Recently in The Nitty Gritty of Children's Writing Category

Distancing Your Reader

flyonbench.jpgI was writing lines such as "She noticed the fly crawling across the wooden bench" or "He saw the girl toss her hair," when author Daniel Schwabauer pointed out I was "distancing the reader." I thought I was showing the character in the action, but I actually s-l-o-w-ed the action by making the character an observer! If I'm in the viewpoint of the character, I can simply state the action. "The fly crawled across the wooden bench." "The girl tossed her hair." The reader assumes since these actions are mentioned that the main character saw or experienced them.

Here are some examples crammed into one paragraph:

"It seemed the sun was already scorching the dewy grass. The boy cast his line and watched it fall into the murky pond. He felt sweaty and the mosquitoes were biting. He was afraid it might be too hot to catch any fish." (43 words)

Better would be action stated directly:

"The sun scorched the moisture from the dewy grass. The boy cast his line into the murky pond. He licked sweat off his upper lip and smashed a mosquito on his jeans. Would the fish bite in this heat?" (39 words)

Four less words and I slipped in what the boy was wearing.

Another example:footonrail.jpg

"I felt the rail vibrating beneath my feet." (8 words)

"The rail vibrated beneath my feet." (7 words)

The rewrite is less passive--more active--more immediate.

Verb forms that distance the reader from the action are a type of passive writing as well. Look at samples:
"let herself drop" versus "dropped"
"attempted to reach" versus "reached"
"tried to climb" versus "climbed"
They aren't as sharp and weaken the writing.

Another writer, Michelle Hauck, calls it filtering. She says, "Filtering is exactly what its name implies. It is running an observation through your point of view character instead of giving it straight to the reader . . . you're having the character share the action with the reader instead of putting it directly before the reader. It's like a stage direction that shouts 'look here.' If you have words like 'heard, saw, watched, looked, realized, knew, understood, seemed, and felt' then you have filtering." Read more of her blog article on the topic.

Does this mean you never should use "heard, saw, watched" etc.? In my opinion, no. I was rereading a book recently and the main character is hidden under a tarp in a boat. He can't see anything outside the tarp. Hearing becomes a very essential sensory detail as the character makes judgments about what he hears. However, if we read about him "hearing" all the time in the story, this particular instance is buried and won't stand out.

Whether you call it "distancing your reader" or "filtering," check your writing to see if you are misusing this in your stories.

Images courtesy of

Resizing Photos for Use on Websites

kitten headshot.jpgI find fellow writers (and illustrators) who struggle with getting their book cover images and pictures of themselves in the correct format to upload on websites. In fact, they might have as much of a startled look as this little guy does.

Here's a how to...



  • Determine what formats are acceptable. Most common ones are: jpg (jpeg), png or gif. (This is the ending after your file name.) Most pictures out of a camera will be .jpg. When scanning an image, you can usually choose your format.
  • Check to see the required size for the document or website. Often this will be listed in k or mg (thousand or million). It may be listed in pixels. For example on the website for book covers or profile pictures, it says: "(must be less than 4MB and a jpg, png, or gif)."
  • Save your picture with a new name (or duplicate and rename) and work on the copy, so you don't lose the original high quality image. VERY IMPORTANT!
  • Crop your picture if necessary before resizing. For a cover image, crop to cover only. For an image of you, it depends what the image is for. Many times you'll want a head and shoulders shot, versus the whole body.
  • After you resize save your picture under the new name again.


Cropping on a Mac

  • Using FINDER open your duplicate picture in PREVIEW by double-clicking on the copy of the image you want to change.
  • Choose EDIT on the menu bar.
  • Click on SELECT ALL. (dotted lines will show around the image)
  • Sometimes my computer lets me use the mouse pointer as a double-headed arrow to drag the image from corners or sides. Other times, I have to follow the next two steps below. (I'm sorry I don't why it is different at different times!)
  • Choose TOOLS on the menu bar.
  • Click on CROP and use your mouse to click and drag a frame around the portion of your picture that you want to keep. (The icon for your mouse pointer will be a plus.) You can move the frame in or out by the dots on the sides or corners.
  • When satisfied, go back to TOOLS and click on CROP. Your picture will be "cut down" to the image you want.
  • Happy with your cropping? Go to FILE on the menu bar and click on SAVE. If not, go to FILE and click on REVERT TO and choose the older "new original" file.

