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Continued From - "Children's Writing Guide"


Articles About Writing

Verbs Rule
. . . . by Margot Finke

* Top Ten Writing Mistakes Made By New Children's Writers . . . .by Suzanne Lieurance

* A Hard Look at Easy Readers . . . . by Suzanne Lieurance

* Six Simple Ways to Make the Most of Any Writing Workshop or Writing Class . . . . by Suzanne Lieurance

4 Terrific Articles on Writing . . . . by Holly Lisle

* Three Simple Steps to a
Gripping Story
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
by Jill McDougall


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Verbs Rule
by Margot Finke


I have a simple solution for getting rid of weak verbs. At the beginning of each writing day, re-read what you wrote the day before. Outline every verb you come across, and then click Shift F7 (this brings up the Word Thesaurus).

Check each verb against the array of alternatives the Thesaurus offers, and if necessary, choose a more active and powerful verb. You can use any Thesaurus you fancy for this, but the one in Word is right there at your fingertips. Active, strong and powerful verbs help you craft active, strong & powerful chapters. Good luck.

Three Simple Steps to a Gripping Story
Jill McDougall

( Jill McDougall is a much published author of books and articles too numerouns to mention)

Pamela tore through the dungeon. The evil wizard was gaining on her. Up ahead was a glimmer of light. She doubled her efforts.

"Not so fast," growled the wizard, as he tugged at her sweater.

Poor Pamela is in a bit of a pickle. Will she escape? What will the nasty wizard do if he catches her? And, more importantly, do we care. Probably not. (Yawn.)

Who is this Pamela anyway? Just some girl in a sweater running fast. If the evil wizard snatches Pamela and turns her into …er, Pamcakes: then so what? We don't care, because the writer has failed the fundamental task of character building.

In a few short paragraphs, it's possible to bring a character to life so intensely that the reader not only cares what happens to her, but is filled with a sense of urgency on her behalf. How do we achieve this?

1. Give the Character Some Sense!

Real people like you and me don't perform actions in a vacuum. Our senses are flooded with information every second - we see, we feel, we hear, we smell and we taste. This is what makes us feel alive. Enliven the viewpoint character by entering their sensory world.

Pamela tore through the dungeon. The evil wizard was gaining on her. The drumming of his boots echoed in her ears.

Up ahead was a glimmer of light. She doubled her efforts until her breath came in great choking sobs.

"Not so fast," growled the wizard, as he tugged at her sweater.

Salt stung her eyes.

Now the reader has an up-close-and-personal sense of Pamela's experience. But this is still not enough. What is going through Pamela's mind? Probably not Grandma's recipe for lentil soup. To feel really connected, we need to hear her thoughts.

Pamela tore through the dungeon. Her chest seemed to be on fire. The evil wizard was gaining on her. The drumming of his boots echoed in her ears. She'd never make it.

But wait.

Up ahead was a glimmer of light. Priscilla doubled her efforts until her breath came in great choking sobs. Come on, she urged her trembling legs.

"Not so fast," growled the wizard, as he tugged at her sweater.

Salt stung her eyes.

Now the reader has become Pamela. The reader is running through the dungeon on trembling legs. Suddenly the reader has a stake in the outcome. It will be much harder for the reader to leave the story before Pamela is safe again. Imagine how much more power we could invoke if the entire scene was filtered through Pamela's eyes.

2. Get Behind the Character's Eyes:

What is the setting here? A dungeon with a glimmer of light at one end. It's not much to work with but let's see what we can do. Don't forget, the aim is to describe the setting as the character experiences it.

Pamela pushed on - the dungeon a blur of shadowy faces behind steel bars.

Now the reader is positioned behind Pamela's eyes. That cranks up the reader-character bond another notch. And it not only paints a more vivid picture of the dungeon BUT it raises the stakes. The reader now has a chilling insight into Pamela's cruel fate.

