Writers Links:
On Writing

Ten Tips On Writing Race in Novels by Mitali Perkins at Mitali's Fire Escape.

30 Days to Stronger Characters: a helpful series for writers from Darcy Pattison at Revision Notes.

A Character's Controlling Belief by Mary Atkinson from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "A character’s goal is different. Goal answers the question, what does a character want? Controlling belief answers, why does she want it?"

Acquiring an Agent After Self-Publishing by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker. Peek: "Writing that moves people to tears and earns unasked-for praise will inevitably attract an agent's attention. If you've got that kind of talent, surely you have more than one book in you. You can then leverage your self-publishing success in order to show an agent that your work has wider appeal."

The Art of Revising a Novel by Chris Brodien from The Enchanted Inkpot. Includes a round-up of revision strategies/process insights from the Inkies.

Author Alison Harat on Writing About Horses from Cynsations.

Author Robin Friedman on the ‘80s, GenX, and THE IMPORTANCE OF WINGS from Cynsations.

Author Studies by Carol Hurst from Carol Hurst's Children's Literature site (first published in Teaching K-8).

Authorial Intent by Jennifer R. Hubbard from writerjenn. Peek: "Authors are responsible for what they write, but how responsible are they for what readers find?"

The Bad Guys Wear Black: Villains by Darcy Pattison.

Beyond The Big Idea by Chris Barton from Bartography. Here's a sneak peek: "In a series of posts, I'm going to use examples of this book's content in a tutorial geared toward my own children--and maybe just right for some that you know--about how to track down more information on a subject covered in a nonfiction book." Don't miss part two, part three, part four, and part five.

Bethany Roberts’ Writing for Children Workshop: writing and publishing children’s books; tips on children’s writing.

A Case for Villains by Danyelle from QueryTracker.net Blog. Peek: “No villain=no conflict=no plot=no point.”

Character and Plot: Inseparable! from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: "Plot is what makes the character interesting (because the character is tested) and character is what makes the plot interesting (because we're learning about the character)."

To Cheer or To Covet by Liz Garton Scanlon from Liz In Ink. Here's a sneak peek: "I'm here to admit right now that I've been on both sides of this thorny fence."

Children's Writing Web Journal: From the Editors of Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers.

Deepening Your Novel with Imagery, Symbolism, and Figurative Language by Martina from Adventures in Children's Publishing. Peek: "For me, it's a combination of the above, but it's also that indefinable magic that suddenly makes symbols and images appear in the writing without my knowledge, the overarching, structural metaphors and symbols that bring disparate elements together and illuminate what the story is about."

Dialoue: A Balancing Act by Sarah Sullivan from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "Pull out your writing how-to books and you will read that dialogue serves two purposes: 1. To reveal character and 2. To advance plot."
Dialogue: Writing for Children and Young Adults: an interview with authors Linda Urban and Micol Ostow by Carrie Jones from Through the Tollbooth.
Dirty Little Secrets about the Writing Life by author Shutta Crum from Written Words. Peek: "No author will refer you to his/her agent or editor without falling in love with your manuscript. Relationships of this type are built on trust. No author would do damage to his or her agent/editor relationship without first reading and loving your manuscript."

The D-Word by Sarah Sullivan from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "...how do you effectively capture a historical time and place without 'letting your research show,' by overloading the text with background information?"

Eight Tips for Writing Comedy by Anna Staniszewski. Peek: "If one character says, 'The world is ending!' and another character says, "No it isn't," the scene doesn't leave you many places to go. Chances are it's going to wind up being an argument, which can get boring really fast. But if the second character's response is, 'I knew the chicken people would finally come!' — well, that gives you more to work with, doesn't it?"

Even More Long-Winded and Practical Writing Advice from Whatever: The online home of writer John Scalzi. Taunting the Tauntable Since 1998.

Eye for a God's Eye: The Bold Choice of the Omniscient Point of View in Fiction for Young Adults by Gwenda Bond at Shaken and Stirred (PDF file).

Finding Flow in a [Writers'] Group by Helen Hemphill at Through the Tollbooth.

First Drafts by Brian Yansky at Brian's Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: "Michelangelo was very eloquent about his approach to sculpting. He said, 'I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free.' Oh, yes, very nice indeed. Very pretty. Lucky bunch, those sculptors."

Frequently Asked Questions from Beginning Writers by Greg Leitich Smith.

Five Ways That Another Author's Career Can Sideline Yours from Pub Rants. Peek: "This is a long haul business and we have seen new authors who rush too hard to get projects out that should have been edited more. Don't kneecap yourself by worrying about your friend's recent deal."

Games to Play While Waiting for an Idea from Tim Wynne-Jones. Peek: "When the ideas aren’t flowing you can prime the pump. Here are some games I have discovered along the way."

