Posts Tagged ‘editors’



August 12, 2014

If you write for kids and teens and want to take your writing to a new level—check out WriteOnCon: a fantastic FREE on-line conference, held every August. Did I say free? Yes, indeedy.

Loads of authors, agents, and editors participate in the conference, and if you register (for free); you can participate in interactive sessions. If time is an issue, download interviews, articles, and read transcripts from panel discussions on your own time. This is why we LOVE the internet!

Writing conferences play an important role for a serious writer. If you’re not able to attend a conference in person, check out what’s online. Besides offering valuable information about the industry, WriteOnCon offers networking opportunities and new ideas.

This year’s  on-line (free) conference is August 26-27.

You don’t have anything to lose by checking it out. Remember– it’s free! Free, free, free, I tell you!



Work a Workshop

June 15, 2012

At this point in my career, I’ve attended a number of different conferences. I’ve been asked to speak at a few and teach at others. However, I like to attend as a student, the best.

Conferences are a great forum to generate ideas, discover new trends, meet other writers, and most importantly, learn something new. Here’s a quick to-do list if you’re attending a summer workshop.

  • Carry extra pens (even if you use a computer or pad to take notes)
  • Bring a water bottle
  • Wear a jacket (AC can be brutal)
  • Ask questions
  • Dress comfortably and yet professionally
  • Meet people and swap emails
  • Jot notes, lots!
  • Don’t pitch to an agent or editor unless you’ve signed up for a pitch session
  • Take a break and walk outside
  • Don’t assume you’ll get ‘work’ done
  • Prepare to be stimulated, recharged, and fully exhausted
  • Declare yourself a writer!

Conference Time

March 18, 2012

If you’re thinking of attending a writer’s conference this summer, now’s the time to register. Although writing workshops occur year-round, the majority take place during the heat of the year.

How does one decide which conferences are worthy of attending? I’ve made a checklist to help narrow your search.

-Find conferences in your area. This will help cut travel costs and support your

local community.

-Look for a workshop specific to your genre. For example, there’s a huge

“Thrillerfest” in New York City. If you write for children, the national SCBWI

conference is held the first week of August in Los Angeles. A Christian

Conference for writers is held in February. There’s something for everyone.

-Research where your favorite agents, editors, and authors are speaking. This is

your chance to meet them.

-Ask other writers for recommendations.

-Remember: a conference is not a vacation. Be prepared to work!

Google away and jump in. If you are serious about improving your writing or getting published, a workshop is essential.


Got Plot?

November 24, 2011

My last blog concentrated on voice. I love voice. Developing snarky or surreal characters fuels my creativity. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of plot. Of course you can’t write a book without plot, so I’ve had to learn.

Best summarized, plot must follow five steps.

Step One:  Set-ups and Firsts

            What’s the problem?

Who? Introduce main characters

When? Time period

Where? Setting

Why do we care to read on?


Step Two:  Trigger Hook

            –A major incident, beyond control, high excitement

(ex. Think of the tornado in Wizard of Oz)

            –Hit it by chapter 2-4

Step Three:  Quest

            –a character must search for something or solve a problem

-protagonist must overcome a series of obstacles (and maybe fail a few)

Step Four:  Climax

-think: battle, injury, betrayal, fall, storm etc.

-protagonist is met by their final and most challenging obstacle

-add a twist and a surprise if you can


Step Five:  Resolution

-How has the character changed, evolved?

-How did the problem get solved?

-Remember to resolve all subplots

In the end, plot is really step number one, but stretched throughout the book. The tricky part is presenting the plot, without giving away the result, in chapter one. Outlines help and as always, so does rewriting. Write away!


Writing with Voice

November 7, 2011

Generally, writers fall into one of two categories: those who begin their work by either developing an intriguing plot or by creating vivid characters. In the end, a book needs both to be written well.

