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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: May, 2017
May 26, 2017

DO YOU KNOW YOUR CHARACTER?

Consider asking yourself (or your character) these questions. The answers will help you understand your character's motivation and how their mind works. You may not use any of the answers in your actual story, but knowing the answers will help you write a more fully developed character.

1. Interview your character. Imagine yourself as a reporter asking your character questions about how he was feeling at different points in the book and why he did things. As you relax and answer the questions, you often find new dimensions to the character.

2. Consider giving your main character a “catch phrase.” Even if you never actually use the catch phrase in your work, imagining a catch phrase that matches your character will reveal a lot about him/her. After all, a kid whose catch phrase is “full steam ahead” is a totally different person from one whose catch phrase is “Be careful, be safe.”

For all eight tips and questions, listen to the full episode.

 

Do you have questions about how the children's publishing industry works?

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.

 

Before you hit send...
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 before you send it to that perfect agent or publisher. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

May 19, 2017

FUN WITH SOUND
One way to add bounce to your writing is to play with sound. You can choose words that depict sounds like bump, crash, bang, or gong–that’s called onomatopoeia. Which means the word sounds like what it is, or the sound it’s making, like “zip.” Or you can play with sounds within words. That can be more subtle, but still lots of fun.

Alliteration is the repetition of similar word sounds, and can take the form of assonance or consonance. When a vowel sound is repeated, it is assonance; repeated consonants create consonance (which is often identified as simply alliteration).

Listen to the full episode for more fun ways to use sound in your stories. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/052

 

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/

May 12, 2017

GET CRAFTY!

Crafts are one of those things that many writers don’t really consider when coming up with a publishable project. But the magazines that use crafts, need a steady stream. The reason crafts are a staple of many children's magazines is because they help to make content interactive. They don’t just offer a story or article, but let the child move beyond the magazine to create something new. Interactivity is a goal of many magazines, work that engages the reader and also leads to the reader doing something. A craft can fit this bill. Also, crafts and other hands-on creative activities are particularly popular with the “maker movement” that has taken over popular culture.


Craft how-to articles are not difficult to write, either, and you can be paid for them. In fact, writing a craft article has a lot in common with writing a recipe. You usually have a list of ingredients (materials and tools needed) and a list of directions.

Listen to the full episode for three keys to an effective craft for children’s magazines. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/051

 

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/

May 5, 2017

REFUSED TO BE BORED AND BE A BETTER WRITER FOR IT

"If something, some topic gives me that excited feeling in my stomach, I start to research it to see if there is enough to make a good book. If there is, I write it. Anything that amazes me could wind up being the subject of a book.” —Kelly Milner Halls

Not too long ago Jan Fields wrote about this on our blog and in our newsletter. She chose Kelly Milner Halls' quote about her excitement at finding new weird topics to write about, because, as she wrote, “I think it's key to nonfiction writing. It's key to fiction writing. It’s key to writing.”

If you're not excited by the thing you're writing, you’ll never get the reader to be excited about it. And if you truly find the topic thrilling, you can stir up interest in topics kids never thought to wonder about. Editors, agents and published writers often talk about their passion for a project. Passion, excitement, and enthusiasm play a huge part in this business.

For three ways to avoid boring your readers, listen to the full episode. Read more in our show notes: http://writingforchildren.com/050

 

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/

 

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