Getting Out of Your Own Way from Gail Giles.

The Ghost Writer by Karen Cioffi from Karen and Robyn--Writing for Children. Peek: "He’s kind of like a superhero of the writing world. He lifts you up and helps you create what you don’t have the time, energy or skill to do yourself."

Holly Black's writing resources: especially helpful to fantasy, horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction writers.

How Do We Know The Truth - For Sure? by Susan Kuklin from I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: "Writing both narratives and giving them equal weight turned out to have an unexpected benefit. The readers now had opposing material for debates. And they did. In the classroom and privately. With passion and conviction."

How to Craft a Great Voice from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "Voice, at its most basic level, is the sensibility with which an author writes. It's a perspective, an outlook on the world, a personality and style that is recognizable even out of context."

How to Mock Up a Picture Book from Darcy Pattison's Revision Notes. Peek: "The structure is so unusual, that you need a dummy to refine and polish your text. It can tell you which section of text is too long, let you look at pacing of the story across the pages, help you spot needless repetitions and much more."

How To Write Forever and with Joy with Jane Yolen, a chatlog from the Institute of Children's Literature. Read A Story Behind The Story with Jane Yolen.

I Don't Want an Honest Critique by Darcy Pattison.

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again by Darcy Pattison.

If I Had a Hammer, I'd Hammer This Message Into You from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: "People (of any age) do not appreciate the funnel-to-gullet method of learning a lesson."

Jean Craighead George on Writing: some basic idea starters.

Just Stay Comma by Jan Fields from the Institute of Children's Literature. Peek: "Now before you enter the terrifying world of the comma, you must remember one thing: the basic purpose of all punctuation is to help make text easier to read."

Karleen Bradford's Writer's Help Page. Focuses on: How to Write a Query Letter; Where Do You Get Your Ideas; and How to Overcome Writer's Block.

Less is More by Kelly Bingham from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "Your best poetry is going to take shape when you figure out which details to select and which ones to leave out."

Let's Get It On: Sex Scenes in Young Adult Novels by Marianna Baer from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "Once I stepped back and looked at YA novels I think handle sex beautifully, I realized I needed to come back to that – the craft. Because, in the end, good craft will set us free."

Manuscript Formatting for Beginners by Kent Brewster from Speculations: For Writers Who Want to be Read.

Missed Opportunities by Brian Yansky at Brian's Blog: Random thoughts on the art and craft of fiction writing. Peek: "The good thing about fiction is a missed opportunity isn’t really missed. We get do-overs all the time. We get the gift of revision."

Multicultural Dialogue: Please Pass the Patate by Carmela Martino from Teaching Authors: Six Children's Authors Who Also Teach Writing. Peek: "Members of my own immigrant family speak with heavy accents and often intersperse Italian words, or Anglicized Italian, with English. If I tried to reproduce such speech in my novel, readers would have a difficult time deciphering it."

Mystery Writing Lessons from Kristi Holl.

Negotiating the Revision Maze by Uma Krishnaswami.

The Nonfiction Author-Illustrator Relationship by Sneed B. Collard III at Interesting Nonfiction for Kids.

On Overwriting: The pitfalls of 'lyrical' prose' by Louise Hawes. Peek: "How to explain my fall from lofty lyricism? Why, when I finally had a chance to step into Melville’s shoes, did I instead write nothing but deliberate, frivolous fun? Because, quite simply, I had children."

On Writing Non-Fiction for Kids from Fiona Bayrock. Includes subsections on writing science, writing biography, writing history, writing crafts, and selling series non-fiction.

Picture Book Endings: a series of posts by Michelle Markel from The Cat and the Fiddle. See also Picture Book Endings: Fantasy, Picture Book Endings: Realistic Fiction, Picture Book Endings: Historical Fiction, Picture Book Endings: Lyrical, and Picture Book Endings: A Biography, a Wrap-up.

Pleased to meet you--fully exploiting a character's first scene by Marianna Baer from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "From the moment a new character enters a book, the reader consciously and subconsciously picks up on clues about his nature and quickly forms an opinion. If details are not thoughtfully chosen, a character's first scene can be a missed opportunity or, more negatively, disruptively misleading."

The Power of Myth by Darcy Pattison.

The Pre-Side of Writing with Cynthia Leitich Smith from the Institute of Children's Literature.

Picture Books: Plan, Polish, and Publish: One Writer's Method from Dori Chaconas.

Research is for the Background by Greg Leitich Smith.

Revising a Rough Draft by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: "The beginning chapter or chapters I might go over fifteen or twenty times. It’s ridiculous. I know it is, but I can’t help myself. I need to do that to get them to be the best I can make them."

