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Writing for Children: How to Write a Children's Book, Writing for Magazines, Getting Paid for Writing, Getting Published

Do you want to learn how to write a children's book? Make money writing for children's magazines? Every Friday the Writing for Children podcast publishes from The Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1969, ICL has taught over 470,205 aspiring writers. Listen to the director of both The Institute for Writers and The Institute of Children's Literature and bestselling children's author Katie Davis host the show as she focuses on the craft of writing for children. She talks about how to write a children’s book, how to write for children’s magazines, how to get paid for your writing, and how to get published in the world of kidlit. There are listener questions, with answers from the experts at the Institute, plus hard-to-find resources, tips, and links included in every week's show notes.
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Now displaying: January, 2017
Jan 27, 2017

8 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR SUBMISSION
1. Does the title grab an editor’s attention? Does it offer a peek at the tone, subject, theme or unique vision of your story?


2. Is the story appropriate for your target market? Don’t send magazine articles to book publishers. Don’t send fiction to a market that buys only nonfiction. The key to knowing what’s appropriate is research. One way to research is listen to Episode 012-Is-This-a-
Picture-Book?


3. Does the first sentence make you want to read the story? Does something happen in the first paragraph? If you can say “it gets better” about anything to do with your first page, then you need to revise. You only get one chance to grab the reader, so do it right away.

 

For 5 more questions to ask yourself about your submission, listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/036

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Jan 20, 2017

STORY AND SETTING
One of the most common marks of a beginning writer is the “talking heads” story. What does that mean? Well, you have dialogue (usually between two characters) but no sense of place. The reader can’t picture the characters fully because he doesn’t know where they’re having this conversation––at the kitchen table? Walking together down a dusty road in the South? Squirming to find a comfortable position in airline seats? Without setting, dialogue doesn’t seem totally real.


Setting should be carefully chosen for your fiction. A story told on the beach in California will not be interchangeable with the same basic plot set on the streets of London. Setting is more than background noise. For some stories, setting is almost a character by itself since it can affect every area of the story. Your protagonist’s surroundings will influence his attitudes and responses to conflict. Setting includes geography [in what part of the world is the story located?] season [a summer story is very different from the winter story in children’s magazines] and housing [apartment? Mansion? Boarding school?].

BUILDING GOOD SETTING
Some writers draw elaborate floor plans and maps to help them write consistently about their setting. The more vividly you visualize your setting, the better you can weave it throughout your story and the more it can support your plot. If you have only a sketchy understanding of the particulars of the environment your book is set in, you’ll find yourself scotch-taping on your setting details rather than building a believable world.

For more ideas on how to build good setting, listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/035

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Jan 13, 2017

THE LEAP OF FICTION
Writers are often inspired by events from real life. But to use that inspiration we must view real life as a launch point and then join it to plot. We look at the life event and then we leap far from it, carrying along only those scraps we need for the actual story. Stories aren't  recitations of what actually happened––that’s what articles are for––stories are for revealing truth.

Showing us reality beyond reality. Stories have a heart filled with personal growth and discovery. Life can be lively, but to make it a story you need to take a leap.

When Katherine Paterson wrote Bridge to Terabithia, for which she won the Newbery medal, she was inspired by a real life event. She said, ”I wrote Bridge because our son David's best friend, an eight-year-old named Lisa Hill, was struck and killed by lightning. I wrote the book to try to make sense out of a tragedy that seemed senseless."

Paterson didn't write the story of David and Lisa, tragic though the real life story was––she wrote a completely different story about Jesse and Leslie, a story born from the feelings she had about the real life event. The actual event sparked the story but the story didn't happen until the author made the leap from real life to a totally new thing––story.

 

For more ideas on how real life can inspire your stories, listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/034

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Jan 6, 2017

SCAM PROOFING
If you think of yourself as tech savvy, you probably have virus protection, spam filters of some sort, and pop up blockers. You can chant, “Don’t open unfamiliar attachments” in your sleep. But there are worse things online than viruses and spam.

The Internet is like one of those ancient treasure troves you read about in stories. You can find wonderful things there. Or you can hit the booby traps and you’re trapped in the cave of doom forever. Not good.

A frightening numbers of writers have been scammed. By whom? By the unsavory people who’ve realized that writers can be a great source of funds. Some people have been scammed for thousands of dollars. Some cost you your pride and hope, which is sometimes worse than mere dollars. Writers have been seriously demoralized and made to feel like a fool. Some zealously guard the cheats because they can’t even face that fact that they were made fools of, believing they got exactly what they expected. At whatever level they’ve been cheated, it’s heart-breaking to see it happen to any writer, but especially to children’s writers. So let’s look at some things you really need to know to stay safe as a writer today.

For ways to scam proof your writing efforts listen to the full episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/033

 

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Let us answer your writing questions on the podcast. Go to this link and leave your question: http://www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

 

Does your manuscript need a fresh pair of eyes? Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

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