How I Tackle Revisions, Steps 1 & 2

It’s been over a month since my last writing post and for very good reason–I’ve been taking the first step toward revising my work-in-progress: letting it sit. I’ve learned to set a first draft aside for at least a month. Often that’s hard to do, but with the holiday season, it was much easier. I…

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The Scholastic Warehouse Sale AKA Heaven on Earth

This must be heaven, I thought as I walked into the Scholastic Warehouse Sale in suburban St. Louis. Tables piled high with picture books, middle grade, young adult, and even adult best-sellers. Shelves lined with books and activities marked with stickers as low as $1. Long aisles with three or four levels of boxes filled…

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YA Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

I came to this series later than most. I didn’t read the first book until September, but I’m actually glad because then I didn’t have to wait very long for the final installment. To be honest, I wish I could do this for all series–particularly those that deal in cliffhangers–but sometimes I get hooked in…

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YA Review: THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater

I read the first book in this series–THE RAVEN BOYS–earlier this year, but when I finished it, I had a hard time putting into words what I liked about it. I think I’ve figured it out, so I’m ready to review the most recent book, THE DREAM THIEVES. While you should read THE RAVEN BOYS…

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MMGM: RULES FOR GHOSTING by A.J. Paquette

I picked up RULES FOR GHOSTING after reading a blog post Ammi-Joan Paquette wrote about having several books release within a few months. I’d read one of her picture books but hadn’t read any of her novels. I’m so glad I did. Here’s the description: Dahlia has been the resident ghost at Silverton Manor for…

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MMGM: MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS by Lisa Yee

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I heard Lisa Yee speak at the Missouri SCBWI Conference. She was hilarious, and I was sure her books would be, too. Well, I started with her first–MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS, which earned the Sid Fleischman Humor Award–and am happy to share it as part of Marvelous…

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Subjectivity and Why You Should Get Multiple Opinions

When I first started writing seriously, I didn’t understand the importance of getting multiple opinions on my work. I wrote a draft, sent it out to one person, incorporated that person’s thoughts, revised, sent to another person, and so on. Can you see the issue here? I was relying too heavily on one person’s opinion….

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It’s Just a First Draft, Part 3

I finished my first draft! It ended up at approximately 68,000 words. I always let a first draft sit for a few weeks before I look at it again, although I already have a number of ideas about what I need to do with it when I start revising. In any case, here are my…

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Missouri SCBWI 2013 Conference Recap

On Saturday, I attended the Missouri Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. I would categorize this as more of an inspirational than a working conference. It consists of a series of keynote addresses with one breakout session. There was the option to attend an additional breakout session on Sunday morning, but as I…

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Patience: A Work in Progress

I am always in a hurry. Whether it’s getting the kids dressed and out the door, doing a freelance project, reading a book, critiquing, drafting, revising, or querying, I want it done now or possibly yesterday. This was a perfect fit for my first career choice. I worked for a public relations agency for seven…

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MMGM: EXILE by Shannon Messenger with a Giveaway!

It seems appropriate to come back from another break from Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with a review of EXILE by MMGM founder Shannon Messenger. And I have even better news: I get to meet Shannon tonight! She’s doing a signing at a bookstore five minutes from my house, and I’m taking along a middle school…

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If You Have to Explain It, Something’s Not Working

The other day, Writer’s Digest tweeted the following: “If it needs explanation, it’s not working. #writetip” It’s such a simple statement, and so true. If your query or sample pages bring up the kind of questions that confuse readers instead of intriguing them, something’s not right. I’d also reverse it and say that if someone…

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