Resizing on a Mac

  • Using FINDER open your duplicate picture in PREVIEW by double-clicking on the copy of the image you want to resize.
  • Choose TOOLS on the menu bar.
  • In the popup window click on ADJUST SIZE.
  • You'll see a FIT INTO ___ PIXELS drop down arrow at the top of the new window. Click on the arrow. Choose 640 x 480 or 320 by 240.
  • Near the bottom of the window a message will flash saying "Calculating Size." It will tell you how big the picture was and how big it is now. If too small, choose a larger dimension of pixels.
  • Happy with your image size? Click OK to save.


Cropping on a PC - using Microsoft Office Picture Manager
(If you have Microsoft Office products, you probably have Microsoft Office Picture Manager.)

  • Open your duplicate of your picture in Microsoft Office Picture Manager either by opening the program and locating the copy of the image OR using FILE EXPLORER (windows explorer on older PCs to navigate to the copy of the image and right click so you can choose EDIT which will probably open your file with MS Office Picture Manager.
  • On the TOOLBAR at that top click on EDIT PICTURE.
  • In the popup window on the right, choose CROP.
  • Drag black line icons from corners or from each size to crop image. You can move these in or out.
  • Click OK.
  • Happy with your cropping? Go to FILE on the menu bar and click on SAVE. If not, click on UNDO and start over.
  • Resizing on a PC - using Microsoft Office Picture Manager
    (If you have Microsoft Office products, you probably have Microsoft Office Picture Manager.)

    • Open your duplicate of your picture in Microsoft Office Picture Manager either by opening the program and locating the copy of the image OR using FILE EXPLORER (windows explorer on older PCs to navigate to the copy of the image and right click so you can choose EDIT which will probably open your file with MS Office Picture Manager.
    • On the TOOLBAR at that top click on EDIT PICTURE.
    • In the popup window on the right, choose RESIZE.
    • In the new popup window you can choose, PREDEFINED WIDTH X HEIGHT (or Custom width x height or percentage of original width x height)
    • Using the dropdown arrow choose WEB - LARGE or WEB - SMALL, E-MAIL (large or small). After you select one, look at the difference between the old size and the new size. It will show you in pixels!
    • Click OK.
    • Happy with the size? Go to FILE on the menu bar and click on SAVE. If not, click on UNDO and start over.


    Windows 10 will open a program when you click on a photo that also allows cropping, but I don't see resizing. You can get to it by going to Windows icon in the left bottom corner, then clicking on PHOTOS.


    • As before, make a copy of your original picture first!
    • Go to website.
    • Select picture by clicking on browse to find the picture on your computer.
    • Click continue.
    • In the new window you can Crop if needed.
    • After you've cropped, rotated, etc., you may make your picture smaller in Resize Your Picture by clicking on the drop down arrows.
    • I wouldn't recommend Special Effects.
    • Click on I'm Done, Resize My Picture!
    • Now you can View Image or Resume Editing your picture.
    • When happy with it click Save to Disk - you will not get a chance to rename your file, which is why it is so important to have a copy of your original file first.

    There are also YouTube videos on how to do this.

    The absolute easiest way to get a good picture of your book cover, is to go to the publisher's site, or Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and copy the picture from the site. Right click on the picture (PC) or Control click (Mac) and choose Save As. Put the picture where you'll know to find it.

    cropped photo courtesy of


image courtesy of Kevin Conners and

According to, overwriting is "a wordy writing style characterized by excessive detail, needless repetition, overwrought figures of speech, and/or convoluted sentence structures."

Overwriting happens when a writer tries too hard to get the point across or is out to impress the reader. Often, the writer has no idea this is what he's doing. But the result can be long, boring writing that is often unclear. This can be deadly to a story.

So what's excessive detail? Those details that don't really matter, that most everyone will assume.

Excessive detail example:
Jon pulled on his underwear, then white socks, his jeans and a button-down shirt, which he buttoned carefully.

Jon got dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt.

The reader will assume underwear and socks (unless there have been indications earlier or will be later that Jon doesn't wear those items) and buttoned the shirt in some fashion. Think about what happens in a movie. You might see someone get out of bed and pull on jeans and a shirt. You might see someone showering, and then come out of the bathroom dressed. But usually you don't see every action of getting those clothes on. It's because they aren't usually important details to the story.

