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Writers Retreat

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 on: January 29, 2015, 08:44:20 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by Catherine Dorsette
Hi Jan
Yours is a wonderful idea! Come to think of it, I believe that almost Writer has a half hour or hour to spare. I am going to take a leaf from your book and watch less television...that's my weakness! I will dedicate the time to writing.
I am currently working on a new project and along with university, home and business commitments I know that I am not giving it the quality time it deserves.

 on: January 29, 2015, 07:22:40 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Children's Writers eNews
January 29, 2015
"The Write Words to Read"
The Institute of Children's Literature
Editor: Jan Fields -- author@janfields.com

"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile."

--Robert Cormier
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
1. For an archive of past eNews issues, check out
2. In the Rx
Super Short Stories with Jan Goldberg
The ability to write a complete story that's also short is of great value to a children's writer -- this chat contains a wealth of tips.
2A. Poetry Writing Contest
Poem or verse story up to 150 words. Deadline: February 14, 2015
3. Are You On The Writer's Retreat?
Our January discussion on "Making Time in a Busy Schedule" is winding down. Check it out for all the ways we get our writing done in the busy-ness of life.
Beginning February 1st, we'll be discussing "Tropes and Cliches" -- what elements of genre are so common they've become cliched. Does that mean they cannot be used? How can we turn a trope on it's ear to make something fresh and new.

4. What's New at Kristi's?

Friday, Jan. 23: "How NOT To Be Taken Seriously"
Convince yourself first if you want others to take your writing seriously. Often it is poor business attitudes and practices that keep others from taking you seriously.

Tuesday, Jan. 27: "100% Is a Cinch!"
Don't waste time and energy every day, trying to force yourself to write. Instead, make a quality 100% decision. That's it! It's a done deal.
5. BYou Magazine
An empowering magazine for girls 7-15.
According to their FAQ, if you have an idea of something you'd like to write for BYou: "Send an email [query] to submit@BYOUmagazine.com and we’ll get in touch with you regarding your story idea." I suspect some of the best "break in" areas would be puzzles (as they seem to use a lot of them) and probably crafts.
6. Writer Beware
Start your new year off right by bookmarking this site. They not only have great blog posts that help educate us on the many ways writers can be abused, you can also email them if you are considering a publisher and find something that makes you worry. These folks can be counted on for good advice and information.
7. How to be a Contest Finalist

Since the Kindergarten contest, I've gotten lots of emails asking me what the stories that made it into the finalists had in common. That's a valid question, especially since we didn't show you all the finalists. Now, there were a bunch of judges and we all created lists of our top favorites and the winners were chosen by averaging those. But most of us liked the same top stories, even if we numbered them a little bit different. If you want to know what elements were common in the winners, I can help there:

1. The piece either wasn't incredibly common or (if it did have common elements) had something to elevate it above being the same story editors have seen thousands of times. Birthday stories, for example, are incredibly common but the child's frustration at the lack of change AND the introduction of Kindergarten in an unusual way helped overcome the common element in our winning story.

2. The story focused on the child or on a childlike protagonist. (One of my favorite stories, for instance, had a hippo as a protagonist and an elephant as an antagonist, but they was doing very child-like things so it was still a very kid friendly story.)

3. The story was short, but active. Kids like things happening. BUT it wasn't random things happening -- the events all worked to advance the story toward the ending in a logical way.

4. The story was careful about language use, but not so restricted that it was flat and choppy. There are plenty of readers with flat, choppy language, but they're done by literacy people hired by the publisher. They aren't submitted by writers like us. For submitted stories, there must be some euphony and charm in the language. Vocabulary restriction alone is not the hallmark of a Kindergarten story.

5. The story was a story -- not a scene, not a conglomeration of things/actions (and especially not actions included just because they rhyme with other actions), not a list of things found in a Kindergarten classroom, not a list of the things you do in a normal Kindergarten day, not all the reasons the author loves his/her dog.

6. Humor would boost a story higher for me because it makes a story so much easier to sell -- but Kindergarten humor is a very delicate thing. Mostly it's not based on wordplay (as that's too old for readers at that age), for instance. I saw a lot of humor that would be funny to an adult but not to a kindergartener.

7. The story made sense -- all the way through. Any story that had any spot where I couldn't figure out why it was in there -- that story didn't advance in my list and didn't advance on anyone else's list either.

8. Good News

Vijaya Bodach: Cartwheel/Scholastic is hatching Vijaya Bodach's Ten Easter Eggs on Jan 27, 2015 (illustrated by Laura Logan). Kirkus says, "This book begs to be touched." Full review here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/vijaya-bodach/ten-easter-eggs/

Sherry Auger:I just wanted to share my good news. My first novel Willow Brook was released Oct. 30 2013 it. Is a young adult paranormal. And my new novel Planet Nexus Revolution the first in a trilogy is being released Feb 17 2015 is a young adult apocalyptic sci fi. Willow Brook is available through me (signed copy) and amazon and barnes and noble. contact me re book signings and speaking engagements or any questions you may have. Happy writing everyone.

What's Your Good News? Send to author@janfields.com -- 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 http://institutechildrenslit.com/email_whitelist_instructions.htm 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 author@janfields.com 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: January 28, 2015, 09:00:02 PM 
Started by jfields - Last post by sarakay
Thank you, Barb!

 on: January 28, 2015, 08:25:33 PM 
Started by jfields - Last post by ColoradoKate
Yes, thank you!

 on: January 28, 2015, 08:14:32 PM 
Started by jfields - Last post by Barb Kramer
You're welcome, Jan! This was fun. Great questions and I enjoyed chatting with everyone.

 on: January 28, 2015, 08:00:14 PM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Barb -- thank you so much for the time you've shared with us these past two days. It's been super!


 on: January 28, 2015, 06:17:00 PM 
Started by Barb Kramer - Last post by Barb Kramer
I don't set time limits, but I suppose that if I were a better business woman, I would. There have been some projects that I decided not to pursue though because of problems with finding the information I need, or want. But I keep files for those projects hoping I might have a breakthrough later.

 on: January 28, 2015, 06:11:07 PM 
Started by sarakay - Last post by Barb Kramer
A lot of people aren't aware of that, Katie. I hope your library subscribes to a database you can use, and be sure to ask it you can log on to it from home with your library card number. For me, that's a great luxury.

 on: January 28, 2015, 05:11:43 PM 
Started by sarakay - Last post by KatieC
I had no idea libraries had databases like this. I feel so silly! Haha. I will definitely be using that in the future. Thanks so much for stopping by, Barb! This is all so helpful.

 on: January 28, 2015, 05:06:17 PM 
Started by sarakay - Last post by KatieC
Oh wow, what a great example. I will definitely be keeping this in mind when researching Smiley.

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