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Writers Retreat

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 on: October 09, 2014, 06:40:07 PM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by krembisz
Thanks for all the great resources  Shocked

 on: October 09, 2014, 02:44:22 PM 
Started by jfields - Last post by salex
Thank you, Jan. Wow! Look at all those successful authors/writers. So encouraging!

 on: October 09, 2014, 09:01:31 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by jfields
Great! Thanks, Annette, for the two great resources.

 on: October 09, 2014, 08:45:45 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by Annette
I love The Nonfiction Detectives. They're 2 elementary school librarians who review both picture book and middle grade nonfiction. I've found great books through them.

I recently started a blog about reading and writing nonfiction picture books--Never Too Old for Pictures. I review nonfiction picture books and have posts about craft issues related to writing nonfiction picture books. I'd love to have you visit! I'm at

 on: October 09, 2014, 04:56:36 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Children's Writers eNews
October 9, 2014
"The Write Words to Read"
The Institute of Children's Literature
Editor: Jan Fields --

"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
- Thomas Mann
Attribution is a bit iffy, I got the quote from a Facebook meme.
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. ICL has a new writing contest: for Kindergarten Stories
2. In the Rx
"Do I Need an Agent?"
Sharene Martin gives tips on deciding if it's time to hunt for an agent.

3. Are You On The Writer's Retreat?
Come and check out the new October discussion on "Nonfiction." We'll discuss the creation of nonfiction from idea to finished product.

And for all visitors whether registered or not, you'll find plenty of helpful information: get help for student lessons. Learn to build solid plots. Share your ups and downs with fellow writers. It's all there.
4. What's New at Kristi's?

Friday, Oct. 3: "Stuck in the Writing Doldrums?"
Writing doldrums? It means we cycle between hyper busy times and sluggish times (the doldrums). To avoid being lethargic in your writing, avoid this one thing.

Tuesday, Oct. 7: "Drains in Disguise"
I can't work in chaos. When I force myself to, the work is doubly tiring and drains me. To make writing a priority, it can't always be first.

5. Pockets Magazine Themes
Need a good story starter? A theme list can be very useful, and has the added benefit of creating a story with a preset market waiting for it.
5A. Kid's Imagination Train Writing Contest
Theme: "Spring."
Deadline" March 1, 2015
Winner received $100 and publication in the May 2015 issue
6. Story Signposts
Author Elizabeth S. Craig shares things she learned about writing from materials designed to help teachers teach reading -- really interesting.
7. Label or Lasso?
By Jan Fields

What are the most important parts of your stories and articles? There are so many parts to choose from, but the one we probably don’t think of is the “title.” Your title isn’t the most important thing about your story or article, of course it’s not. But it is the first face you offer to the editor and far too often it’s considered an afterthought. In fact, as a writing instructor, I often have to remind writers that they need a title. So clearly titles aren’t seen as particularly important to a lot of writers. What do titles do for you?

Titles engage. A good title is like a mystery. It teases the imagination and lures the reader in. One brilliant writer I know, Kelly Milner Halls, wrote a magazine article many years ago which she titled “Pistol Packing Paleontologist.” Can you imagine a more engaging title? It immediately brought to mind a kind of Indiana Jones figure, with dinosaurs. Adventure. Danger. Dinosaurs. It’s not a title every editor would go for, but it’s a title that pretty much would make any kid sit up and pay attention. It makes promises. It suggests mysteries. It doesn’t just hang at the top of the manuscript, it engages.

Titles offer a handle. Do you remember to include you title in your cover or query letter or do you just refer to your manuscript as “my story” or “my article” – that’s a little like introducing your friend as “my friend” without ever offering her name. A title personifies the article and gives the editor something to hang on to. I have a story coming out in Ladybug in March 2009, but it’s not just “my story” – it’s “Spider’s Riddle.” I called it that in the cover letter too and the editor referred to it by name in every exchange between us. The title gave us some place to get hold of the story and make it not just one of the many stories in the slush pile – but a very specific story, “Spider’s Riddle.” So once you choose your title, use it!

