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Writing for Children

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #180 in Books category

Arts
Education
Books
How To
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Do you want to learn how to write for children? The Institute of Children's Literature has taught hundreds of thousands of aspiring writers, and the director of ICL is the host of Writing for Children. Bestselling children's author Katie Davis focuses on the craft of writing for children: how to write a children’s book, how to write for children’s magazines, how to get paid, and get published. There are listener questions, with answers from the experts at the Institute, plus hard-to-find resources and links included in every week's show notes. If you want to learn about how to get into children's publishing, Listen!

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Do you want to learn how to write for children? The Institute of Children's Literature has taught hundreds of thousands of aspiring writers, and the director of ICL is the host of Writing for Children. Bestselling children's author Katie Davis focuses on the craft of writing for children: how to write a children’s book, how to write for children’s magazines, how to get paid, and get published. There are listener questions, with answers from the experts at the Institute, plus hard-to-find resources and links included in every week's show notes. If you want to learn about how to get into children's publishing, Listen!

iTunes Ratings

157 Ratings
Average Ratings
139
12
2
0
4

Love the Insights

By JMBurr - Sep 05 2018
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I love the upbeat, quick tips and ideas from Katie Davis.

Helpful Tips for Writers

By CC Luike - Mar 10 2018
Read more
You don't want to miss Katie's expert tips for writers.

iTunes Ratings

157 Ratings
Average Ratings
139
12
2
0
4

Love the Insights

By JMBurr - Sep 05 2018
Read more
I love the upbeat, quick tips and ideas from Katie Davis.

Helpful Tips for Writers

By CC Luike - Mar 10 2018
Read more
You don't want to miss Katie's expert tips for writers.
Cover image of Writing for Children

Writing for Children

Latest release on Jan 25, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 3 days ago

Rank #1: Lists for Writers | Writing for Children 124

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LISTS YOU SHOULD KEEP

Have you ever seen one of those journals where the pages have dots instead of lines? It’s called a bullet journal. If your desk has a tendency to become a bunny nest of paper scraps with lists on them, this could be a great idea for you. All of the lists are things you want to be reminded of. Sorting through your nest of lists could be the first step in creating valuable writer lists. Let's talk about the kinds of list that writers can use.

First month is FREE for the Writers' Block! Go to writingforchildren.com/writersblock use code WBPOD18

Nov 09 2018

10mins

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Rank #2: Top 3 Submission Tips | Writing for Children 086

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TOP 3 SUBMISSION TIPS

In this episode, I interview author and 12 x 12 founder Julie Hedlund. Along with Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie co-created the Complete Guide to Picture Book Submissions. With experience on both sides of the submissions desk, they know what makes a query stand out—in any genre.

Julie Hedlund is an award-winning picture book author, 21st century publishing expert and founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Since 2012, 12 x 12 has encouraged thousands of picture book writers to get their stories out of their heads and onto the page. Julie is a frequent speaker at writing retreats and conferences. Her picture book credits include My Love For You is the Sun and A Troop is a Group of Monkeys. She developed The Complete Picture Book Submissions System with Emma Walton Hamilton and is one of the founders of Picture Book Summit, a yearly online conference for picture book writers from around the world.

Julie also developed content for our new Writers' Block membership! Check out how the Writers' Block can help you achieve your writing goals this year. Click here!

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Feb 02 2018

20mins

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Rank #3: Time Blocking | Writing for Children 132

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WHAT IS TIME BLOCKING?

Knocking out two birds with one stone. Most folks think that way about multitasking. You can get more done in a day, right? A post on our IFW Writing for Adults blog by Chaunie Brusie, reminded me of an interview I heard about how it was possible to actually get more done if you worked on one thing at a time, so I wanted to share part of that post with you today. After a fair amount of research and personal experience, I believe focusing on one thing at time is more productive. Let's talk about how time blocking can help keep you focused while getting more accomplished.

