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 on: May 14, 2015, 05:34:49 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Children's Writers eNews
May 14, 2015
"The Write Words to Read"
The Institute of Children's Literature
Editor: Jan Fields --

"I see myself in everything I write. All the good guys are me."
-- Stan Lee
1. News
2. Online in Rx
3. At the Writer's Retreat
4. What's New at Kristi's?
5. Market
6. Cool Site
7. Essay
8. Good News
9. Note to subscribers
1. Nothing newsy today -- so I'll just wish you a happy weekend ahead.
2. In the Rx
How-To Articles
How-to articles are always a good seller and I often do them when I need a little boost from a quick sale. So they're well worth learning to do and do well.
3. Are You On The Writer's Retreat?
May's discussion of the month is "What is Voice? What is Style?" -- all through the month, we'll be talking about voice and style. What makes it important and what makes it yours.
4. What's New at Kristi's?

Friday, May 8: "Writing Through the Storms"
Like everyone else, writers have lives that can be stressful. Are there tricks to writing through the storms? Yes!

Tuesday, May 12: "Writing Through Relationship Struggles"
Many writers lose confidence and lay aside their writing dreams because of marital problems. THIS ISN'T NECESSARY. Here's how.
5. Spigot Science for Kids and Classrooms
Spigot Science Magazine has just posted new themes: Landforms, Inventions and The Brain.
6. KidLit 411 for Writers
"All your favorite sources in one place." This page is just stuffed with links to excellent writing resources -- you'll benefit from reading all of them.
7. More Mysteries

Make the Mystery Matter! With stories for younger children, an actual dead body is rarely involved (though YA easily might include a dead body), but the mystery should be important to the characters. What’s making Mama’s roses wilt might be a mystery important to Mama, but it would be hard to convince a reader that it’s really a compelling mystery (though you could probably do a good magazine mystery for very young readers with it).  What makes a compelling mystery?
* Someone has disappeared.
* Some vital thing is missing.
* The main character has been accused of something awful.
* A scary person is doing a suspicious thing.
* A well-liked person is acting oddly and doing questionable things.
* An animal (or many) is/are in peril.

Once you've decided upon the problem in the mystery, you need to give the sleuth (and the reader) some clues. There are basically two kinds of clues: real ones and red herrings. The real clues actually point to the actual solution. The red herrings take us off in a different direction. To be fair, you  have to give the reader all the clues that you give the sleuth -- so the reader has as much chance of solving the mystery as the sleuth. BUT you don't want the reader to solve the mystery way ahead of the sleuth.

Once way to keep that from happening is a little distraction. Whenever the sleuth comes upon a genunine clue something big happens to draw our attention away. Just as the sleuth walks by the vase of rare blooms (a clue), someone calls him over to look at a suspicious red stain on the carpet (which turns out to be nothing, but is far more attention getting than a bunch of flowers). These distractions can be red herrings (making us suspicious of someone not actually guilty) or they might just draw our attention aside.

Another way to avoid making the real clues too obvious is to have the main character investigate a room/area and notes all the items in the area, but only one itsem is a genuine clue or have the main character do a computer search to learn about a suspect and a clue is hidden in the wealth of details about the person’s past. Or a character makes an off-hand comment that becomes important when combined with other clues later. There are many ways to bury the "real" clues so that a mystery isn't too easy. Clues (both real and red herrings) are often based on something “not quite right” – a character doing something unlikely or finding an object in a place you wouldn’t expect.

The Red Herring clues should be so good that they really make the wrong suspect look guilty or the wrong solution look feasible – this both speeds up plot AND gives a good reason why the sleuth isn't noting the more genuine clues as they appear. But be careful with the writing "slight of hand" because you want the reader to be surprised, but the reader should feel that “of course” that’s the solution.

8. Good News

Christine Collier: My article, “Writers Need Surprises!” will be published in the Success Story column at Writers Weekly, an online writing ezine. It details how the Fun For Kidz magazine group have republished one article three times, and one poem twice, besides other sales, totaling nine now. My essay, “A Daughter’s Perspective,” will be in the July issue of Prairie Times family newspaper.

Lisa Hart: My article "More Than Rocks and Stone" now appears online with Schoolwide Publishing. Working with this market has been an amazing experience and the finished project look incredible!

