Posts Tagged ‘Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’

You want to write a children’s book? But how?

Saturday, October 10th, 2015


  1. Immerse yourself in a variety of children’s books.  Go to the children’s section of your local library and bookstore and       READ.  If you want to write a picture book, read 1000 of them.  This is your research.  This is your education.
  2. At home, with children’s books all around you, study the books as though you were taking a class.  Discover their structure, introductions of conflict, character, rhythm, repetition, the rule of three, and other techniques in children’s literature. Realize stories need to be kid-like, with kid-like dialogue, with kid appeal.
  3. Read these books out loud.  Internalize the rhythm of children’s books.  Internalize the structure.
  4. Brainstorm your book.  Let it flow!  Write a rough draft and see where it takes you.  Remember, it’s just a rough draft.  (Say that to yourself 100 times. Internalize this.) Write several rough drafts.  What age child is your audience?  Play with the format and the voice.
  5.  Read every draft you write out loud.  They all need to have a natural in-born rhythm.  When you master it, you’ll know it.
  6. Join SCBWI.  The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is the reason many of us children’s authors are published.  After you’ve joined, make use of every free document on their website.
  7. Take a class.  Or several.  Go to SCBWI conferences and meetings.  Keep reading and studying.
  8. Find or form a critique group.  Writing partners are also great.  Both writing groups and writing partners help with critiquing, motivation, and support.  At a signing I had for my book, The ABCs of Writing for Children, two women wanted to write for children.  I told them to get together.  They had coffee after my talk and started their own partnership.  One day several years later, I received an e-mail from them telling me they’ve been meeting and writing . . . and publishing ever since!
  9. Don’t forget the children’s magazine world.  Many stories for children may not be picture books, but short stories for children.  There are opportunities for paying markets for short stories and nonfiction in magazines in print and online.
  10. Don’t rely on the opinions of your neighbor’s children, or your friend’s.  They will love it because they love YOU.  Be honest with yourself.  If the story has been done before, publishers won’t want it.  However, maybe you can take your story and give it a new twist or slant.  Look at it a new way.
  11. Persistence pays!  Don’t let the rejections get you down.  There are large, medium and small publishers out there!  Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times before he found a house willing to take a chance on him.
  12. My favorite advice is from prolific children’s author Jane Yolen.  BIC.   Butt in chair.  If you keep at it long enough and you are willing to grow and change, you WILL succeed.  When you read your published book to children in the audience and they smile, get involved, and shout out answers to the action in your book, you’ll know it was worth every minute.

Of Writing Retreats and Workshops

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

 At a writing retreat, our group met in the evening around a crackling fire trading stories and advice about writing and the publishing world.  Since the rustic building at Asilomar wasn’t completely ours, another couple we didn’t know came inside to go to their room.  But they stopped and sat on the stairs, encouraged by our animated and unique conversation. 

The woman listened for a while and then chimed in that she, too, wrote children’s books and used to be a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

Used to be?” asked one of us.  “Why did you stop being involved?

“The workshops were all about writing,” she said.  “I know how to write. I just want to be published!” 

Did she ever get published?  I bet you can guess the answer to that one. 

Writing Prompts:

 1.  Search out a writing workshop (online, at a bookstore, library, adult ed, community college, recreation department, etc.) to help your writing grow. 

2.  Attend author events when you can.  Listening to other authors discuss their work and how they write are inspiring and can show us how we can use their methods in our work.

3.  Find a writing partner and meet in person or online to talk about writing or do a writing prompt together. 

4.  Take yourself out for an artist’s date.  Attend a concert, art show, walk in nature, and see a play or movie.  Expand your universe!


California College of the Arts is offering an MFA in COMICS!

Historical Fiction 1900 . . . Book Recommendations Anyone?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I’m compiling a list of books for teachers that take place at the turn of the century. If you have a book that fits this category and it’s a PAL book (see the SCBWI website for guidelines . . . ), let me know. Or, if you’d just like to suggest a fabulous one you’ve read, that’s fine too.

And for non-writers who are book lovers, just sent me a great historical fiction title for kids, set around the time of 1900. Thanks! Liz