Get your Success Journal, free, here: instituteforwriters.com/successjournal

Jan 18 2019

10mins

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Rank #4: Building Your Story | Writing for Children 135

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BUILDING YOUR STORY

Let’s do something a little different today. February is Building Your Story Month at ICL. So, today I’m going to walk you through one of our writing exercises in our Writing for Children and Teens course. Download the show notes at writingforchildren.com/135 to follow along with the photos.

Sign up for our weekly ICL Newsletter and get leads on hot markets, cool resources, articles on the craft of writing and our free ebook HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S BOOK. Join here!

Feb 09 2019

11mins

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Rank #5: Break into Publishing | Writing for Children 176

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BREAK INTO PUBLISHING

Writing is a noble proposition, in and of itself. Published writing is something else entirely. And paid published writing—whoa, Nellie, that’s just glorious! In order to get published, though, you need to put yourself “out there” in the world, and get your writing in front of people who are in charge of accepting items for publication … preferably in places that will pay you for your work. Inspired by an article from Rita Reali, let’s look at different ways to break into publishing today.

Want to come to our amazing Revision Power webinar? Sign up at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Nov 22 2019

11mins

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Rank #6: Talking Character Development with Eileen Robinson | Writing for Children 099

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CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

In this episode, Katie interviews Editor and Publisher Eileen Robinson. Editor/Publisher Eileen Robinson loves the power of stories and helping authors revise.  She feels once the draft is done, the revision process is where an author’s skill, inventiveness, and individuality begins to shine through. She has worked in children’s publishing as an editor for over 20 years, in-house and independently at both Scholastic and Harcourt — in educational publishing, school and library, with has trade, magazines, book fairs and clubs. She now owns  f1rstpages.com, partners with Harold Underdown in Kid’s Book Revisions, and publishes book through Move Books Children’s Publishing.

START WRITING YOUR BOOK. Learn how to write publishable manuscripts with your own one-on-one mentor, an experienced professional author. To see if you qualify, go to writingforchildren.com/iamready

May 12 2018

16mins

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Rank #7: What are the Rules? | Writing for Children 091

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WHAT ARE THE RULES?

If you've tried writing fantasy in any form—picture books, magazine story, chapter book, or novel—you know that a key element of fantasy is that things happen in the story that cannot happen in real life. Thus, you are deciding that your story will violate natural universal laws in some way. Some stories only slip outside the real world a little, and some create a totally extreme world that has little "normal" in it. But all stories abide by rules—you just get to decide what those rules will be.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to a publisher or agent, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Mar 09 2018

12mins

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Rank #8: Creating Charaters Inspired by Real Life | Writing for Children 153

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CREATING CHARACTERS INSPIRED BY REAL LIFE

One way to find great characters is to look in the world around you. This seems relatively simple but may actually be harder than it sounds. Why? Because the key to creating vivid characters is writing them objectively and letting the reader draw their own conclusions.

What does it mean to be objective when writing about your characters? In this episode, we work through an ICL exercise to help you see the world, and the characters in it, more objectively.

Get a FREE peek into Writers' Block here: http://instituteforwriters.com/freewritersblock

Jun 14 2019

10mins

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Rank #9: Talking Story Development with Chris Tebbetts | Writing for Children 090

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STORY DEVELOPMENT

In this episode, I interview author Chris Tebbetts. Chris is the author and co-author of many books for young readers. Titles include the #1 New York Times bestselling MIDDLE SCHOOL series, as well as PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO, with James Patterson and illustrator Laura Park; the New York Times bestselling STRANDED series with Jeff Probst. He has lectured and led writing workshops for kids and adults at schools, libraries, and conferences around the country, including the Antioch Writers’ Workshop; the New England Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; and the Adirondack Center for Writing.

Chris also delved deep into story development in an exclusive article for our new Writers' Block membership! Check out how the Writers' Block can help you achieve your writing goals this year. Click here!