There was something up ahead, a dusty yellow glow from … from a lantern, or a torch. No, not a lantern. Pamela blinked away tears. Yes! The light sliced across the floor in a perfect triangle. It could only mean one thing. She doubled her efforts.

When we filter a scene bit by bit through the character's experience, the action slows right down. This heightens the tension. Since the scene is now written through Pamela's point of view, the last line doesn't work any more. "Not so fast," growled the wizard, as he tugged at her sweater.

Here the reader has to leap out of Pamela's head to look 'outside' at the wizard pulling her sweater. It's not something she could see from behind. So, how would Pamela experience this moment?

"Not so fast." The wizard's breath was warm against her ear. Then she felt something worse. Far worse. An urgent tug on her sweater.

At this point, we should give the wizard a stronger presence by naming him. We need an evil name - something that twists the mouth sideways and sounds vaguely menacing. Let's call him Eekial.

Oh, and let's give the main character a more suitable name while we're at it. 'Pamela' is a tad old-fashioned with a hint of mediocre. Since she's our main character, it's important that we use every tool at our disposal to encourage our readers to care about her. We need a name that has a warm, affectionate feel - something distinctive but not too common, like… Molly.

The first draft of this scene is nearly complete. First draft? Yes, because now we have to weed out the clichés, strengthen the weaker words and search for fresh images that will give the piece a distinctive 'voice'.

3. Freshen Up

There are a number of clichés and weak phrases in our piece that need attention. Let's deal with one.

The drumming of his boots echoed in her ears.

This has a familiar ring, both in drumming and in 'echoed in her ears.' Clichés tend to dull the reader's mind and deaden their response to your character. Perhaps Eekial's boots could hammer instead of drum. Or, for a more emphatic rhythm, simply thud, thud, thud…

And instead of the boots echoing in Molly's ears, perhaps she could feel as if they are thudding right inside her skull?

Here's the newly constructed scene.

Molly pushed on - the dungeon a blur of shadowy faces behind steel bars. Eekial was gaining on her. Thud… thud… thud. His boots seemed to be pounding inside her skull. She'd never make it.

But wait.

There was something up ahead - a dusty yellow glow from…from a lantern or a torch. No, not a lantern. She blinked away tears. Yes! The light sliced across the floor in a perfect triangle. It could only mean one thing. Molly doubled her efforts until her breath came in great choking sobs. Come on, she urged her trembling legs.

"Not so fast." The wizard's breath was warm against her ear. Then she felt something worse. Far worse. An urgent tug on her sweater.

Salt stung her eyes.


In dramatic scenes, writers aim for racing pulses, bulging eyeballs, trembling organs.

And that's just in the readers.

Visit Jill McDougal's website HERE


3 x Articles by Suzanne Lieurance
Insights and help for beginning writers.

Suzanne - is a freelance writer and children's author living in the Midwest. She teaches "writing for children and teenagers" for the Institute of Children's Literature (ICL). Suzanne also offers children's writing workshops on line, so check the "online workshops" folder on her Home Page for her next workshop dates. Her website is filled with the wisdom of a talented and generous writer. Her "Articles for Writers" is especially worth a look.

from Suzanne Leiurance

. . Okay, so I'n not David Letterman. But I doubt if he'd know much about the top 10 mistakes made by new Children's writers anyway. I, on the other hand, read from 10 to 20 manuscripts for children every week (I'm not bragging -just an instructor with the Instituet of Children's Literature). While many of the stories I read are destined for publication, I find that 10 common mistakes crop up again-and-again in the other.manuscripts I edit each week.


#1- - - -

Top Ten Writing Mistakes Made By New Children's Writers

by Suzanne Lieurance

I’ll start with number 10 (just like Letterman) and work my way up to the number one writing mistake made by new children’s writers (and, just so you know - I’ve been guilty of making some of these mistakes myself, so don’t beat yourself up if you realize you’re guilty of some of these, too):

10) No Clear POV Character – Children tend to relate to the POV character in a story. This is the person they will root for. Make it clear right from the start whose story is being told. Even if you have two main characters (twins, for example), you need to pick just one of these kids to be your POV character. And, it should go without saying, when writing for children, make sure your POV character IS a kid - even if Grandma has a big part in your story.

