Category: Writing for Children

[my writing life] Failure IS an Option

OK, this year has been incredibly good for writing news for me so far. There has been a book sale (more details to come after I sign a contract), a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, a Cybils award, Scholastic Book Club fun, Golden Kite Picture Book Text Honor, another honor I

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Courage: My Word of the Year

Each year, I choose an annual theme, an idea I originally got from Steve and Vicki Palmquist of Children’s Literature Network. My word for 2012 was Focus. I think I got better at focus last year. I learned to do better at blocking out my to-do list and focusing in

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[My Writing Life] Got It Covered

Hi, guys–Happy New Year! It’s good to be back! There was a piece recently in Publishers Weekly about the cover of Steam Train, Dream Train, the follow-up to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. So much thought goes into figuring out book covers. For my next book with Millbrook Press, Water Can

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[My Writing Life] After NCTE

My Writing Book of the Day: Letters to a Fiction Writer, edited by Frederick Busch. Letters from great writers like Ray Bradbury, Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor…This isn’t so much a how-to book, but it’s a book full of lessons, to be sure. Quick quote: “The one thing I know about

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[My Writing Life] Setting Goals at NCTE and Other Conventions

My Writing Book of the Day: Word Magic, by Cindy Rogers. Forget structure. Forget first drafts. Think specific words and phrases. That’s where magic happens, and Cindy is your guide. The chapter on implication is one of my favorites. Through examples, exercises, explanation, and quotation, you learn how to imply

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[My Writing Life] Generosity and NCTE

My Writing Book of the Day: Take Joy, by Jane Yolen. Jane debunks the myth that writers must be miserable. Yay! Because, really, who wants to be around miserable writers? And read their work? Quick quote: “Serendipity is not so simple as luck. It is the result of a conscious

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Why I’m Glad Writing Is Not a Performance Sport

1) I’ve been watching some of the Olympics, and it’s so heartbreaking when a supremely skilled athlete has a bad day and watches golden dreams slip away. 2) I’m “driving” a prop car for Minnesota Brass this season in our Bonnie & Clyde show. Due to a perfect storm of

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Pause for a Writing Tip from the Olympics

Watching the men’s gymnastics competition last night, I was struck again by how much I like a good pause. Check out a great one here. In the Olympics, on So You Think You Can Dance, in a drum corps show…sometimes the best moments in the entire show are when a

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Finding My Writing GPS

Yesterday I wished for a GPS for my current wip. Afterward, I realized I already had one available: mentor texts. Sometimes when I’m at sea and disoriented, choosing a book as my mentor text, my guide, helps me find a direction and answer the questions in my head. I don’t

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