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Episodes

Finding Your Character's Childlike Voice | Writing for Children 184

1/24/2020
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A CHILDLIKE VOICE Kids are far more discerning than many writers suspect. They know a "fake kid" when they hear one, so your dialogue must feel like real words spoken by a real kid. At the same time, it cannot include all the affectations (um, so like, um, what?) that might be part of real speech but would drag the story down. So how do you learn how to write real dialogue? Glad you asked. Here is a three-step process that will help you transform your dialogue. Check out our amazing new...

Duration:00:09:39

The Big Effect of Dialogue Attribution | Writing for Children 183

1/18/2020
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COMBATING THE BORING SPEECH TAG Dialogue is the favorite part of story writing for many authors. In dialogue writing, the author is able to give voice to the people the author created. Tag we're going to dig into the bits that tag along with the dialogue: speech tags and narrative action. How important is that? And how varied? We'll be reading through examples so be sure to download this week's show notes at writingforchildren.com/183 so you can see the examples as you apply these...

Duration:00:10:55

Interview with Kate DiCamillo | Writing for Children 182

1/10/2020
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INTERVIEW WITH KATE DICAMILLO Kate DiCamillo's writing journey has been a truly remarkable one. She grew up in Florida and moved to Minnesota in her twenties, when homesickness and a bitter winter led her to write Because of Winn-Dixie—her first published novel, which became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. Since then, she has been a National Book Award finalist, won two Newbery Medals and was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She now has almost 30...

Duration:00:32:52

Revision: Don't Go It Alone | Writing for Children 181

1/3/2020
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REVISION: DON'T GO IT ALONE When you’re about to begin revising a piece of writing, it can seem so daunting. So, today we bring you a rebroadcast of advice from author and IFW Guest Blogger Rita Reali. Rita's a freelance editor with advice on the importance of getting fresh eyes on your work before you revise. Check out our amazing new self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Duration:00:11:46

Renée LaTulippe | Writing for Children 180

12/27/2019
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RENÉE LATULIPPE Enjoy your holidays with a rebroadcast of our popular episode with Renée LaTulippe sharing how to use poetic techniques in your revision for a manuscript that truly sings. Want to check our new self-led course, Revision Power? Go to writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Duration:00:21:43

Failure is Proof of Effort | Writing for Children 179

12/20/2019
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FAILURE IS PROOF OF EFFORT As the end of the year creeps ever closer, it can be a good time to take stock of how your writing life is going, as long as you do that examination wisely. Having a successful writing life can seem impossible sometimes, especially if we look predominantly at the times we've tried something without success. Virtually every writer has stories that didn't work, books that didn't sell, and efforts that didn't bear fruit. Let's look at those efforts in a different way...

Duration:00:08:57

Revision Power Tips | Writing for Children 178

12/14/2019
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5 TIPS TO REV UP YOUR OPENING When a reader picks up your book, you don't want them to put it down. Here are five tips for energizing your opening sequence and pulling in your reader. Want to check our new self-led course, Revision Power? Go to writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Duration:00:30:54

Browbeaten into Submission | Writing for Children 177

11/30/2019
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BROWBEATEN INTO SUBMISSION Sometimes, the most well-meaning folks can do the greatest harm to an aspiring writer. For a writer, there can be a lot of pressure to get published or prove you can get published. Our friend and frequent blogger, Rita Reali shares some of her story with us today. Want to come to our amazing Revision Power webinar? Sign up at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Duration:00:09:11

Break into Publishing | Writing for Children 176

11/22/2019
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BREAK INTO PUBLISHING Writing is a noble proposition, in and of itself. Published writing is something else entirely. And paid published writing—whoa, Nellie, that’s just glorious! In order to get published, though, you need to put yourself “out there” in the world, and get your writing in front of people who are in charge of accepting items for publication … preferably in places that will pay you for your work. Inspired by an article from Rita Reali, let’s look at different ways to break...

Duration:00:11:15

6 Steps to Submission Success | Writing for Children 175

11/15/2019
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6 STEPS TO SUBMISSION SUCCESS These days a vast majority of publishers and agents accept submissions online, whether through email or a website form. There are a few holdouts, but these days it sounds strange to hear anyone say they don't take digital submissions. This means we all need to learn how to put our best foot forward in online submissions. Adapted from an article by Jan Fields, here are six steps to submission success. Want to come to our amazing Revision Power webinar? Sign up...

Duration:00:14:01

Assembling Your Submission Package | Writing for Children 174

11/8/2019
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ASSEMBLING YOUR SUBMISSION PACKAGE When it comes to becoming a published writer, queries are quintessential. They represent the bridge from your creative endeavors to becoming a professional. Sure, some submissions require cover letters or website forms, but every writer must conquer the query above all. And the query is a key part of a writer’s platform. This episode will look at queries, cover letters, and the other elements that make up submission packages. Get the ICL Submission Prep...

