Six Realizations that Helped My Friend Write More

This month I got to see my aunt and my dad. My role was as caregiver. She’s eighty-seven. He’s ninety five. I learned one thing: I can’t write around seniors who blare the TV at level 42. Plus, every time one of them walked into a room, I stared at the throw rugs and just … More Six Realizations that Helped My Friend Write More

Writer’s Blocks

I’m getting ready for NaNoWriMo. I’m starting in October to make sure I hit my goals because I’m a notoriously slow author. My son is going to write a novel also. That will add more accountability to the process for me. But he will have writer’s block. He always does. He gets paralyzed with fear … More Writer’s Blocks

How to Get $1.49’s Worth of Writing Advice

Jean Fritz. If you know her work, you’ll be smiling at the mere mention of her name. Her humor has wooed and wowed millions of kids into learning American history. I want to be her when (if) I grow up. See that book below? You can get it for $1.49—what are you waiting for? Didn’t … More How to Get $1.49’s Worth of Writing Advice

Book Coaches, Pt. 2

Take a careful look at the painting below. Would you hang that in your home? Neither would I—and I painted it. That’s my artwork I created at a Painting with a Twist party. Can you tell I copied a “masterpiece.” To get better at painting, I’d need an instructor. Obviously, I need to learn the … More Book Coaches, Pt. 2

When Do I Need to Hire a Fiction Writing Coach?

The short answer is NOW! The long answer is NOW! A writing coach may seem expensive, but the experience will be less expensive than hiring an editor to fix it (and who won’t coach you along the way). You also may pay the price of not seeing your book get picked up by a publisher. … More When Do I Need to Hire a Fiction Writing Coach?

Do Not Besmirch Research

I’m currently doing research for three historical fiction projects. And all three will utilize different types of sources. I apologize that this post will mostly be lists and is a little dry. And it won’t even been an exhaustive list. But it will show how a zealous researcher needs to be creative, and the blog … More Do Not Besmirch Research

On ‘Story Genius’ or . . . How to Avoid Wasting a Decade of Your Life

Ever feel as if your writing is a waste of time? That the entire universe is laughing at your paltry literary efforts? That’s one of my biggest fears, and it’s founded on reality. I wrote three unsuccessful children’s book series for David C. Cook in the 1990s. And by “unsuccessful” I mean the amount of … More On ‘Story Genius’ or . . . How to Avoid Wasting a Decade of Your Life

On Violence in Middle-Grade Books by Marianne Hering

I just turned in a middle-school book proposal in which a uniformed guard gets too close to a fire and his bronze helmet melts, burning his face. That happens just before his body incinerates. It’s gruesome. I describe smells and screams and the ferocious fire that is waiting for more victims. (And yes, you guessed … More On Violence in Middle-Grade Books by Marianne Hering

Great Writing Isn’t Born—It’s Built Sentence by Sentence with Self-Editing

While I was self-editing my first children’s novel in 1989 (gasp, yes, I hung out with Methuselah et al.), I consulted a great little book called Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to edit yourself into print. The wise authors, David King and Renni Browne, helped me look professional in many areas including dialogue and proportion … More Great Writing Isn’t Born—It’s Built Sentence by Sentence with Self-Editing