9) Multiple Points of View – Unlike stories for adults, stories for children are generally told from only one POV. It isn’t difficult to maintain a single point of view once you get the hang of it. Just remember - if you are “showing” everything from your main character’s point of view, then he or she has to be present for everything that happens. I see stories all the time where the POV character suddenly leaves the room. Yikes! If your POV character wasn’t there to see or hear what went on, then we can’t see or hear it either.

8) Telling instead of Showing – Read a good story and chances are there is a lot of action and dialogue (showing) with minimal stretches of straight narrative (telling). Too much narrative and the story sounds like a summary. Readers don’t want a summary. They want scenes with action and dialogue that make them feel they are actually experiencing what is going on. So “show” as much as possible of your story through action and dialogue.

7) Overuse of Adjectives, Adverbs, and Other Unnecessary Words – Do you really need to say someone “whispered quietly” Or “shouted loudly” Or, my favorite - she “nodded her head”? What else could she nod? Or, she “shrugged her shoulders” - she certainly wouldn’t shrug her foot!

6) Dialogue That is Not Punctuated Properly – Get a grammar book to learn how to punctuate dialogue properly. But, most importantly, remember to change paragraphs each time the speaker changes. I read manuscripts all the time where three or four characters are speaking, yet the paragraph never changes. Just imagine how confusing that is to the reader!

5) Long Timeframes – I know Harry Potter takes place over several years. But, the story also takes place through several books. Most children’s writers start out writing stories for children’s magazines or they want to write picture books for very young children. Either way, the timeframe in these stories should be rather short - a couple of hours or a day or two. If your story takes place over a couple of weeks or (gulp!) a couple of years, then you need to shorten the timeframe.

4) No Narrative “Hook” for the Reader – I know what you’re asking - “What is a narrative hook?” Well, that’s simple. It’s just an opening sentence or two that “hooks” the reader and makes him or her want to continue reading to find out what happens.

3) Dialogue That Doesn’t Sound Real – Listen to any child or teenager and you’ll find out that much of what kids and teens say (at least to each other) tends to sound like a series of grunts. So don’t have the child or teen in your story use words like “shall,” or never use contractions. If you do, the dialogue will sound too formal and your work will not have a child’s or teen’s voice.

2) Adults Who Step In to Save the Day for the Child – I know what you’re thinking. Parents and other well-meaning adults DO step in all the time to save the day for kids. So why can’t they do it in stories for children? The answer to that is - because children don’t want to read stories like that. Stories for children have strong children (or children who eventually become strong throughout the course of the story) as characters. This empowers the children who read these stories. They figure, if the POV character can solve his own problems then maybe they can too.
Now. Drum roll here.
The number one mistake new writers make in their stories for children is:

1) No real conflict - There’s no story problem. Your POV character needs to face some big problem right at the start of the story. Then, he or she needs to struggle and struggle with this problem as he/she tries to solve it. That is, things need to keep getting worse and worse until finally the POV character is able to solve the problem (or at least resolve it) and change or grow somehow in the process. Without a story problem you have what editors like to call “an incident,” and editors don’t publish incidents. They publish stories.

So that's my list of top 10 mistakes new children's writers make. Use this article as a checklist when you're writing for children. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to publication.
See you in print!

Article Source


# 2 - - -

A Hard Look at Easy Readers

by Suzanne Lieurance

Children six to nine still love to cozy up to a parent or grandparent and hear a story. But they’re also starting to formulate their own reading likes and dislikes and to choose their reading material. They’re more sophisticated about content than many would think, but still new enough readers that format has to be just so.

“Writing for this age is truly an art form,” says Hilary Bain, Editor in Chief of chickaDEE, part of the OWL Group of Children’s magazines. “It is difficult to write for a child who is just learning to put words together in print, yet make the material interesting enough that the child wants to read it.”