Those normal details could make a difference if it is an out-of-the-ordinary detail, such as:
Jon pulled on a pair of lacy women's underwear, then covered them with a pair of Carhartt jeans.

So think about details that make a difference--ones that matter in your story. But if they are ordinary details, keep them simple and clear.

Excessive detail can also slow the action. You're off talking about yesterday's lunch, or plans for tomorrow, when the reader is thinking, but what is happening now?

How do you spot this?
1. Find places in a story where a character says something and the answer from the other person is held in stasis by lengthy thoughts or plans.
2. Look for danger and see if the characters are running from (or fighting) the dragon or are they talking about different ways dragons attack humans? When characters are in danger, they must act. No time for witty riposte, deep thoughts, backstory, etc.

Needless repetition is often easier to see in someone else's writing than our own. Here are some tips to catch it yourself:
1. Cut the same word used more than once in a sentence.
E.g. My favorite painting is the painting of the tiger. (Simplify: My favorite painting is the tiger.) OR He walked across the room and he opened the door. (Cut second he.)
2. Avoid different forms of the same word used in a sentence.
E.g. Making do, the pioneers made homemade gifts. OR I don't tolerate intolerance in my classroom. (Reword.)
3. Look for redundancy with words and phrases that over explain.
E.g. On Monday, the first day of the work week... (Like that isn't standard?). OR Her backpack was purple colored. (We get "was purple.") OR I got out of school at 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon. (Either p.m. or afternoon, not both.)
4. Watch out for repetition in sentence construction.
E.g. The dog walked into the living room. The dog circled three times and lay down. The dog fell asleep. (Vary sentence structure. At times combine. E.g. In the living room, the dog circled three times and lay down. He fell asleep.)
5. Don't overuse proper names.
E.g. Sally was homeschooled in sixth grade, but Sally went back to public school for seventh grade. In eighth grade, Sally was in honors English. (Rewrite so you don't use the name twice in the same sentence or even a sentence immediately following--it's okay to use pronouns.)
6. Be wary of overusing favorite words or phrases.
E.g. really, very, looked, turned, etc. Clenched his jaw. Tensed her muscles. (Sometimes these are clichés as well. If you become aware of a favorite word or phrase, you can always have your word processor search for it.)
7. Make your point once and trust your reader to get it.
E.g. Milton had worked hard and was very hungry. "I'm so hungry I could eat a giant pizza all by myself," he said. Milton felt as if he'd starve to death if he didn't get something to eat soon. (Really? It's necessary to say that in three different ways? Pick the best. For fiction, I'd choose the dialogue. For a report, I'd probably use the first statement.)

Reading your writing aloud can be very helpful in finding repetition.

Overwrought figures of speech can be expressions that don't make sense in context or ones that are "over the top" for the situation.

Nonsensical figures of speech examples:
I have insomnia but I am not going to lose any sleep over it.
I would give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
He's out to lunch about his new diet.

Going overboard with figures of speech is something some teens are very good at doing. So if it's in dialogue and that fits your character's personality use an extreme figure of speech. But every time something goes wrong for your character, you don't want to exaggerate in narration.
E.g. He couldn't breathe. She couldn't speak. (And then the story shows that the character can breathe or speak. Or the dialogue shows the problem. "I . . . can't . . . breathe.")
He thought he was going to die if she said no. (Of course he won't die. This is often telling instead of showing as well.)

Too many figures of speech in a single paragraph can be too much as well.
For example: The man hummed like a busy beehive. The intensity of his tone rose as if someone was trying to steal the honey. A buzz burst from his lips.
Line after line of this can be exhausting.

Convoluted sentence structures can be difficult to understand. Sometimes the problem is an out of place phrase. Or perhaps there are too many thoughts and/or actions in one sentence. It may only be clear in the writer's mind who is doing what.

The fix is to simplify. Cut unnecessary words. Divide a sentence into two or more. Make sure clauses are appropriately placed.

Convoluted examples with simplifications following:

1. Did you work full-time or part-time for an employer or were you self-employed during the week ending last Saturday, which you have not already reported? (Huh?)

Better: Is there any other work, whether full-time or part-time for an employer, or self-employed work, for the last calendar week that you have not reported?

Better yet: Did you do any other work during the last calendar week that you have not yet reported? Please consider all full-time or part-time for an employer and any self-employment work.

2. After Marie started using the medicine for four days is the reason she felt better. (I get it, but it's not as clear as it could be.)