Titles Introduce. Have you ever noticed how many fiction titles include a character’s name? Names have a kind of magic and using your character’s name in the title introduces us to one of the focal points of the story. In “Spider’s Riddle,” the main character is Spider. In one of my all time favorite stories from Spider magazine, “Zindy Lou and the Dark Place,” by Judy Cox, the title introduces us to the gutsy little main character, Zindy Lou. Sometimes the title introduces us not to the main character, but to the main character’s nemesis – in a sensational story that you can read on the Highlights website “The Problem with Georgina” by Debbie Levi, the title points us to the story villain.

Titles Point to the Fun. Many beginning writers slap labels on nonfiction articles instead of titles. For example, a Humpty Dumpty article by Tamara Angier might have been labeled “Your Heart,” but it was titled “I Only Have Beats for You.”  Another article (this time from Girls’ Life by Carrie Belknap) could have been labeled “How to Play Squash” but instead it was titled “Get Squashed!” How do the titles differ from the labels? They bring in fun, liveliness and life.

Do you have trouble with titles? Do you suspect you’re labeling more than titling? The key is a little study time. Pull out your magazine sample file (don’t have one? Tsk tsk – then go on line to magazine websites). Copy down titles and then sum up what the article/story is about in one sentence. Think of why the author might have chosen that particular title. Does it offer mystery? Does it introduce a character? Does it point to the fun? Or does it do something else spiffy? Maybe you’ll come up with a whole new list of great things titles can do. And as you study the best titles from many magazines (really look at a least a dozen, online or in your sample magazine files), the skill of title creating will ooze into your automatically. Before you know it, you’ll be titling with the best of them. Good luck!

8. Good News

Margaret Flint Suter: My poem "An Homage To Robert Frost" will be published in the 2014 edition of Lyrical Iowa.

Connie L. Meyer: The final volume of my art curriculum is finally published and available from the Reformed Free Publishing Association. Behold the Beauty contains art lessons in three volumes for use by parents or Christian schools, covering kindergarten through sixth grade. Connie L. Meyer

Marcia Strykowski: Amy's Choice, a sequel to Call Me Amy, which was selected for Best Children's Books of 2014 by Bankstreet College of Education, is now available. Both tween novels feature 13-year-old Amy who lives in a tiny fishing village on the coast of Maine during 1973. More details on <> 

Matt Cunningham: My middle grade book NILES WORMWART ACCIDENTAL VILLAIN will be released on Nov 25, 2014. Published by Spencer Hill Press. It's available now for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Nobels, Midpoint books and many more. Perfect for the reluctant boy reader.

Patricia Miller: My good news is that I won a Letter of Merit from SCBWI for my nonfiction magazine article "Picture-Perfect Patriotism" which was published in the May 2013 issue of Highlights for Children.  This article was one of my ICL assignments and my instructor, Marcia Hoehne, was instrumental in  the revision and polishing of the article.

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.
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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.
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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: October 08, 2014, 11:36:24 PM 
Started by KatieC - Last post by salex
Very good post, Katie.

I used to do a lot of interviews, and they always gave me the jitters. Doing all the background research, writing down the questions, visualizing the expert in his underwear, it all helped. But sometimes my mind got so involved in the explanations of the answers that I forgot to jot the information down. Having to call back to clarify points taught me to ask if I could record the interview. Everyone said yes. No more callbacks.

 on: October 08, 2014, 07:18:59 PM 
Started by KatieC - Last post by sarakay
Great post, Katie!

 on: October 08, 2014, 02:52:13 PM 
Started by KatieC - Last post by jojocookie
I read the post and left a comment. Thank you for sharing!

Getting over the jitters, well. . . I've got lots to work on.

 on: October 08, 2014, 02:48:24 PM 
Started by KatieC - Last post by KatieC

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