Professional Author Tips

Hot Writing Craft Tips for Cold Winter Nights, Number Three

For this week’s hot writing craft tips, let’s look even more closely and with a sculptor’s eye at words and sentences and paragraphs. Diction and Syntax Diction (word choice) and syntax (sentence structure) are more than just grammar terms – they are the materials writers use to shape thought. By understanding and using how the… Read more »

Round Two Writing Tips

These small tips are my Season’s Greetings to you all!! And maybe I’m making a small statement about 2020? I hope you enjoy! Conflict and Tension Every story benefits by having high tension and strong conflict. First drafts are generally not high tension drafts – it isn’t until revision that I add as much tension… Read more »

Planning To Plot

As promised in my last blog post, in this one I’m going to address the multiple ways you can look at plot, and how simplifying your approach may in fact help. The Plot Paradigm The earliest plot paradigm harks all the way back to Aristotle, who defined the three-act structure in his Poetics, as this:… Read more »

Writer Tips: Formatting Your Manuscript

For the next handful of posts I’m going to be offering tips for writers, from the most basic elements to the most advanced. In today’s post, a pretty basic tip but clearly one that needs updating from time to time. Not long ago I was helping a writer with a manuscript, and they sent me… Read more »

Writing Dreams Do Come True

I’m very excited to be able to reveal the cover of my next book, THE ARTIFACT HUNTERS, which will launch August 25 from Viking. This middle-grade novel is a companion to THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE, with a different protagonist (though some of the same characters). I’m excited for this story to reach the… Read more »

Writing Craft Books For Your Gift List

Tis the season…and if you are needing last-minute suggestions for either your own stocking or a fellow writer’s, here are my current favorites. Donald Maass, Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook. This has long been my very favorite craft book. Clearly written, with excellent examples and terrific exercises at the end of every chapter, if you… Read more »

“Best Of”…Writing Advice

So many good books to celebrate this year! I’ve been following the “best of” lists, the successes of friends, the books that are making a difference in kids’ lives. I decided to make my own “best of” list, but not of books (for those, please see the CBC lists, and NPR’s list, among others. What… Read more »

Social Media For Kidlit Writers

Every so often, I like to revisit the topic of what social media we all “should” be using. (Here’s my caveat: there are no hard and fast rules; things change quickly in this realm; do what feels right for you.) Social media serves several functions: you connect there with friends and colleagues you connect there… Read more »