Better: The reason Marie felt better was four days of taking the medicine.

Better yet: Marie felt better after four days on the medicine.

3. Reaching through the open door of the stable, Lisa grabbed a bridle and set of reins, then turned around and speaking softly put the bit into the horse's mouth, eased the bridle over his ears and draped the reins over the saddle horn, before smoothly mounting the horse.

Better: In the stable Lisa grabbed a bridle. Speaking softly, she stepped up to the horse and slipped the bit between his teeth. His ears flickered when she eased the headstall over his head and draped the reins over the saddle horn. In one smooth motion, she put her left foot in the stirrup and mounted the horse. (This is more step-by-step, rather than cramming it all in one sentence. The terminology is also more technically correct. Plus, breaking it up allowed me to add more detail.)

4. Matt let go of Sean's arm and wiped the sweat off the back of his neck. (Was Matt wiping his own sweat or Sean's?)

Better: Letting go of Sean's arm, Matt wiped the sweat off the back of his neck. (More obvious it's Matt's sweat.)

Better yet: Matt wiped the sweat off the back of his neck. (Do we need to know he dropped Sean's arm? He has two hands.)

Remember, the point of storytelling isn't too impress anyone with your imagery, your attention to every detail, or your unusual sentences. Unclutter your writing and clearly tell a good story.

Are List Serves a Service or a Waste of Time?

bird on a wire.JPG

The answer--depends how you use them.

Yes, you can be signed up for too many, or for ones that don't really fit your needs or interests. Or you can waste your time reading and talking too much or on off-topics. (Much of this applies to Facebook pages or groups as well.)

However, I believe that used judiciously, list serves can be useful. There are one-way list serves--basically announcements that provide information. And two-way list serves, which are
online communities. I'm addressing the latter here. Writing (or illustrating) is mostly a solitary activity. Meeting with other creative face to face isn't always possible, but a list serve can be a good substitute.

Let's talk about several ways people are involved.


All this means is that people are reading, but not participating in the conversation. They don't comment, nor start new topics, nor share good and bad news. We call them "lurkers." Does this mean they can't get anything out of the posts? Of course not. They can glean lots of information from what others are saying. But...if they have a question and don't ask it on the list serve, how will they get it answered?

One of my friends had been lurking on a list serve and because I "out"ed that she was there (she had invited me to it), she decided she'd better introduce herself. Nervously, she wrote a post of intro and commented on a topic that the group had been discussing. She asked me to look over her post before she sent it. "Is it okay?" she asked. "Definitely," I told her. "Go ahead and post." She did, and guess who commented?! Andy Boyles of Highlights. Just by making an intelligent comment on a list serve she had a short conversation with an editor.


Posting means participating in the conversation. It can include sharing information from good articles or tips you've read, links to resources and events, your own posts on a topic from your blog or on a website, information about the publishing industry, etc. It's a place to ask and answer questions, get opinions or quick feedback, find potential critique partners, learn about opportunities, meet people, and make friends.

List Serve Etiquette

Although on many list serves you are welcome to share about yourself and your successes, on no list serve should your posts be all about you. Remember that word conversation. Don't shout about "me, me, me." Instead, engage others by rejoicing with their successes, commiserating when appropriate, etc. Ask and answer questions.

Never attack someone. (Also known as flaming.) If you disagree with something, be polite when expressing yourself. Don't participate in a long and involved argument; simply state your opinion and move on.

Never make rude comments about another children's writer or illustrator, editor or agent. Yes, sometimes we gripe in general about a situation, but don't make libelous statements. You also don't want to create an overall view of yourself as a complainer. As Thumper says, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." You'll stay out of a lot of trouble by following that little rule.

If you want to share someone's words/thoughts from a post on a list serve, ask the author's permission. It's fine to share links.

When replying, don't quote the whole message you are responding to (and definitely not a whole digest).

If you want to start a new conversation, start a new topic instead of commenting on a previous topic. A back and forth conversation is called a thread. Basically, it's good to keep the same thread under one subject heading.

It's nice to sign your name. Some lists will ask you to post your email address as well.

Be gracious. People will make mistakes, including you.

Types of Groups

Groups are hosted by a provider, such as Yahoo or Google. They can be open or closed. An open group is one anyone can join. Closed groups are often invitation only, or the person desiring to join must be approved by a moderator. Groups can be by location, genre, organization, work group, or any limitation or category someone dreams up.