The effort has a strong payoff for children’s writers: an appreciative audience and many opportunities at magazines. Easy reader stories are always in demand.

Distinct Needs - Children in early years of reading have distinct needs. “Beginning readers need a layout that won’t overwhelm them, text that invites them in, with art and short captions,” says Highlights for Children Senior Editor Marileta Robinson. “Our stories for beginning readers are set in larger type than stories for older readers - 13 or 16 point versus 10 point - and are shorter - a 500-word maximum versus 800 words.”

While writers don’t need to worry about type size, they should consider layout. According to Robinson, “A story for beginning readers should have several opportunities for different illustrations.” It should also be divided into short, simple paragraphs. These “chunk up” the text, for easier reading.

Bain also advises, “Use short words in short, simple, and direct sentences. A story or article should have a single concept, just one focus or layer.”

Heather A. Delabre, Assistant Editor at Cricket Magazine Group’s Spider, explains, “Since children this age are new readers, they need to be entertained and challenged by the material they read.”

Writers don’t have long to engage children at this age: “I think it’s especially crucial with beginning readers to capture their attention in the first paragraph,” says Terry Harshman, Editor at Children’s Playmate, one of the Children’s Better Health Institute (CBHI) publications. “A story should be lively and fun, carrying the reader along on this magic carpet to journey’s end.”

Bain explains that part of the challenge in writing for this age is in not assuming too much. Often, kids are familiar with a word when they hear it, but it’s quite different when they read it. For example, exceptional is a word most children know. But when they read a line of text and come to this word, it might slow down their reading as they try to sound it out. It has too many syllables, and as young readers concentrate on sounding out, they lose their train of thought and forget what they’re reading about.

Beginning readers also need to be able to identify with the characters, but not be bored with too much similarity. Delabre cites “An Ordinary Boy,” by Kate DiCamillo (Spider, August 2001). “In this story, kids read about a boy their age who is followed everywhere he goes by rain. There’s enough of the familiar to give young readers the identification they crave, yet enough of the unfamiliar to keep them intrigued and having fun with what they’re reading.”

Robinson reminds writers that “playful use of language and stories with built-in repetition are appealing to beginning readers.”

Tried & True & New - Magazines for easy readers are breaking into two camps: Those responding to changes in popular culture and those not interested in reinventing the wheel. But all want material that works, and they want it fresh.

Highlights isn’t changing its approach. “We still strive to provide materials for a wide range of reading abilities, while keeping a wide age-range appeal for all of the material in the magazine,” says Robinson.

While many magazines that publish easy reader stories seem to focus much more on popular culture - musicians, television, video games - than in the past, Cricket Magazine Group publications don’t follow these trends, says Delabre. “We look for fresh, innovative stories that stimulate young minds without the use of media trends.”

Aileen Andres Sox, Editor of Our Little Friend and Primary Treasure, two Seventh-day Adventist children’s publications, says, “Following a formula that has worked for more than 100 years, we will continue to focus on true, Christian stories.”

But, as the world changes, some easy reader publications are changing, too. “Our focus at the Children’s Better Health Institute is expanding somewhat,” says Harshman. “We have begun to introduce French and Spanish in our publications. We feel that if children are reached at an early age, it is easier for them to become bilingual.”

“We realize that pop culture is part of kids’ lives today,” says chickaDEE’s Bain, “so we try to bring pop culture into the magazine; otherwise, we aren’t appealing to the needs of our readers. But, we bring in pop culture in an educational way. If we tell about a popular movie, we focus on educating kids about some aspect of this movie. With Mighty Joe Young, we showed kids how the creature was created for this movie and how computers were used to make it so lifelike.”