Revision Strategies - A Chapter Worksheet by Dee Garretson from Project Mayhem: From the Manic Minds of Middle Grade Writers. Peek: "Once I have a draft I'm fairly happy about, I go back and revise by chapters, trying to ensure each chapter holds together as a unit itself and adds to the story as a whole."

Stages of Revision by Natalie Whipple at Between Fact and Fiction. Peek: "The plot is your base—your story relies on this as a firm foundation. If you have weak areas, you risk readers putting down your book. Because of that, my first revisions always revolve around tightening the plot."

Structure by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: "In terms of structure, these localized desires need to feed into the larger themes. If they do, then the localized action will add to the larger action."

Sympathetic vs. Unsympathetic Characters from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "And there are some actions that are just too far beyond the pale for even the most likable of characters, including using racial slurs and/or other powerful cultural taboos. (Oddly this does not seem to include killing people and eating their flesh. Books are weird that way.)"

Taking Risks from Gail Giles.

Time Period Settings by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "The event or period really has to be central to the events of your own novel. In other words, there has to be a dang good reason for you to be setting your book in another time."

Tips for Non-corny Romance Scenes by Deborah Halverson from DearEditor.com. Peek: "Because teens lack the words and experience to express themselves well in romantic situations, they try to read each other's body language and become hyper-conscious of their own bodies. Mine that!"

Tips on Writing: Making the Most of Your Writing Group by Jo Knowles. Peek: "I say responding because I think this is much more helpful to the writer than 'critiquing.' After a person reads, let the responders take a minute or two of quiet time to gather thoughts and take notes. This can be torture for the writer waiting to hear what people thought, but I think it's worth it to let people take a minute to, well, think."

Tips for Writing Mysteries from Laura Backes of Children's Book Insider.

Thoughts on Scene Structure from Lena Coakley. Peek: "Now, I had been writing a long time—an embarrassingly long time—before I figured out that a scene needs structure in the same way that a complete novel does."

Tricks of the Trade: Revision Tips from Picture Book Authors by Michelle Markel from The Cat and the Fiddle.

Verla Kay's Website: "This website for writers of children's literature was named one of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers in May of 2000 by Writer's Digest." Her books include GOLD FEVER and IRON HORSES. Read An Interview With Verla Kay.

Websters Online Dictionary: The Rosetta Edition: the ultimate online dictionary; definitions, encyclopedic references, and more!

Where Ideas Really Come From by Tim Wynne-Jones. Peek: "Over the years I’ve found all kinds of ways of answering this important question. Mostly, I lie. I say things like, Ideas come from the Idea Store. A kid once told me he had been to the Idea Store. Another liar, I suspected. Except that he could describe it in detail."

Why Backstory is the Bomb from Denise Jaden. Peek: "Just because we don’t want that backstory up front, doesn’t mean we don’t need it at all. It doesn’t mean that we can vaguely imagine a few scenarios of what could have been the history of our characters. We have to know. And for that, in most cases, we have to write it."

Writing.com: an online community for writers of all ages, interests and skill levels. Anyone may create a free portfolio and exchange feedback with other writers.

Writing Dialogue: Class Differences by Carrie Jones at Through the Tollbooth.

The Write Journey from children's and adult author Sheri Gilbert. Children's writing site features articles, coffee chat, readers' corner, tips, publishing news, and more!

Writing Easy Readers: A Chatlog with Anastasia Suen from author Verla Kay's Web site.

Writing Multicultural Children's Books by Harold Underdown from The Purple Crayon.

Writing Picture Books by Marisa Montes. Includes tips and diagram.

Writing process...writing practice from Helen Hemphill at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "Practice is about getting better. It's about doing, analyzing, and critiquing. But it's also about reflecting. What am I doing to sabotage my story? How can I write this sentence, this paragraph, this chapter better?"

Writers' Resources from the Highlights Foundation at Chautauqua. Articles by faculty on a variety of writing-related subjects. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Writing to Answer Your Central Question by Barbara O'Neal from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "What it took was not shirking away from taking another step into my central question, allowing the writing to carry me deeper."

Writing to Deadline by Liz Garton Scanlon. Peek: "Yes, I capture phrases out of dreams and pound out plots while I walk and generally try to stay in a muse-induced state as frequently as a mother of two with a marriage and a mortgage can. But I still produce most effectively when someone's expecting something from me. "

Writing Young Adult and Children's Science Fiction and Fantasy: Making The Impossible Possible by Marnie Brooks.

Jane Yolen's For Writers: the noted fantasy author talks about writing with joy, serendipity, getting published, and more. A thoughtful essay. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Read A Story Behind The Story with Jane Yolen.