November/December 2013 Issue
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Writing for Children & Young Adults
Young Adult and Children’s books are hot! Here you’ll learn about trends in the marketplace, what’s working and what’s not, plus how to write for this very special group of readers without dumbing things down.
“Once upon a time,” I begin my story, “there lived a king whose name was …” Here I stop. Henry? No, too common. John? Too short. George? Nah, I keep misspelling it … Read more
Nothing is more exciting than the promise of a story in your head, but in order to get it on the page you need to figure out exactly what you need to … Read more
Novelists are the distance runners, the long-haul truckers, the transoceanic captains of the literary world. There is no sprinting through a novel, at least not for the novelist; there are simply too … Read more
179 Ways to Save a Novel by Peter Selgin Writer’s Digest Books, 2010 ISBN: 978-1-58297-607-5 $16.99, paperback, 288 pages Buy the Book Read an excerpt In this excerpt from 179 Ways to … Read more
Rescuing Stories From Circumstantial Cliché As the moth is attracted to flame, less-than-vigilant writers are attracted to the bright light of intrinsically dramatic situations, where the drama is preassembled, ready to use—convenient. … Read more
When my father was a little boy, one of the last of the touring vaudeville companies came through his podunk town, and he got to see the show. The centerpiece was a … Read more
The following is an online-exclusive extended version of the interview that appears in the November/December issue of WD. Click here to order the issue—or click here to download a digital version instantly … Read more
Creating characters’ backstories before you start writing is crucial because you’ll want to determine each one’s past experiences and the repercussions these experiences will have on your story before you begin. All … Read more
1. WRITE MINI BIOS FOR YOUR DREAM CAST Make a list of characters you either might want to write about or have begun to write about. Three or four will do. Fill … Read more
The writing world is abuzz with one word these days—and that word is “platform.” But many writers are left wondering: What the heck is a platform? Why do I even need one? … Read more
We’ve all been there: basking in the glow of a finished manuscript, only to read it over and realize something is wrong with the plot. Finding ourselves unable to identify the problem … Read more
In the English countryside they have stone walls to keep in the sheep. Some of these walls have been around for centuries, and they’re amazing architectural achievements. The flat stones are not … Read more
Think velociraptors on distant islands. Murderous gorillas guarding fields of diamonds. Dramatic doctors tending to trauma patients galore. Even if you never read him, you probably recognize the intense imagery he created … Read more
Put away the picture books—these days, agents want middle grade and young-adult work. Publishers are pushing YA lines. Christian publishers are starting YA lines. Bookstores are rearranging, pulling middle grade and YA … Read more
At the Maui Writers Conference, bestselling thriller writer Steve Berry says there are eight key rules that all writers must know and follow: 1. There are no rules. You can do anything … Read more
Some years ago the fine short story writer Raymond Carver offered recollections about learning to write from teacher and novelist John Gardner. “I remember him as being very patient,” Carver wrote in … Read more
The opening of a short story or novel is just that—the very beginning. That’s the simple and straightforward definition. However, what this book is really concerned with is illustrating the differences between … Read more
In December 2006, snowed in during a Colorado vacation, author Lauren Baratz-Logsted gave birth to a surprise set of octuplets with the help of her husband and 7-year-old daughter. But these weren’t … Read more
1. Don’t edit. You’re shooting for something more ambitious than pretty sentences: an entire first draft of a book, in all its imperfect glory. You have to embrace November as an experiment … Read more
How many times have you heard this around the workshop table: “Why don’t you consider a new point of view?” (Actually, the term used more often is “POV” because it sounds a … Read more