How List Serves Commonly Work

Most list serves can be used in three ways:
• Individual emails to your inbox each time someone posts
• Daily digests - a collection of the days posts with headings emailed to your inbox
• Reading posts online

It's usual to be able to reply to posts via email, to the sender directly, to the whole group or online. Starting a new topic can be done online or by sending an email to the list serves email address.

Some list serves have moderated posts, which can either be someone approving posts before they go "live" or someone who just watches out for problems.

It's also usually easy to unsubscribe from a list that no longer meets your needs.

Why I Use List Serves

I use them for community, for staying in touch with people I don't see often, for help and information, and have even gotten job leads.

I'd be interested in hearing what others think about this topic.

(bird on a wire picture courtesy of

Reducing Word Count

Reducing word count is especially important to magazine writers and to picture book writers since those types of writings have such low word counts. But, novelists have word limits, too. However, there are other reasons, besides the literal number, to cut words.

To my mind there are four areas to focus on for reducing word count.

First, cutting chaff.

photo courtesy of
grain & chaff.jpg


Chaff from
"the mass of husks, etc, separated from the seeds during threshing"
"something of little worth; rubbish (esp in the phrase separate the wheat from the chaff)"


This applies to all types of writing. Pieces of chaff are those weasel words and overused words. Weasel words slip into our writing no matter what the topic. Some of my personal culprits are: so, then, that, just, really. Overused words I'm responsible for include: looked, turned, as. Here's authorculture's list of ten most overused words in fiction. This link includes overused phrases as well as words. I love this collection.

While searching for references, I found another meaning for weasel words in an article by Richard Nordquist: "A modifying word that undermines or contradicts the meaning of the word, phrase, or clause it accompanies, such as 'genuine replica.'" Or in other words, doublespeak, implying something that is not true or perhaps meaningless. Read the article here.

Adverbs are often chaff. If the verb is strong enough, is the right verb, you don't need a verb with a modifier. (e.g. dashed versus ran quickly.) But there's something else we do with adverbs and other phrases and that's water down our message. Again, turning to an article by Richard Nordquist, I like this definition of hedging: "In communication, a word or phrase that makes a statement less forceful or assertive." Read the examples, if not the whole article to spot hedge words and phrases.

Adjectives could be chaff, too. A specific noun is better than a nonspecific noun with an adjective. What creates a better picture in your mind? A big car or a Hummer? The big car ran into the small car versus The Hummer crashed into the Smart car--the latter makes me shudder.

Next area, passive writing.

Finding passive verbs and making them more active, not only cuts word count, but livens the reading. (e.g. was climbing versus climbed and started to pedal versus pedaled) I like what the University of Wisconsin says here about active versus passive. Be a Better Writer explains passive verbs and continuous verbs.

I'm going to add "seems" and "seemed" to this category, as well. "She seems to want the dog." "He seemed mad." You're the author. Does she want the dog or not? Was he mad or wasn't he? Are you wanting the reader to guess? It's also a form of telling. Let us hear what she thinks about the dog. Show us his anger. It may not actually cut words, but the writing will be stronger.

Third area, tightening.

Each time I reread what I've written, I find unnecessary words and/or phrases. (The original said: "I find words and/or phrases that are unnecessary." Two words cut.) Getting rid of unnecessary words does more than make sentences shorter. The meaning becomes clearer. The writing is less cluttered.

When I tighten, I might cut whole paragraphs or scenes. (First attempt, the sentence was: "When I tighten, I might also have whole paragraphs or scenes that aren't needed." Four words cut.) If a paragraph/scene doesn't "move the story forward," doesn't show character, or have important plot details, try reading the story without it and see if it leaves a hole or not.

Sometimes, we only need a simple transition instead of complete details. For example, "He jumped out of bed." versus "He yawned and rubbed his eyes. After scratching his armpit, the boy flipped back the covers, slid out of bed and landed on his feet." Yes, the latter is more interesting. But is it necessary to the scene? If every action is described in detail, then we'll also follow him to the dresser where he opens a drawer and pulls out underwear, a shirt and pants, and puts them on along with his socks and shoes. We could have a whole page before he gets downstairs to breakfast where there's conflict waiting. Repeat that every day of the story and the reader will be bored because nothing is happening.

