What You Need to Know About Query Letters

If you’ve finished a project and you are about to query an agent or editor, here’s a great article linked from Harold Underdown’s blog. If you don’t know about him and you write for children, keep his site handy. It’s a terrific resource.

Before you send, a checklist:

  • Did you research your recipient?
  • Did you spell their name right?
  • Are you sending a manuscript they said they didn’t want?
  • Did you include your social media information? (If you have it.)
  • Did you include your contact information?
  • Is your letter brief and to the point?
  • Does the tone of your letter catch the spirit of your story?
  • Did you include the character and the stakes? (If you don’t know what stakes are, look it up.)
  • Did you include only relevant biographical information?
  • Is your letter less than a page long?

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Inspiration for Writers

I just finished an amazing course in picture book writing from the Picture Book Academy. It was both informative and inspirational.

Every artist and writer needs an inspiration boost sometimes. Here’s a list of resources to keep handy. I’ve used most of them at one time or another and am looking forward to checking out others I haven’t tried.

If your favorite book, podcast, or video isn’t listed, please share it in the comments!

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Funny Picture Books Need Golden Hearts

I love the Children’s Book Academy. I just finished a month-long workshop on writing picture books and learned so much. Some manuscripts I need to revise one more time are humorous and that is important, because everyone loves funny stories (especially me,) but the best humorous tales offer a deeper layer, like the finish on a fine wine.

Click on this link to read what it means to create a picture book with both humor and heart.

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A Magical Blog For Picture Book Writers

I just found this beautiful blog by author/illustrator Kelsey Lecky. She gave a wonderful presentation for SCBWI Carolinas in January. Watch for her wonderful books and if you see her featured at a conference, especially online, attend if you can.

The Stages of Storytelling

I love this site and the newsletter that comes with it. The posts offer practical advice and inspiration for writers of all levels.

The site promotes a couple of kinds of story development software, but you don’t need to buy either to enjoy the current posts and the archive.

Today’s post breaks writing down into four steps.

  1. Inspiration
  2. Development
  3. Exposition
  4. Storytelling

My current projects are on the fifth step–revision, but that involves looking back at the others to evaluate my original intention and to “see again” (re-vise) what the story has become.

Where are you in this process?

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A Panel of Writers Discusses How they Got Their Agents

I don’t know about you, but I’m currently looking for an agent. Here’s a podcast panel with five agented writers talking about how they connected with those all-important partners in the publishing business.

Click here to check it out.

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Before the Hero’s Journey

This fantastic blog post provides insight into a journey of great interest to writers of middle grade and young adult fiction–the path to individuation, and even better, that path as it relates to women and girls.

The post refers to many classic and recent books for writers for further investigation. I’m bookmarking this one, and you might like to as well. Click on the link below to check it out.

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Advice about Naming Characters

Think of your favorite story people. Their names are as familiar as those of your best friends. In real life most of us don’t bother to adjust our names to our personalities, so sometimes they don’t quite fit.

As writers, though, we can take advantage of subconscious biases to help readers love or hate story people.

Here’s an interesting article from the Pikes Peak Writers newsletter about character names. I love this organization and have attended many of their excellent conventions. The one this year is virtual and signup will begin soon.

Click on the link below for the article What’s in a Name?

or visit one of my other recent posts for writers.

I’ve been finding great articles for quite a while. Looking for something special? Try the tag cloud.

I’m a painter and photographer too. Visit my art blog “Thinking in Pictures.”

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Revising for Structure

When I finish the dummy for my current picture book project, I’m going to dig back into my magical realism middle grade novel.

Here’s an amazing post that came in an e-newsletter today. It’s perfect and I know it will help me. If you’re revising your NaNoWriMo magnum opus, it might help you too.


A Great Blog Post About Creativity

The High Existence Blog offers great resources for creators. Click on the link below to read the post. It will help you get going and keep working.