Today’s busy lifestyles and the ever-increasing role of technology in children’s lives have brought about a new publication that appeals to beginning readers. Jennifer Reed and her husband, Jeff, decided to create Wee Ones, an online-only magazine for kids and their parents. Reed says, “Often, children aren’t getting the attention they deserve and that means many are not getting read to. We are trying to fulfill that need by incorporating technology with good literature for both children and adults. Children are gravitating toward computers and the Internet at alarming rates. Wee Ones wants to make sure there is something good and wholesome out there for parents and kids.”

Missing the Mark - Writers unfortunately often continue to make the same mistakes in beginning reader submissions.

Robinson still sees too many “stories that tell rather than show. Beginning readers need stories that appeal to all the senses. Stories that have appealing characters, action, and dialogue, and that use humor and suspense, and have a voice.”

At Spider, editors see too many stories that condescend to the child reader. Delabre advises, “Don’t use baby talk or oversimplify your ideas. Respect your audience. Spider doesn’t want stories that are too preachy, didactic, or message-driven.”

Inappropriate anthropomorphism is something else to avoid. “Only use talking animals if they are integral to the plot,” warns Delabre. “Too many

times, these animals are merely children with fur. If you were to shift your talking animals into children, would you still have a strong plot? Or, is the novelty of your story tied up in the animals alone?”

Editors also don’t want stories that disregard word limits, but writers do just this - often. “These word limits aren’t just arbitrary numbers,” says Delabre. “Since we have only about 30 pages in which to present the stories, poems, and activities in the body of Spider, we want to be able to give readers as many stories as we can, which means strict adherence to word limits.”

Publications from the Children’s Better Health Institute have a specific mission. “Often submissions are not in keeping with our mission,” says Harshman. “It’s obvious that the author has not looked at our publication. Since we are health and fitness magazines, we have a particular focus.”

Another common mistake writers make is to assume easy reader stories don’t need to be just as well written as stories for older children. “Some writers seem to think that with less words, there doesn’t need to be a plot. Many stories I see lack structure, plot, and theme,” says Reed.

Breaking In - It’s more difficult to break in at some easy reader magazines than others. All fiction at chickaDEE is assigned. It sets up articles and stories for each themed issue about a year in advance. The best way to break in at chickaDEE is for writers to become familiar with the scheduled themes, which may be requested, and submit a story on a theme far in advance of the scheduled publication date.

A rebus story of about 120 words is the best way to break in at Highlights. “But the author should study several issues worth to see what makes them tick,” advises Robinson.

Although you’ve heard it before, studying the market is still excellent advice for any writer wanting to break in at a particular publication. “Read back issues of the publications you’d like to submit to, in order to familiarize yourself with the styles, genres, and age ranges of the magazines. Also, be sure to use a publication’s writers’ guidelines. “These guidelines will make you aware of length and topic restrictions,” says Delabre. Many publications have their guidelines available online.

Fiction and nonfiction for the beginning reader must be easy to read, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to write. Yet, consider the distinct needs of both the young readers and the editors who cater to these beginning readers, and you just might make an easy sale.

Websites for Some Easy Reader Publications

Children’s Playmate, Humpty Dumpy

Highlights for Children -


Our Little Friend; Primary Treasure

Spider, Ladybug (Cricket Magazine Group)

Wee Ones Magazine

(Originally published in CHILDREN’S WRITER, the Newsletter of Writing and Publishing Trends, November 2001)

Article Source:



# 3 -
Six Simple Ways to Make the Most of Any
Writing Workshop or Writing Class

by Suzanne Lieurance


If you’ve recently signed up for a writing workshop or writing class, in the hopes of becoming a better writer, then follow these simple steps to make the most of that experience:

1) Read! Read! Read! - Before the very first class or workshop, survey ALL the class materials so you will get an idea of what to expect - Most good writing classes (and workshops) will provide students with a wealth of helpful materials. But these materials won’t do you any good if you don’t bother to look at them. In fact, if you have time before the workshop starts, read as many of the materials as you can. You might not fully understand what you are reading. That’s okay. Learning is recursive – which means your understanding will increase each time you study or reread the information.