In picture books, there's a special form of tightening. That's taking out what the illustrator will put in. We don't usually need to describe the character's outward appearance in the text--there will be a picture. Ditto, setting.

In picture books we also leave out things that are not important or slow down the story. I remember hearing Pat Zietlow Miller talking about her lovely book SOPHIE'S SQUASH. There's a marker in the book. Pat said she first had the marker being the marker that Sophie wasn't supposed to use. But the point of the marker is that it was used to draw a face on the squash. We don't need the marker's backstory. The drawn face on the squash is what is important.

We also don't explain in picture books. In MR. PUSSKINS: a love story by Sam Lloyd, the cat uses a phone and the little girl drives a car. Both work without any explanation or excuse.

The final area to cut is individual words in the next to final draft.

When you are almost done with the manuscript, look at each individual manuscript page and see if you can cut five words, or twenty words. I've heard this suggestion from a number of authors ranging from Peg Kehret to Linda Sue Park to Richard Peck. At a recent conference, Richard challenged us to make the first line of the story fit on one line. This tightening strengthens the punch of the words.

Hard work? Oh, yeah. But worth it.

Distancing Your Reader

Resizing Photos for Use on Websites


Are List Serves a Service or a Waste of Time?

Reducing Word Count

MS Wish List

How to Stand Out


Kids Reading Books and Saying What They Think


Selling Photos to Magazines

Poor Man's Copyright, a Myth

Missing Students

The Right Number of Characters

What Do You Do When You're Stuck?

Naming Your Character

Considering Self-Publishing?

When Educational Publishers Ask for Your Résumé

Say What?

Write Well When the Muse Is Sleeping

Writing Process Blog Tour

Truth in Fiction

Plodding or Plotting

Raise the stakes, honey!

One Size Does NOT Fit All


175 Proof

He Thought to Himself and Other Excesses

Confessions of a Writer Easily Distracted

Is That Right?

Writing Business Expenses


The Hero's Journey for Magazine Writers

Altitude and Attitude - Adult or Child?

Slow Down, You Move too Fast

Kidz Only! Adults Keep Out!

A Dark Side of Social Media

Do you struggle with grammar?

Can children and teens can get their work published?

Patience Required

I'm a Work-in-Progress

Illustrator Resources

Inspiration from Kate DiCamillo

Are Listserves a Service or a Waste of Time?

Writing and Life Balance

How To Start Querying an Agent


Nancy I. Sanders on Writing Nonfiction


Perfecting Dialogue Punctuation

Ouch! Thin Skin!

Agents Telling What They Want

School Visits, the Extended Version

Going Back to School

One of 75 finalists

Make It Work for You

Down with Discouragement!

Do as I Say

Professional Problem Maker

4 Ways to Make Your Characters "Talk Different"

Picture Book Month

Work-for-Hire Resources

Work-for-Hire Wisdom

Work-for-Hire also known as WFH

Picture Perfect Picture Books

Picture Book Resources

Author Talks versus Workshops

My Favorite Online Resources

Technicalities - More Thoughts on Public Speaking

Do as I Say

Theme List Tactics

What Would Sue Do?

Attribution or Action?

Don't Throw in the Towel

Do You Remember?

Dragged to the Podium

Double Identity - Pen Names

Before You Sign: Contract Resources

Welcome, Diane Bailey, Work-for-hire Champion

Ready, Set, Goal

An Editor's Day

How'd You Get That Gig?

On the Hunt for Ideas

Bloggers Supporting Other Bloggers

Shadowing a Submission

Give up or press on?

Turning Ideas Into Stories - Workshop

After the Critique

Keeping Track

The Synopsis Shrink

Mind Your Cs and Qs - part three

Mind Your Cs and Qs - part two

Mind Your Cs and Qs - part one

Standard Manuscript Format


Critique Methods

Market Research Resources - Agents



Organizations and Groups

Writing a Novel? Where Does It Fit?

Meeting Editors and Agents - In Person

Meet Editors and Agents - Online

Book It! - Recording What You Read

Theme and Premise

Self-Editing Tips

The Story Ladder or Novel Timeline

Showing Versus Telling

Read, Read, Read

The Power of a Good First Line

Hooking your Reader

Listen to the Voices


Viewpoint in Children's Fiction

Making Friends: Character Development

Glossary of Publishing Terms

Genre Resources

Children's Book Genres

Why Write?