On Writing MARTIN & ANNE

When you start writing children’s books, among the most important things you can learn are elements of craft that can power your story. I’ve learned so much through my membership to Rate Your Story, with judges giving me a sense of what worked and what didn’t. I have learned from my membership in SCBWI and 12X12. I’ve learned from classes I took from Susanna Hill and Mira Reisberg. I have learned from picture book challenges offered by Tara Lazar and Paula Yoo. I have revised and revised and revised with the encouragement of wonderful critique partners. Those lessons took me a long way. But here’s the thing. As your confidence grows, so should the chances you take. After five picture book bi

How to Write a Chapter Book in Three Not-Too-Painful Steps

I usually write picture books. I’ve taken classes, joined 12x12, and found a critique group. So when I got an idea that felt too big for a picture book but smaller than a novel, it took me a while to figure out what to do with it. When you’re writing a picture book, you often have a vision for the whole story when you begin. It’s small and focused, so you don’t really need an outline to remind you where you are going. But a chapter book is different. It’s still small and focused compared to something like a middle-grade novel. It doesn’t have subplots, tons of characters, or complicated settings. It’s too big to picture the full arc in your mind yet not big enough to need a full outline. 1)

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