Duration:00:13:59

Interview with Emma Walton Hamilton | Writing for Children 173

11/1/2019
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INTERVIEW WITH EMMA WALTON HAMILTON Emma Walton Hamilton is a best-selling children’s book author, editor, and writing coach. With her mother, actress/author Julie Andrews, Emma has co-authored over thirty children’s books, nine of which have been on the NY Times Bestseller list, including The Very Fairy Princess series. She is Director of the Children’s Lit Fellows program at Stony Brook University. She served as the Editorial Director for the Julie Andrews Collection imprint at Harper...

Duration:00:18:44

Borrowing the Knowledge You Need | Writing for Children 172

10/25/2019
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BORROWING THE KNOWLEDGE YOU NEED Whether you write what you know or delve into subjects that intrigue but are new to you, editors want primary sources. For some subject areas, such as history, this means locating, letters, journals, maps, and other contemporary documents. For science and other academic topics, writers can turn to research studies and professional journals. For almost any topic, expert sources are among the strongest of all. Experts can expand on material located in...

Duration:00:07:09

Pitfalls of Research | Writing for Children 171

10/18/2019
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EVALUATING YOUR SOURCES Today’s episode comes from the IFW book Searching: A Research Guide for Writers, now available in our bookstore. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, research is an important piece of having an authentic article or manuscript that connects with editors and readers. In this episode, we’re talking about how to evaluate the information you find in your research for credibility and reliability. Questions to Ask Never accept a web page at face value; always...

Duration:00:07:34

Finding Markets for Your Writing | Writing for Children 170

10/11/2019
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FINDING MARKETS FOR YOUR WRITING Businesses and industries consider market research a wise investment. They don’t waste time and money trying to sell air conditioners in Alaska, fur coats in the tropics, or prime beef to vegetarians. Successful writers, too, must learn to be market-wise about their creative products. You wouldn’t have to do much market research to see that an article on retirement living would be a poor choice for Humpty Dumpty Magazine or Highlights for Children. But...

Duration:00:11:34

Interview with Susan Campbell Bartoletti | Writing for Children 169

10/4/2019
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INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN CAMPBELL BARTOLETTI Susan Campbell Bartoletti is the author of picture books, novels, and nonfiction for children, including the Newbery Honor book Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow, the Sibert Medal-winning Black Potatoes, and Dear America: A Coal Miner's Bride. Her work has received dozens of awards and honors, including the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Nonfiction, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. We...

Duration:00:19:22

Reshaping Your Story Part 2 | Writing for Children 168

9/27/2019
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RESHAPING YOUR STORY PART 2 Last week, we started talking about how to assess your story’s structure, specifically its beginning. You can find that episode at writingforchildren.com/167. Today, we’re focusing on managing the middle of your story and getting to the tidy, yet satisfying, ending. Get a FREE peek into Writers' Block here: http://instituteforwriters.com/freewritersblock

Duration:00:10:05

Reshaping Your Story Part 1 | Writing for Children 167

9/20/2019
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RESHAPING YOUR STORY PART 1 You’ve finished a draft (or several drafts) of a story you’re excited about. You set it aside to cool for several days, then reread it. While you’re still pleased with the story, you have to admit it needs more work—not just polishing, but re-engineering for better pace, suspense, and focus. If you’re like most writers, you may also find it’s run considerably over the word length you were aiming for, an important consideration if you’re planning to submit the...

Duration:00:09:43

Revision: Don't Go It Alone | Writing for Children 166

9/13/2019
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DON'T REVISE BY YOURSELF When you’re about to begin revising a piece of writing, it can seem so daunting you may be tempted to bury the darn thing at the bottom of your sweater drawer, then go hide somewhere (say, at the beach) for a few weeks. But, you’re listening to this podcast, so you’re in luck! Author and IFW Guest Blogger Rita Reali is also a freelance editor and today we bring you her advice on why you should get fresh eyes on your manuscript once you’re ready to revise. Get a...

Duration:00:11:10

Interview with Renee LaTulippe | Writing for Children 165

9/6/2019
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INTERVIEW WITH RENEE LATULIPPE Renée M. LaTulippe has poems published in many anthologies including School People (ed. Lee Bennett Hopkins), and National Geographic's The Poetry of US and Book of Nature Poetry (both ed. J. Patrick Lewis) to name a few. Renée developed and teaches the online course The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry and blogs on children’s poetry at NoWaterRiver.com. We talk about: • What are common mistakes new writers make? • How do you eliminate...

Duration:00:21:39