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to an editor, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Mar 02 2018

15mins

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Rank #10: Writing as You 2.0 | Writing for Children 121

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RECONNECTING WITH A WORK IN PROGRESS

One of the problems with writing is that it's fairly difficult to complete a project in one sitting. It can sometimes be a bit easier with a picture book where the rough draft may come in a rush during one sitting and then you return again and again to revise (and sometimes to rewrite). But for longer works, it's almost mandatory that you be able to stop, go about your non-writing life, and then return to the project. This can be difficult, especially if the break between the stop and return is lengthy. We're constantly changing as people and as writers, so returning to an older work in progress can be daunting. There are some things that can help.

First month is FREE for the Writers' Block when you use coupon code WBPOD18 - Go to writingforchildren.com/writersblock

Oct 19 2018

9mins

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Rank #11: Set Up Your Plot | Writing for Children 149

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GIVE YOUR CHARACTERS SOMETHING TO DO

Summed up to its essential core, a plot is the result of applying pressure to a character to the degree that the character must act in reaction to the pressure. The pressure you apply and the reaction to it will be directly tied to the character you’ve created. An impulsive, brave, active child will take very little pressure to be pushed into an adventure, but an “easy” plot like that is rarely very satisfying for the reader. Let's talk about ways to up the pressure and keep your readers engaged.

Get a FREE peek into Writers' Block here: http://instituteforwriters.com/freewritersblock

May 17 2019

10mins

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Rank #12: Novel Writing FAQ | Writing for Children 120

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ANSWERING A FEW BUT FREQUENT QUESTIONS

For many children's writers, the concept of attempting a novel is daunting at best and filled with questions. So for the sake of those looking toward this exciting writing option, let's answer a few unusual but frequently asked questions:

- How long should a chapter be?

- What is high concept?

- What is a mainstream novel?

- Can I combine a bunch of stories into one book and call it a novel?

First month is FREE for the Writers' Block when you use coupon code: WBPOD18 - Go to writingforchildren.com/writersblock

Oct 12 2018

12mins

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Rank #13: How to Build a Good Mystery Part 1 | Writing for Children 096

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TO BUILD A GOOD MYSTERY JUST ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION

This episode is based on a post from Jan Fields, a ICL regular contributor. The experiences I refer to are hers, not mine.

At this point, Jan has sold well over two dozen mystery novels for adults and has written and sold mysteries for children, both as short stories and chapter books. In fact, many of her adventure stories have a strong mystery structure along with the adventure. This is because

  • mysteries are puzzling and kids love puzzles
  • a good puzzle has a clear question and a "right" answer that requires careful thought
  • good puzzles are challenging but not frustrating
  • good puzzles are fun.

But your first mystery story can feel overwhelming to plan and write so today's episode reveals how Jan does it, using a method she’s honed through all these published books and stories.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to an editor, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Apr 21 2018

8mins

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Rank #14: 6 Steps to Submission Success | Writing for Children 175

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6 STEPS TO SUBMISSION SUCCESS

These days a vast majority of publishers and agents accept submissions online, whether through email or a website form. There are a few holdouts, but these days it sounds strange to hear anyone say they don't take digital submissions. This means we all need to learn how to put our best foot forward in online submissions. Adapted from an article by Jan Fields, here are six steps to submission success.

Want to come to our amazing Revision Power webinar? Sign up at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Nov 15 2019

14mins

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Rank #15: Making Your Submissions Plan | Writing for Children 087

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WHAT'S YOUR PLAN?

There is nothing like the thrill of finishing a story or article or book. You're worked hard on it, you know it's the best you can do, and you're probably still a little in love with it. Now all you have to do is send it out. So you scramble for an agent or market. You discover it's harder than you thought to find a place that really fits with what you've written, and that's discouraging. But you pick somewhere. It fits okay. You send it out. And then you either haunt your mail––whether digital or snail mail––a lot. For days, weeks, maybe months.

And then you get a response. It may be a rejection. So what do you do next? (I mean, besides mope?) It may be an acceptance. But are you sure you want to go with that agent? That publisher? How much did you know about them? What do you do next, besides panic? Or maybe you don't get any response.

What do you do, wait forever?

The complexities of submission are why it behooves every one of us to have a submissions plan. To develop yours, listen to the full episode.

What's your question?

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.

