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Rate Your Story logo by Dana Atnip   © 2012-present

April 3, 2020

When I first signed up to write this blog post six months ago, I was expecting I’d write about something totally different. I thought I’d talk about writing tips and tricks, or the power of critique groups, or even talk about my upcoming book launch party for Rex the…W...

March 2, 2020

I grew up with nursery rhymes, and although many see them as outdated, they are helpful for language acquisition and encourage children’s speech development. The verses are made up of patterns, they have a rhyme scheme, a specific meter, lots of repetition and they emb...

February 4, 2020

When you’re sitting alone with a piece of paper or a computer screen, writing can seem like a solitary business.

But while the act of writing is solitary, the business part of our profession is not. A beautiful book has many parents, the skills of an editor, art designe...

February 4, 2020

We are thrilled to be hosting literary agent Mary Cummings of Betsy Amster Lit on our blog this month. Scroll down for Mary's interview and your chance to win a "skip the slush pile" query pass.

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Hi, Mary! Thank you for joining us. Can you tell us about how you got int...

December 29, 2019

In January, 2015, I started researching and working on the story of Elizabeth Jennings’ rejection from the streetcar in 1854. I’d found my niche in narrative nonfiction and historical fiction picture books, but, a little more than a year into this writing journey, this...

December 3, 2019

For twenty-five years I’ve been an Early Childhood teacher, teaching children from pre-k to third grade in the public schools of Illinois. Having only worked with socio-economically challenged and at-risk students and families, some years were definitely longer than ot...

November 4, 2019

YOUR NEXT GREAT BOOK TOPIC

You’ve probably heard the common writer’s adage, “Write about what you know.” Which is often a good idea. But I’d also add, “and what you’re truly passionate about.”

If you’re interested in a particular topic, your genuine excitement about this...

October 7, 2019

For the past year, my critique group, The Broad Strokes has set aside the first half hour of every meeting to share our favorite new picture books. We fawn over stunning illustrations and beautiful prose, marvel at hilarious new concepts, and dissect each illustrator’s...

October 1, 2019

We'd like to thank everyone who participated in the fourth annual Rate Your Story Awesome Openers Writing Contest. Our judges have spent weeks reading and deliberating over each of the three contest categories. We're excited to finally announce the results. If you'd li...

September 8, 2019

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away (it really does feel like another galaxy), I was given a writing assignment in my eighth grade English class at All Saint’s Middle School in Spokane, Washington. I had no idea what to write about.

I still remember sitting at my s...

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