Melissa Abramovitz: I'm thrilled that my picture book/early chapter book Helping Herbie Hedgehog (Guardian Angel Publishing, February 2015) won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.

What's Your Good News? Send to -- be sure to put "good news" in the subject line since I get a lot of book announcements due to the review work I do. So I don't want your good news to slip through the cracks.

9. For All Subscribers

Many of our eNews issues are being blocked from getting to all of our subscribers. It can be difficult to convince your email provider that you truly want to receive this eNews. Therefore we've created a list of directions to make it easier for you find the exact steps to ensure the eNews always makes it to your inbox.

Please, check out this link for specific directions to ensure you get every issue of the Children's Writers eNews.

To Unsubscribe from the email version of Children's Writers eNews, go to
NOTE: I can add you, remove you, or change your address manually and will be happy to do so.
To have your address changed, email and do the following:
1. TELL ME that it's a change of address for the eNews. I handle a lot of things so if you don't tell me what you want me to do, I may not do it.
2. TELL ME your OLD address as well as the NEW one. I cannot search by your name. I need the old address.
3. DO NOT send me a mass mailing that you sent to everyone in your address book that just tells me your new email. I won't know what you want me to do or if it's really for me at all. And I'll probably just delete it.

 on: May 13, 2015, 06:07:46 PM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by hardt
You mean a computer is not a person?  Grin

Yeah, some of my best friends live inside my computer...

One of these days, I'm going to show up, unannounced, on your porch...just to prove you wrong.

Can I tag along? A road trip sound like fun!

Unknown number of hours in a car with me...and "fun" is your adjective of choice...

Bring Scruffy, so your cowering in the back seat petting an actual animal won't be seen by other travelers as a sign of actual insanity.

 on: May 13, 2015, 02:44:39 PM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by Ellen
You mean a computer is not a person?  Grin

Yeah, some of my best friends live inside my computer...

One of these days, I'm going to show up, unannounced, on your porch...just to prove you wrong.

Can I tag along? A road trip sound like fun!

 on: May 13, 2015, 01:56:27 PM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by hardt
You mean a computer is not a person?  Grin

Yeah, some of my best friends live inside my computer...

One of these days, I'm going to show up, unannounced, on your porch...just to prove you wrong.

 on: May 12, 2015, 04:30:03 PM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by mommakell
I'm a boy's mom - and from what I've seen, one mom's "feisty" or "spirited" is another mom's "snarky" or "troublemaker,"  whether the character is a boy or a girl. 

I agree with previous commenters that a 'one-note' character quickly becomes annoying and is unrealistic - unless the character uses constant fearlessness or feisty-ness to hide a flaw.

Just curious - How are we defining "feisty" with girl MCs?  Is feisty-ness persistence?  Creativity?  Sass?  All of the above?

 on: May 11, 2015, 02:21:01 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
Jim Murphy's books seem to have a lot of personal information (not sure if that's the right term. I mean how individual people were affected). I think it makes a much more interesting story. Is journalistic voice the opposite? Which do magazines prefer?

 on: May 11, 2015, 12:25:53 PM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by ColoradoKate
You mean a computer is not a person?  Grin

Yeah, some of my best friends live inside my computer...

 on: May 11, 2015, 09:03:46 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by jfields
With nonfiction, you sometimes here of "journalistic voice" which just means fewer uses of simile/metaphor and no cute bits (which nonfiction for small children can sometimes produce in writers) -- journalistic voice isn't a bad thing to shoot for in informational nonfiction because it means sentences that are very clear and direct and an overall clear organization of material.

 on: May 11, 2015, 08:31:26 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by Londy Leigh
Does nonfiction have voice? How do you develop it?

This is a great question!
Thanks for the question and answer, Judy and Jan. Smiley

 on: May 11, 2015, 08:11:11 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by jfields
Some nonfiction has a lot of voice -- narrative nonfiction especially. It comes from making strong word choices, looking for interesting and unusual examples, using figurative language when appropriate (especially interesting similes and metaphors). One excellent example is Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy -- I LOVED that book and Jim Murphy has a very distinctive voice as a nonfiction writer. It's wonderful, compelling reading. Another Jim Murphy book that I read and enjoyed (with great voice) is The Giant and How He Humbugged America

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