NEW Expanded Critique Service We've just expanded the IFW Critique Service! You can now get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. It's time 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/

Feb 09 2018

11mins

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Rank #16: Get Children to Read Your Book | Writing for Children 092

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ENGAGE THE READER BEYOND THE FIRST PARAGRAPH

Snagging the attention of a reader so that he or she will sit down with your short story or book can be challenging. We all know that short story illustrations and book covers play a part in grabbing reader attention. This part is often out of the author's hands. The same is true with things like the back of the book blurb. Grabbing that first interest is often a team effort, which is great. We can use all the help we can get. 

But once the reader begins reading, only one person can keep that reader connected and turning pages: the author. Kids have so many things pulling on their attention these days. So how do we keep a reader going past that first paragraph? Here are six tips for doing just that.

What's your question?

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.

IFW Critique Service Don't waste your chance! Before you send your work to a publisher or agent, get professional feedback to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Get a full critique of your manuscript whether it's a picture book, middle grade chapter book, YA, Memoir, Fantasy, or Adult Fiction. Go to https://www.instituteforwriters.com/critique-service/

Mar 16 2018

15mins

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Rank #17: Interview with Carolyn Crimi | Writing for Children 134

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INTERVIEW WITH CAROLYN CRIMI

Carolyn Crimi is the author of numerous picture books, including Boris and Bella, Where's My Mummy?, and Don't Need Friends. Carolyn Crimi received the Prairie State Award in her home state of Illinois for her body of work and her book, There Might Be Lobsters, won the Golden Kite Award in 2018. She was born and raised on Long Island, New York, and now lives in Illinois with her husband and pug.

We talk about:

- developing a manuscript inspired by a real life experiences.

- why you should put your manuscript away for a while.

- easy tips for seeing your manuscript in a new way.

Get your Success Journal, free, here: instituteforwriters.com/successjournal

Feb 01 2019

27mins

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Rank #18: Taking Stock and Planning Ahead | Writing for Children 129

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IDENTIFYING WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK

When you look back on your year, what was the biggest obstacle to finishing your book? Most folks think it’s lack of skills.

You may be surprised that the most common obstacle that stops aspiring writers is a lack of time. Skills you can improve through courses, workshops, or a lot of practice, practice, practice. But if you have a family, a job, social obligations, if you keep putting that story or article aside, if you constantly find that you’re putting the day job, housework, yard work, volunteering, cooking, or cleaning ahead of your writing, you’re simply not going to get anywhere. You have to generate words…lots of words…in order to succeed in this business.

Let's talk about how to get ahead next year.

Ready to get your FREE Success Journal? - Set your goals. You're more likely to reach your goals if you write them down. - Celebrate your success! Document your successes throughout the year and reward yourself. - Plus, 10 tips for goal setting, checklists, printable quarterly, monthly, and weekly planners. Get your Success Journal, free, here: instituteforwriters.com/successjournal

Dec 28 2018

12mins

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Rank #19: Being Inspired by Everyday Objects | Writing for Children 154

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BEING INSPIRED BY EVERYDAY OBJECTS

It's human nature to become attached to things. We connect specific memories to objects: when we received it, who we received it from, how we've used it. Also, objects are wonderfully concrete and specific, we feel the weight of them in our hands and see the effects of age on the object. As a result, objects can also make wonderful story and poetry starters.

Get a FREE peek into Writers' Block here: http://instituteforwriters.com/freewritersblock

Jun 21 2019

10mins

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Rank #20: Reshaping Your Story Part 1 | Writing for Children 167

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RESHAPING YOUR STORY PART 1

You’ve finished a draft (or several drafts) of a story you’re excited about. You set it aside to cool for several days, then reread it. While you’re still pleased with the story, you have to admit it needs more work—not just polishing, but re-engineering for better pace, suspense, and focus. If you’re like most writers, you may also find it’s run considerably over the word length you were aiming for, an important consideration if you’re planning to submit the story to editors. Today we talk about where to begin reshaping your story.

Get a FREE peek into Writers' Block here: http://instituteforwriters.com/freewritersblock

Sep 20 2019

9mins

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