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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: April, 2017
Apr 28, 2017

FIVE COMMON CHARACTER MOTIVATIONs OF VALUE TO WRITERS

In any story, a character must do something. A character who just bobs along on the current of everyone else's actions and decisions isn’t worthy of being in your story, and definitely isn’t worthy of leading your story.

Even if this character reminds you of someone you know in real life, the needs of a good story will be in direct conflict with a completely passive character. So your characters must do something. And their reason for acting must have clear and believable motivation.

One of Newton's Laws is that an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Humans can be a bit that way as well. There are lots of times we’ll laze around unless something motivates us and forces us into action.

This is particularly true when the needed action involves overcoming obstacles (which can be challenging, and scary, and painful. All things we tend to resist). The motivation you provide for your character must be sufficiently strong for readers to believe it would keep this person on this path of action.

Listen to the episode for five common character motivations of value to writers for young readers. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/049

 

What's the writing question you have but are afraid to ask?

Tell us and we'll 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 set of eyes?
Submit your manuscript to our critique service and one of our instructors will give you a full critique to make your story the best it can be. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

 

Apr 21, 2017

SOMETIMES, YOU JUST GOTTA RHYME

You constantly hear the advice to write in prose, not rhyme. Why?

You see, there's this interesting phenomena that goes on in our brains. It's like this: most of us simply cannot tell when our rhyming work is terrible.

You see the skills needed to actually write good rhymes also imparts the ability to judge good rhyme. So if we can't write it, we also usually cannot tell that we can't write it. And that's the trap that catches many, many unpublished picture book authors. How exactly does that work? Well, to sell a rhyming picture book, certain things have to happen and all three are essential.

Listen to the episode to hear the three things you need in your rhyming manuscript. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/048

 

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.

 

Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Apr 14, 2017

Interviews with Champions of Children's Literature

Today we celebrate the National Ambassadors for Young People's Literature!

Jon Scieszka is the author of many bestselling children's titles, including The Stinky Cheese Man, which won a Caldecott Honor medal, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and the Time Warp Trio chapter book series. Jon was the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and served from 2008-2009.

Katherine Paterson is the two-time winner of the Newbery Medal (Bridge to Teriabithia and Jacob Have I Loved) and the National Book Award (The Great Gilly Hopkins and The Master Puppeteer). She was also name a a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. Katherine was named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2010-2011.

Walter Dean Myers has received two Newbery Honor Awards and five Coretta Scott King Awards for books including Sunrise over Fallujah, Fallen Angels, Monster, and Harlem. Walter served as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature from 2012-2013.

Kate DiCamillo is an award-winning author including winning the Newbery Medal for The Tale of Despereaux in 2003 and Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures in 2014. DiCamillo, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2014-2015, says about stories, "When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see each other."

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/047

 

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.

 

Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Apr 7, 2017

ASK YOURSELF

1. Does your story have a clear main character? Short fiction can’t support a rambling assortment of characters vying for the main character job. Omniscient viewpoint nearly never works in short fiction – readers need a main character to relate to, care about, and focus on. The more you dilute the job of main character, the more you dilute the impact of your story.


2. Does your story have a clear problem or conflict facing the main character? The story problem needs to be important, challenging, and emotionally significant. The story problem needs to apply pressure to the main character. It should be clear that the main character could not simply walk away from this problem.


3. Is the story problem solved by the main character? Sometimes a main character cannot solve his own problem. It is simply too big for him. However, the resolution of the story must not be taken completely out of his hands. His efforts must be crucial in bringing about the ending of the story. For example, a child could not carry his hurt father out of the wilderness, but the child’s efforts would have to be key to bringing help to his father. Don’t take the job away from your main character.

For more questions to ask yourself about your short story, listen to the entire episode.

Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/046

 

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.

 

Polish up your manuscript before you submit. Get a critique from an ICL instructor.
Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

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