Oct 21, 2016

Handout from Wisconsin SCBWI Conference, October 2016

If you attended my conference workshop, "The Connect-the-Dots Novel Outline" (or even if you didn't), here is the link to the PowerPoint presentation and handout.

Connect-the-Dots handout

Feel free to copy it for your personal use.

Happy writing!

May 20, 2016

Turning Points

A few weeks ago, I talked about turning points at the New England SCBWI spring conference.

The main point was this: As you write (especially a first draft), you may not know everything about how your story will unfold, but you DO know some things.

For example, you may know:

Who your protagonist is

What he/she wants

Who the main antagonist is

What obstacles will get thrown in the way...

Maybe you know the initial premise, and how your story will end. (When I started my first draft of Jump the Cracks, that's all I knew.)

But the thing is, you don't have to know your whole story to start writing. You only have to know ONE thing about your story, and you can write your way to that point. Or write THAT scene: the one you KNOW will have to happen at some point in your story.

Then, fill in the blanks as you go. Because once you write SOMETHING, other things will become apparent to you, and then you can write THOSE things.

It's a lot like walking through the woods. There may be several possible paths, but once you decide you are hiking the blue trail and not the orange trail, that's a start. You walk along, watching for the next blue blaze. And when you get there, you know you have to look for the NEXT blue blaze.

Writing is so similar. Write a scene--ANY scene--that you KNOW has to happen in your book. Then think about another thing that will HAVE to happen as a result...and write that. Repeat.

Look for the blazes. You can write a whole book that way, or at least a good underlying structure.

Happy trails!

Jun 3, 2015

Mapping a Reader's Life

Here's a link to my post at the Nerdy Book Club on how I became a reader (and why I became a writer).

Apr 20, 2015

Workshop Outline: "Demystifying the Editorial Process" at the Mark Twain House, April 18, 2015

Here's the whole thing, if you didn't get a handout.

It's a Google doc. If you can't open it, email me or leave a comment, and I'll send you the Word document directly.

Thanks for attending!

Workshop Outline: Demystifying the Editing Process

Feb 14, 2015

We love teachers! 16 Free Books for Valentine's Day!

Are you a teacher, librarian, or reading specialist? Do you want 16 signed midgrade books for your school or classroom?

Most of them are brand new or soon-to-be-published. A few are familiar favorites. (There's even a big award-winner hiding in the mix!)

For your chance to win signed copies of ALL these books, just do one of two things:

1. Leave a comment below


3. Tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #MGAuthorsLoveTeachers

Your name will be entered into the virtual hat, and we’ll draw the winner at 11:59 PM on Wednesday, February 18th. If you win, you’ll receive signed copies of ALL these books–not all at once, because some of them don’t publish until March or April, but won’t it be fun to get multiple packages in your mailbox?
Good luck!

(And if you want a similar boatload of YA books, hop on over to Sarah Darer Littman's blog for another chance to win!)

Here are the titles in the giveaway:

Why'd They Wear That?
Sarah Albee

Random Body Parts
Leslie Bulion

Beetle Busters
Loree Griffin Burns

Walk Two Moons
Sharon Creech

One Witch at a Time
Stacy DeKeyser

Fish in a Tree
Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Paper Things
Jennifer Richard Jacobson

How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel
Jess Keating

On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
Barbara O'Connor

Wish Girl
Nikki Lofton

Mark of the Thief
Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Way to Stay in Destiny
Augusta Scattergood

The Gossip File
Anna Staniszewski

Emmanuel's Dream
Laurie Ann Thompson

Blue Birds
Caroline Starr Rose

Brown Girl Dreaming
Jacqueline Woodson

Good luck!

Jan 25, 2015

Blog Tour!

Announcing the official schedule of the One Witch at a Time blog tour! Check out a few (or all) of these fabulous blogs for author interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways!

February 9
Cracking the Cover

February 10
Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

February 11
Mother-Daughter Book Club

February 12

February 13
The Book Monsters

February 16
Word Spelunking

February 17
Read Now, Sleep Later

February 18
Small Review

February 19
KidLit Frenzy

February 20
The Flashlight Reader

Nov 4, 2014

I'm starting a newsletter

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Well, you need to do ONE thing.

You need to sign up here, if you want occasional news and interesting info sent to your inbox.

I promise to make it pertinent, and I also promise not to share your info with anyone else.