If you don’t have time to read the materials before the class begins, then at least look over all the materials beforehand. Also, besides the required course materials, if there are suggested additional materials, get those too. And read them!

Also, read the kinds of things you wish to write. If you want to write stories for children, READ stories for children. If you want to writeculinary mysteries for adults, READ culinary mysteries for adults, etc.

SPECIAL NOTE: Also, realize this. If you don’t enjoy reading, then you probably won’t enjoy the work it takes to become a successful (by that I mean, published) writer. Published writers are like sponges – anxious to soak up any information about their craft that they can.2) Carefully read the directions for each and every assignment and follow the directions TO THE LETTER. - I’m surprised that so many people pay for a writing course (like the one I teach for the Institute of Children’s Literature), yet a large number of these people don’t follow the directions for each assignment. In some cases, it’s painfully evident that they didn’t even bother to READ the directions. What they need to understand is this – usually each assignment or lesson in a writing course or workshop was designed with specific objectives in mind. If the student doesn’t bother to read and follow the directions for each assignment, then the instructor has little chance of helping the student meet those objectives.

3) Avoid defending your work to your instructor - Generally, students payan instructor because he (or she) has some expertise and experience in writing, which usually includes many publishing credits. In fact, you should ALWAYS look for an instructor who has publishing credits. But then listen to what that instructor has to say about your writing, then follow his advice without trying to defend your work if it goes against what he has suggested.

Your instructor knows what he is talking about. For example, many times I tell students that in stories for children, adults should play very minor roles, and the child or teen in the story should always solve his own problem without a parent or other well-meaning adult stepping in to save the day. Many students want to argue that adults save the day for kids all the time in real life, so it should be okay that Aunt Martha calling at the last minute to offer little Janie the money she needs for summer camp is the perfect resolution for their story.

Sure, this kind of thing happens in real life. But, in stories for kids or teens, editors want the child to solve his own problem. Don’t waste precious time (yours or the instructor’s) arguing about something like this. Your understanding of WHY you should do what your instructor is asking you to do (or not do) will increase over time and study. Do what your instructor suggests, without defending your reason for going against his directions, and you’ll move ahead at a faster pace.

4) Learn to research all sorts of topics. In other words, don’t depend on instructors, editors, publishers, or anyone else to provide you with ALL the information you need in order to become a published writer - Your instructor will probably give you research tips and marketing information, of course. But most published writers are self-directed learners. By that I mean, when they don’t KNOW something, they figure out HOW and WHERE to get the needed information themselves (more about how to do this, next).

5) Find other writers to network with and even hang out with, and read publications for writers - Join a local writers’ group or at least sign up for one online (at you’ll find all sorts of groups for writers). Try to find a group that includes at least a few published writers. Generally, writers like to be helpful. They will usually share marketing tips, writing resources, etc. and will help you to more fully understand what you learn in a writing workshop or writing class.

Also, talk to some of the other writers in these groups to find out how they write. Then use some of their tips to improve your own writing, writing habits, etc. Hang out with the published writers and you’ll soon learn that they probably do a LOT of rewriting before they sell any of their work.

Read publications for writers to gain current marketing news and tips, and to find out how other writers became successful.

All these things will help give you the confidence to keep writing (and to keep practicing what you learn in your writing workshop or writing course) until you manage to get something published.

6) Don’t expect writing to be easy, and don’t assume that if it isn’t it must mean you don’t have enough talent to succeed as a writer, so you might as well drop out of the workshop or writing class - Actually, most successful writers will tell you that talent isn’t the most important quality for success. The ability to follow directions (which will eventually come from an editor or editors) and the willingness to continue writing and rewriting, until at least some of the many rejection letters you get in the mail turn into acceptance letters, are much more important qualities for success as a writer. If you realize this BEFORE you start any writing workshop or writing course, you will be more likely to stick with it, even when the work gets difficult.These successful children’s writers offer additional tips:

Cynthia Leitich Smith, award-winning author of JINGLE DANCER (Morrow, 2000)(ages 4-up), RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (Harper, 2001)(Listening Library, 2001)(ages 10-up), and INDIAN SHOES (Harper, 2002)(ages 7-up), and other works, says:

"Be brave. Participate. Put yourself out there. Don't defend or explain away your work. Don't think of the other students as competition. And don't worry if you're not ‘the star.’ Your focus should be on improving your craft--period."

