The Write Stuff:

A collection of writing resources for writers of all ages

 

 

 

 

"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

The road to writing is short – it’s the distance between your imagination and your keyboard. But the road to publication is long and meandering – the path will take you past caves with fire-breathing dragons, pollution-spewing factories, through mosquito-infested jungles (with 100% humidity which will make you ask the question, ‘why did I bother blow-drying  my hair?’). You will claw your way up icy crevices (and, believe  me, you will not be wearing the right shoes) and then, once you are almost on the top of that hill, you will …no, I can’t tell you what will happen. You will have to experience it yourself.

But, what I can tell you is this, if  you work very hard – and have a fair amount of luck (or are famous in another discipline such as singing, acting or politically-connected) – your journey will also take you past beautiful vistas and it will take you through a dense jungle (with no humidity) and drop you at a daisy-spotted meadow (and, if you’re lucky, on the edge of this meadow will be a real good bakery with good coffee and cupcakes).  But it’s an adventure in and of itself!

It took me nine years of serious writing (by that I mean, writing draft after draft, discarding ideas and imagining new ones, a gazillion e-mails with my online writing pals, jetting to SCBWI conferences, reading about writing, writing about reading, scouring writing message boards, posting questions, reading, and reading, and reading…) before I got my first book contract. In between I had many rejections that varied between the “Dear Author, thanks but no thanks,” to the more personal, “Dear Ms. Linda Lodding, your book made us laugh but…unfortunately not that much.”

The moral of this tale is write because you love to. Write because you have a story to tell, a feeling to express, a need to document the world around you – or the world in your head. Write because you need to connect with the written word and with readers.

The business of publishing is separate from the world of writing. First perfect your craft, and make your book as perfect as perfect can be. Then learn the business. And understand that this part of the process is out of your control – the only thing you can control is what you write. So write with love, wit, humor, grace and fun!

Here are some helpful resources to get you started or keep you moving forward. Check back often as I update this collection of resources.

 

WEBSITES (also see "Links I Love")

Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) - the must-join society 

KidLit.com - a great site for those wanting to break into children's writing 

Writeoncon - an online writer's conference for aspiring writers; check out the arcgives from Writeoncon 2010 and mark your calendars for 2011

Institute for Children's Literature - Online writing courses, articles and newsletter

Harold Underdown's Purple Crayon - Harold's site is a wealth of articles and links

Write4Kids.com - The Children's Writers Super Site

Aaron Shepard’s Kidwriting Page - the author of "The Business of Writing" shares articles and links

Resources for Writers - a wonderful collection of writing links and resources from Rachelle Burk 

SmartWriters.com - great site stocked full of everything you need to know

Margot Finke's Musings -- articles and "musings" 

Children's Book Biz News - Anastasia Suen's updates on what's happening in the children's book biz

Bethany Roberts: excellent collection of writing links

Publishing Central - a great collection of links and articles

Chris Eboch's Free Online Writing Workshop - great blog on developing your writing  

 

 

ARTICLES

Index of Articles by Topic: Institute of Children's Literature (ICL)

Revision Help (Harold Underdown's links)

How to Properly Format a Manuscript for Submission

Writing Stories in Rhythm and Rhyme (Dori Chaconas)

Top Ten Writing Mistakes Made By New Children's Writers (Suzanne Lieurance)

Writing Dialogue & Narrative (ICL article by Jan Fields)

Writing Dialogue (by Devon Ellington)

Showing vs. Telling (by Gail Martini-Peterson, from ICL)

Point of View articles (ICL website)

Is your story a picture book or magazine story? (Kidlit.com)

Q&A by Liz Shroeder  - Author Liz Shroeder answers those questions new writers ask

Your Odds of Getting Published by Laura Backes

 

 

ONLINE FORUMS FOR CHILDREN'S WRITERS

Verla Kay's Blue Board - valuable articles and active message board

Absolute Write Water Cooler - active message board covering the craft and business of writing

Children's Writers Yahoo Community

Nonfiction For Kids (Yahoo discussion board)

Red River Writers: (Facebook) - a promotional, networking group of writers featuring regular interviews

Children's Book Publishing industry - the place to exchange ideas of the children's book publishing industry

 

CRITIQUE GROUPS

CRITIQUE CAFE: Critique Group site for Children's Writers

VERLA KAY'S BLUEBOARD  - check out the section for registered members (Blueboarders), you can request critiques from other members, free registration

Critique Circle - give and take critique exchanges with other writers online (free)

 

ORGANIZATIONS

ALA - American Library Association

CBC (Children's Book Council) - an association of children's book publishers. Provides a helpful member's list of children's book publishers. 

SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) - a global organization with chapters through the world; offers members conferences, resources, awards.

ABA - American Book Association

 

PUBLISHERS

CWIM: Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's Market -- must be on your bookshelf if you are ready to submit to publishers, online database also available

SCBWI Market Survey Guide -- (available to SCBWI Members only)

Children's Book Council

News and Staff Changes at Children's Book Publishers (Harold Underdown's site) - keep up with sho's going where

Preditors and Editors - warnings of unscrupulous "publishers" 


BEST BOOKS ON WRITING

Bethany Roberts lists many good books on writing

 

 

RESOURCES FOR YOUNG WRITERS 

 

Where Kids Can Get Published - a list from Anastasia Suen

Chapter One Promotions - Kid's Korner (UK site) - offers wonderful writing opportunities for young writers and illustrators

Tips for Young Writers from Ralph Fletcher - author Ralph Fletcher offers great tips and advice for young writers

Ten Tips for Young Writers

The Scriptorium Scribbles -  advice on writing, publishing and finding new markets. Young writer's resource webzine.

Scholastic Story Starters - spin the wheels on this story machine to find out what you should write about!

The Poetry Society

WriterKorner – inspiration for young writers

Reel in the Writing – tips and resources for young writers

Collection of Writing Prompts - a wealth of story prompts to get the creative juices flowing

Judy Blume on the Web

Aaron Shepard’s Young Writing Page

Young Authors & Artists Group: age 8-18 who want to have fun & get published

CWIM: The Children's Writers and Illustrators Market  - check out the section for "Young Writers & Illustrators". The "Awards & Grants" section also lists those which are exclusive to school age writers. 

KidsCanDoIt - on-going essay contests for kids from Sandra Humphrey 

Mrs. P.com  - story book entertainment site; holds writing contest for kids 4-13

Book Making Activities

Creative Kid Central - From author/illustrator Will Strong comes a free resource for teachers who want to get more creativity back into their lesson plans including creative writing prompts, lesson plans, coloring pages and video art lessons.  

PLACES FOR YOUNG WRITERS TO PUBLISH

Stone Soup – The Magazine by young writers and artists. An online magazine by young authors and writers that has references for publishing in print materials.

Kids on the Net -- A place where kids can post book reviews and opinion pieces, participate in interactive stories, and write cyberpoetry.

Frodo’s Notebook – A Journal of Teens, literature and the Arts.

Young Writers Magazine

Headliners - A national news agency, where young people aged 8-18 produce articles on issues that are important to them but of interest to everyone.

Wacky Web Tales (Grade 3 and above)

The Young Writer’s Collection – a collection of work by young writers