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Writing for Children

Updated 2 months ago

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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

164 Ratings
Average Ratings
142
13
3
2
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.

iTunes Ratings

164 Ratings
Average Ratings
142
13
3
2
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 Jul 31, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 2 months ago

Rank #1: How to Write a Rhyming PIcture Book That Won't Get Rejected | Writing for Children 195

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HOW NOT TO GET REJECTED

Perhaps the most common question from new picture book authors is, “Why do agents and editors say they hate rhyme when so many rhyming picture books get published each year?” These authors aptly observe that kids love rhyming books, many of them are bestsellers, and Dr. Seuss’s books still sell millions of copies. Here’s the truth. Agents and editors don’t hate rhyme. They hate poorly written rhyme. Inspired by an article from 12 x 12 Writing Challenge Founder Julie Hedlund, let's talk about strategies for developing well-written rhyme.

Check out our amazing new self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Apr 10 2020

13mins

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Rank #2: Interview with Kate DiCamillo | Writing for Children 182

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INTERVIEW WITH KATE DICAMILLO

Kate DiCamillo's writing journey has been a truly remarkable one. She grew up in Florida and moved to Minnesota in her twenties, when homesickness and a bitter winter led her to write Because of Winn-Dixie—her first published novel, which became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. Since then, she has been a National Book Award finalist, won two Newbery Medals and was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She now has almost 30 million books in print worldwide.

In this interview, we dig into Kate's newest book Beverly, Right Here and talk about characterization through dialogue, including:

  • Do you think about showing v. telling while you’re writing, or do you naturally fall into it?
  • What do you find most challenging about writing dialogue?
  • Has your dialogue changed in your protagonists over the years?
  • Is it hard to switch between writing dialogue for kids, teens, and adults?

Check out our amazing new self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Jan 11 2020

32mins

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Rank #3: Poetry for the Very Young | Writing for Children 197

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POETRY FOR THE VERY YOUNG

Poetry for very young children has a lot in common with poetry for older readers. It’s built word by word, as poetry has no room for extraneous words. It sounds good to the ear. It gives the reader a different way to look at the world by drawing attention very closely to something. Still, when writing for the very young, some things must be kept in mind.

Check out our amazing new self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Apr 24 2020

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: 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 #6: Preparing to Write a First Draft | Writing for Children 136

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GETTING ORGANIZED FOR THE LONG HAUL

You might think the first draft is the first step in your story's life and for some it might be. However, there are steps you can take before you put pen to paper that will help you out on the journey ahead. Today we talk about researching (for nonfiction and fiction!), getting to know your characters through prewriting, and managing your time to get your project over the finish line.

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 15 2019

13mins

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Rank #7: 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 #8: Finding Your Character's Childlike Voice | Writing for Children 184

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A CHILDLIKE VOICE

Kids are far more discerning than many writers suspect. They know a "fake kid" when they hear one, so your dialogue must feel like real words spoken by a real kid. At the same time, it cannot include all the affectations (um, so like, um, what?) that might be part of real speech but would drag the story down. So how do you learn how to write real dialogue? Glad you asked. Here is a three-step process that will help you transform your dialogue.

Check out our amazing new self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Jan 24 2020

9mins

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Rank #9: Create Your Author Platform | Writing for Children 157

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CREATE YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM

What IS a platform? It’s your visibility. The wider your reach, the more books you can sell. What you do with your platform is try to reach (in an authentic way) your target audience.

It’s all about connecting—with people on a real level and because of your reach, you are able to sell books. It’s not about being in people’s faces and hollering about buying your book.

So, who needs a platform and where do you begin? Let's talk about it in this episode.

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

Jul 12 2019

11mins

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Rank #10: 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 #11: 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 #12: Pre-Write Your Success | Writing for Children 133

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PRE-WRITE YOUR SUCCESS

Planning a story or book can seem very counterintuitive to some writers who prefer a very organic process of simply sitting down and facing a blank page (or empty screen). There are very successful, professional writers who basically settle in and tell themselves the story as they write it. The story is born in the moments of writing.