Pat McCarthy, an Instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature, and author of 5 YA biographies and 5 nonfiction books for children suggests:

"Don't write something different from what is assigned because you like to do it your way. Do use the manuscript format - double spaced, etc."

Susan Wright, another instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature, and author of the DEAD END ROAD MYSTERIES (for ages 10 & up) advises:

"Pay attention when others' work is being read and critiqued--it's not just common courtesy, but we can often learn a lot from it. Resist the temptation to go off on personal conversational tangents until after the session. Workshop or class time is limited and valuable."

L.D. Harkrader, author of 9 nonfiction books for children, and the middle grade novel, AIRBALL: MY LIFE IN BRIEFS (released earlier this month by Roaring Book Press) says:

"When your instructor makes suggestions on how to improve your stories, don't be afraid to revise, and don't trick yourself into thinking revision is merely cosmetic work--a word or comma changed here or there. Consider what your instructor has suggested, give your stories a hard, honest look, then dig into your revision, ruthlessly cutting or changing anything that doesn't work. Your stories deserve to be as strong and as publishable as possible, and the only way you can achieve that is to be brave and do the work."

Okay. So now that you know how to make the most of that writing workshop or writing class you just signed up for – go get ready for it. And have a great time!

See you in print!

Article Source:



4 Terrific Articles
by multi published author

Holly Lisle


#1 - Ten Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice

Your job as a writer is much more than just selling your books, believe it or not. Your job -- if you want to make a living at this, anyway -- is to sell yourself.

You are selling your unique perspective on life, your unique collection of beliefs, fears, hopes and dreams, your memories of childhood tribulation and triumphs and adult achievements and failures . . . your universe.

To read more of this stunning article click HERE:


#2 - A Little Bit of Me, A Little Bit of You
Our Lives as Fiction Fodder

So I'm writing this story about wizards and magic and treacherous Families and a magnificent artifact lost in a far-away land, and right in the middle of my work, I suddenly discover that what I'm really writing about are my beliefs regarding our responsibility for our own actions, no matter what excuses we might think we have, and about the roles that love and self-sacrifice play in our lives, and how we cannot wait for anyone - not even God - to rescue us. I'm throwing stuff in there about my childhood, my kids, my two failed marriages, my previous career as a registered nurse, speculation on what would happen to a religion if its Messiah appeared and all of the religion's adherents knew he'd come . . . and then he was taken away before he could fulfill any of his promises.

To read more of this fascinating article click HERE:


#3 - Dealing With Your Family

Families come in all kinds, but no matter what kind yours happens to be, they are probably going to think that quitting a nice, stable job to go haring off into the woolly world of full-time writing is a dumbass thing to do. And from the point of view of nice sane people everywhere, they are probably right. If you were one of the nice sane people everywhere, though, you wouldn't even have made it this far in the article, so I feel safe in addressing you, the wild and woolly fellow writer. Here are the rules when dealing with family.

To read more of this neat article click HERE:


#4 - How to Tell Who WON'T Make It in Writing
(and How Not to Be That Writer)

I've met thousands of unpublished writers since I started selling my work. I've corresponded with at least a couple thousand more. I've heard every possible hope and dream about writing, commiserated with sad tales of rejection, cheered over jubilant good news, and listened to more plots than the FBI and more dirt than the parish priest sitting in his confessional.

To read more of this spot-on article click HERE:


NOTE: When you've read all 4 of Holly's articles, go to the top of each page and toggle back and forth to choose other articles listed within the < < arrows >>

Holy knows her stuff - learn from her!