For the sake of this blog, I’ll focus on voice. What is it? Voice is the tone and personality of your character. Is your character sarcastic? Shy? Scared? Boisterous? You get the picture. The tone and personality of your character should shine in their dialogue and in their actions. Both, will create the “voice” you need to build a successful character.

When writing, google character profiles. You’ll find lists of questions to get you thinking about your people. Details make all the difference and can really add to voice. Here are a few ideas to get you started:


  1. Does your character have an accent? A stutter or a particular tick? What do they sound like?
  2. Does he or she have a bruise? Where and how?
  3. What is she or he afraid of? Spiders are a bit cliché, but everyone has at least one fear.
  4. What does this particular person crave? Do they allow themselves to eat it or do they only fantasize about it?
  5. Does your character were matching clothing? What about socks?
  6. How does your character feel about religion other than their own?
  7. If your character could own an exotic pet, what would it be and why?
  8. Pretend your character has a bed filled with stuffed animals. What would they name them? Brutus? Fluffy? Giovanni? Tic?
  9. What time of day does your character drink coffee? Black or loaded? Does your character avoid coffee and drink green tea?
  10. Does your character fit a particular cultural stereotype? And how does your character defy this cultural stereotype? Give them depth.

Finding voice must include tone. It must be complex at times, simple at others. Above all, a character must portray an identity that remains consistent throughout the piece. The more questions you ask, the more details you offer, the richer your character will become.




Writing A Query: part three

October 23, 2011

This is the final blog on query writing. I hope the last post didn’t worry you. ‘Do Not’ lists tend to take on a negative tone. When someone tells me not to do something, I often do it anyway, but hopefully, you took note.

Here’s a brief rundown on what should be in a query.


  1. Be professional, in every way. This includes spelling, salutations, and structure.
  2. Begin your query with a direct connection. If you’ve met the agent before, remind her or him. If not, mention why you are writing to them specifically. Do you like another author they represent? Did you hear them speak at a conference?
  3. Give them the reason you are writing: such as, you want them to consider representing you and your book (give the title of your book here and now).
  4. Add the word-count to your manuscript.
  5. What’s the genre and who will read it? Say so.
  6. The second or third paragraph should be a summary of your entire book, complete with a compelling hook. Hard to do? Yes.
  7. In the next paragraph do a brief marketing piece and compare your book to another book or two.  If another novel with a similar voice or structure was hugely popular, that might help your book find success with the same audience. This paragraph should also prove that you’ve done your homework and know the industry. However, do not (okay, so I snuck one ‘do not’ in here) say that you will become the next JK Rowling.
  8. Give your professional credentials that relate to the book.
  9. Thank the agent for considering your work.
  10. After you sign your name, let them know what you are including (remember, only include what is asked in the submission guidelines!).

Good luck!



Writing A Query: part two

October 15, 2011

If you missed my last submission, back up and read it.


Now, follow my top ten suggestions of what NOT to do when pitching work to an agent. In your query…

Do not use anything but a basic font. Old English scroll might look pretty, but

it won’t get you published.

  1. Do not spell the agent’s name incorrectly
  2. Be professional, and do not begin your letter with “Dear Carrie, What’s up?” Begin, “Dear Ms. Brown-Wolf,”.  Also, don’t call me Mr..
  3. Do not go over one page. As much as you have to say, limit your words in a query.
  4. Do not tell the agent that your kids love the book. Maybe they do, but the agent is looking for a broader audience.
  5. Do not double space. It’s the only place you don’t need to double space.
  6. Do not use a .3 margin or a 3.3 margin. I know you want to get attention, but use your words to do it.
  7. Do not use the wrong date.
  8. Do not use an address or agency name that does not match the agent you’re writing.
  9. Do not forget to end professionally (no begging either).

It’s hard stuff, but you can do it. My next post will present a top ten to-do list and walk you through the madness. But lest I forget, make sure you have someone review your query. Sleep on it. Rewrite it again. And again.