You may find that works for you, but if you notice you’re consistently getting stuck while writing your story, or your manuscripts have a very uneven flow, let's consider how prewriting can help.

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

Jan 25 2019

10mins

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Rank #13: Revision | Writing for Children 111

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YOUR FIRST STEP TO FANTASTIC WRITING

"Wait ... what do you mean I'm not done?!"

It's a common refrain among new writers as they realize their first draft is only the beginning. In truth, revision is the step that takes your writing from so-so to sold.

So, revision is a necessary part of the writing process, but how do you go about doing it?

Different techniques work better for different stories and different authors. With the help of IFW contributor Rita Reali, we dig into a few examples.

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

Aug 10 2018

8mins

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Rank #14: 10 Things That Make Editors Cringe | Writing for Children 187

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10 THINGS THAT MAKE EDITORS CRINGE

Nobody wants to make an editor (or anyone) cringe when they read your manuscript. Inspired by a post from Jamie K. Schmidt, we’re covering 10 things that make editors cringe and tips to avoid them. Be sure to head to writingforchildren.com/187 to download the show notes because many of these tips will be easier to see in writing.

Everybody knows to use spellcheck or Grammarly when going over their writing. However, some mistakes aren’t generally caught by these two programs. And if you want to stop an editor’s eyes from rolling to the back of her head, you should check your writing for these errors.

Check out our amazing new self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower

Feb 14 2020

13mins

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Rank #15: An Interview with Emma D. Dryden | Writing for Children 147

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AN INTERVIEW WITH EMMA D. DRYDEN

Emma D. Dryden founded drydenbks LLC (www.drydenbks.com), a premiere children’s editorial & publishing consultancy firm, after 25 years experience as editor and publisher of Margaret K. McElderry Books and Atheneum Books for Young Readers, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. We are thrilled to bring you her expertise on setting and world building in this month's interview.

We talk about:

  • The best way to help your reader feel like they’re in your world without “telling” and creating prolonged descriptions.
  • Great metaphors for emotions (and a way to show not tell).
  • How to avoid cliched characters.
  • What to do when readers tell you they’re not believing your character.
  • The biggest mistakes Emma often sees when people are trying to set the stage.

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

May 03 2019

23mins

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Rank #16: Sophisticated Show & Tell Part 2 | Writing for Children 151

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POINT OF VIEW AS A TOOL

This and last week’s podcast is based on an article written by author and former ICL instructor Chris Eboch which touches on engaging your reader and gives some strong examples. In our episode 150, we talked about using vivid nouns and verbs instead of vague description to engage your reader in your story. In part two, we’re delving into using point of view for the purposes of showing.

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

May 31 2019

9mins

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Rank #17: Where Should Your Money Go? Part 2 | Writing for Children 113

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WHERE SHOULD YOU SPEND YOUR DOLLARS?

Last week we talked about classes, conferences, and critiques and self-publishing. Let’s get going with Part 2 with…agents and submission services and promotion services.

There are a lot of "services" that have grown up around writing. Some, like agents, are vital to working in specific areas of publishing. Some are simply good ways to extract the cash from your wallet. Let's look at agents.

Join the Writers' Block! Go to writingforchildren.com/writersblock

Aug 24 2018

10mins

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Rank #18: 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 #19: Letter From the Editor | Writing for Children 140

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

The importance of character development can not be understated. This episode recounts a letter from Move Books editor Eileen Robinson to our Writers' Block members on how to improve our characters, and thereby improve our connection with our readers.

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

Mar 15 2019

13mins

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Rank #20: Where Should Your Money Go? Part 1 | Writing for Children 112

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WHERE SHOULD YOUR MONEY GO?

Whenever you have a large group of people with a dream and a desperation to fulfill it, you're also going to see people quick to take advantage of that. Helpful writers (many of whom began their careers a while ago) say helpful things like, "The only place you should sign on a check is on the back" and "money flows toward the writer." And those truisms can be useful as long as you use them to make you pause and consider, rather than letting them slam the brakes on your choices. Let's consider, what kinds of things might a writer spend money on? Let's talk about it.

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

Aug 17 2018

10mins

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