast, we discuss Creating Characters for Children’s Magazines.   One thing children are not very forgiving of is a shallow, or poorly thought out character. Characters who vacillate between being too babyish and too adult are common in the manuscripts of new writers. So are generic characters with no real personality. Writing a character, especially a protagonist, is a bit like taking on an acting role. You must truly know the character in order to flesh it out completely.   Listen to learn more!   The tips in the show notes which you can download at writingforchildren.com/003 include:   Know What a Magazine Wants - Highlights Foundation wisdom   Naming Your Character -  Character naming is important and author Susan Uhlig has some resources to help.   What's Your Character Thinking? Have trouble knowing how to handle a character's thoughts in your story––here’s help.   Our listener question of the week is from Kimberley Moran, who asks,   “How do you know when you’ve hit the right audience age range? Do you need to have kids in that age group or just read a lot of books targeted to that age?   The Institute of Children’s Literature faculty answers!   You can ask your question at speakpipe.com/wfc.

img
Katie Davis
Three Keys to Writing Nonfiction for Children | Writing for Children 002

Jun 11, 2016 - 00:20:10

Non fiction can sound like nonfun to a kid. (Loosely quoting Andrea Davis Pinkney at Picture Book Summit). In this episode we discuss the many wonderful things that should go into good nonfiction for children: great ideas, careful research, excitement, humor, and an understanding of your audience. But most of the elements of good nonfiction can be boiled down to three key elements: focus, vitality, and appeal. In the show notes you'll get a link to 10 mistakes writers don't use, how to write tips, and a link to a great article that you'll want to bookmark for when you're choosing character names. Our listener question of the week is from Robyn Campbell, who asks, "Can you explain the importance of stressed and unstressed syllables in prose picture books to help guide the rhythm. Can you explain it? (Better than I just did!) Our ICL faculty answers!  

img
Katie Davis
Write a Children's Book: What's Your Idea? | Writing for Children 001

Jun 11, 2016 - 00:20:55

Welcome to the first episode of Writing for Children, a show focusing on the craft of writing for children. We'll have tips and links to great resources for children’s writers, whether you write for pre-k, mg, teens, books or magazines. The weekly downloadable transcripts are included in the show notes and have extra tips and links! There's a weekly Q&A, and if your question is featured on the show, you’ll get a gift! If you want to be a part of the launch celebration, go to writingforchildren.com. This week's listener question comes from Shauna, who asks, "I'm just starting out in this process and feel I have some great ideas, but just don't know where to start in the whole publishing thing. What is the first step to getting published, other than the writing itself?" One of the Institute of Children's Literature faculty answers. We also cover nine critique group tips and links to hot resources and info-packed sites for children's writers.    

img
Katie Davis
Intro Episode and Preview | Writing for Children 000

Jun 5, 2016 - 00:02:47

The Writing for Children podcast has launched! Here is what you’ll get out of this show every Friday:   It’s short, easy to consume, yet jam-packed with content If you’re writing for children. Doesn’t matter if the children you’re writing for are pre-k, elementary school age, middle grade, or YA, this is a great show for you to listen to. We’ll be focusing on craft. Some of the episodes we’ve already done   Some of the ones we have in store for you are Episode 001-Write a Children's Book What's Your Idea, 006-Holiday and Seasonal Material and coming up, 009-Creating Characters for Young Children, 010-Unusual Story Forms.  We also have downloadable show notes every week with the transcript, plus, linked tips and hard to find resources.   We even answer your writer questions in our weekly listener question of the week segment, answered by the Institute of Children’s literature faculty.   We’d love it if you’d subscribe and leave your review, too.

img
THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE
#606 - Randall Carlson

Feb 4, 2015 - 3:09:16

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

img

Download Yappie today!

img

Message sent

Thanks for getting in touch.