Fox’s Den

Welcome to my Fox’s Den – a miscellany of news, tips, and resources for writers, parents, teachers, librarians, and readers of all stripes!

This is truly a “den”: here you’ll find comfy chairs, soft firelight, a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and floor to ceiling bookshelves loaded with great reads, from Dickens to Peck, from Rowling to Collins to Green. Come on in and stay a while!

 

For Writers: Getting Started

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My critique partners at our summer retreat.

If you are just starting out in the writing world, you might be feeling alone and lost. I recommend a critique group (I have one of the best!) and a daily regimen. Here are some of my other  thoughts on being a writer. 

Professional organizations offer a great wealth of information. I’m a long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, which offers support and opportunities at both a national and regional level that are not to be missed. I’m also a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP),  The Author’s Guild, Romance Writers of America, and Women Writing the West, and they are all excellent organizations that address different aspects of writing. Joining an organization will give you a chance to interact with fellow authors, and the oppSCBWIortunity to meet editors and agents and to receive critiques.

Are you thinking of attending a conference? I’ve put together a list of conference “do’s and don’ts” that may help.

I’ve compiled a series of posts on “getting your foot in the door” and the first of these is writing the synopsis.

I’ve written a post on writing loglines, and handling “elevator moments,” which you’ll find here. And here’s a PDF template to help you draft a logline.

Here’s one way to turn your synopsis into a killer query letter. And a PDF template for the query here.

 

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For Writers: Craft

paradigmWhen I began writing as a career, my biggest craft problems involved understanding plot. I’ve made a study of plotting, and have put together handouts that I hope you’ll find helpful. Here’s a link to my post A Plot Paradigm Compilation.

As an enhancement to the plot paradigm chart, I’ve written a downloadable explanation on “Plotting and Pacing”, and here you’ll find a short series on conflict and tension.

Editors and agents often say that they can work with a messy plot, but they can’t fix a dull voice. What makes great “voice” in a novel, and how can writers work to achieve it? Recently I gave a presentation on voice – it’s very detailed, so I’ve made it into a downloadable pdf file for you.

And here’s a shorter post on voice that gives you some tips and exercises.

 

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For Readers: Book Details and Fun Facts 

If you are interested in the history and back story of THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE, check out the blog series that starts here.

To complement SIRENS I’ve written a series of 10 blog posts about the 1920s that covers everything you might not know, from the end of World War 1 to flapper behavior to the spiritualism movement. The series starts here.

FORGIVEN readers may want to check the blog post series I’ve written on San Francisco history, which starts here.

And FAITHFUL readers may be interested in the history of the Yellowstone region, and cultural aspects of life, in 1904. My blog series starts here.

 

For Parents, Librarians, and Teachers: Activity, Book Club, and Discussion Guides, and More

I’ve made a selection of organization tips for kids, teachers, and parents, based on my research for Get Organized Without Losing It. Check these out, along with my downloadable handouts:

Get Organized Without Losing It: Activity Guide

Get Organized Without Losing It: Shopping List

Get Organized Without Losing It: After School Schedule

Get Organized Without Losing It: Homework Checklist

Get Organized Without Losing It: Long Term Planner

In addition, I have free downloadable teacher’s guides for each of my novels:

Faithful_Teacher_Activity_Guide

Forgiven_Teacher_Activity_Guide

A CCSS Annotated Discussion and Activity Guide for Sirens

A CCSS Annotated Discussion and Activity Guide for The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle

And here is a book club discussion guide for SIRENS:

book club questions for Sirens