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Writing for Children
15 minutes | May 21, 2021
Hannah Holt | Writng for Children 244
AN INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH HOLT In this rebroadcast, we talk with Hannah Holt, a children’s author with an engineering degree. Her books, The Diamond & The Boy (Balzer+Bray) and A Father’s Love (Philomel) weave together her love of language and science. When not reading or writing, you can find Hannah running marathons and hiking mountains. We talk about Biggest misconception writers have about getting an agent and/or a book deal Advice for prepublished writers Hannah’s surveys: what she learned, how she used the input. How she created and researched a picture book about her grandfather Questions about “bare bones” publishing, indie, and traditional publishing.
9 minutes | May 7, 2021
Four Ways to Learn to Love Nonfiction | Writing for Children 243
FOUR WAYS TO LEARN TO LOVE NONFICTION Many writers view nonfiction as less: less creative than fiction, less fun than fiction, less interesting to kids than fiction, and definitely something they want to do less often. Some will accept the possibility of writing a little nonfiction to break into publishing, but do not like the idea of doing it steadily. For many, they want to do the important work of fiction. But nonfiction is important. Especially now. Kids love nonfiction, and it's an important teaching tool in support of school curriculum. And nonfiction can offer children something that can help them long after the book is closed: an appreciation of the value of well-researched, accurate facts. That's why we're bringing this rebroadcast to you today.
11 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
Launching a Story from a Title | Writing for Children 242
LAUNCHING A STORY FROM A TITLE Chances are you fall into one of two camps when it comes to titles: You either love creating them or you dread trying to think up something clever that will catch a reader’s eye. Thanks to Jan Fields, today we’re going to have some fun creating titles. So much fun your new titles just might launch a new story. This is Katie's last episode of the podcast, but not the last episode of the podcast. We're working to bring you new episodes in the coming months with the same high standards of teaching we strive for with our courses.
9 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Top 3 Narrative Nonfiction Missteps | Writing for Children 241
TOP THREE NARRATIVE NONFICTION MISSTEPS Nonfiction is basically broken into two broad types. Expository nonfiction describes, explains, and informs. Narrative nonfiction uses story elements to convey a factual experience. Narrative nonfiction tells a story through carefully researched, factual recounting. Not all nonfiction books are strictly expository or strictly narrative. Some in fact contain both, but for now, Jan Fields has given us a lead on common missteps when writing narrative nonfiction.
19 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
Why Entering Contests Helps YOU | Writing for Children 240
INTERVIEW WITH A CONTEST JUDGE In this rebroadcast, we interview frequent ICL contest judge and longtime instructor Nancy Coffelt. As well as being a multi-published picture book author and illustrator, Nancy is a fine artist and has been showing in galleries across the country since 1984. Her work is included in personal, public and corporate collections around the world. Nancy also writes and illustrates books for children. Her books include Catch That Baby, Fred Stays with Me, and The Big Eclipse.
10 minutes | Apr 2, 2021
8 Tips for Your Writer Website | Writing for Children 239
TIPS FOR YOUR WRITER WEBSITE Every author needs a website—yes, even if you're not published yet. In the Internet age, your website acts as your online business card for readers and even prospective agents and editors. In this rebroadcast, we discuss tips for keeping your website user friendly and keeping them coming back for more.
12 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
5 Questions About Author Platform | Writing for Children 238
5 QUESTIONS ABOUT AUTHOR PLATFORM A while back I sent out a one-question survey. Writers could submit any one question about author platform and marketing. I learned a ton from reading all the questions that were submitted, but there were definitely some common themes. Today, we’re diving into the five most common questions writers have as they start building their platform.
19 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
Interview with Victoria Bond | Writing for Children 237
INTERVIEW WITH VICTORIA BOND Victoria Bond is a writer and professor. Her novel, Zora and Me, co-written with T.R. Simon, won the John Steptoe/Coretta Scott King Award for New Talent and was nominated for an Edgar Award in the category of Juvenile Fiction, as well as being a Junior Library Guild Selection. Victoria holds a MFA in poetry. The occasional essayist on issues both personal and political, she teaches first year writing at John Jay College, The City University of New York. WE TALK ABOUT How Victoria and her co-writer start working together How they created the series together What’s based on reality and what did the authors invent How much reality should one use when writing historical fiction How far can you go when creating new information based on someone’s actual life
10 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
Finding Your Childlike Voice | Writing for Children 236
FINDING YOUR CHILDLIKE VOICE Voice is the number one thing that can make or break your children’s story. So, let’s see how to find a childlike voice that appeals to your audience. Readers love dialogue. It lightens the page, making the whole story feel easier to read. It allows us to hear the characters directly, helping us to know them. And it is often the best place to sprinkle in some tasty humor. Unfortunately, it's also one of the quickest ways to lose the reader. In this rebroadcast, we're discussing three ways to find your character's childlike voice.
15 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
Authentic Kid Voices | Writing for Children 235
AUTHENTIC KID VOICES A while ago on the Institute's Facebook page, someone was asking about dialogue, which made me think again about this important writing tool. Readers love dialogue because it makes a scene and a character come to life. Dialogue puts us into a specific moment within a story and that's a powerful thing for readers. But many writers struggle with dialogue and with making it feel lively, purposeful, and real. So what should you do first in the pursuit of good dialogue? Would you like to have your own instructor teaching you on a one-on-one basis? Click here to let us help you write your book.
24 minutes | Feb 28, 2021
Maggie Tokuda-Hall & Jamie Tan | Writing for Children 234
INTERVIEW WITH MAGGIE TOKUDA-HALL & JAMIE TAN Katie interviews award-winning author Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Candlewick Senior Publicist Jamie Tan about Maggie's latest book THE MERMAID, THE WITCH, AND THE SEA. We talk about: Gender fluidity in characters Shondaland interest Maggie’s lyrical writing How Jamie did the publicity for this particular book How Maggie is brutal to her characters! Not shying away from being mean to your characters
8 minutes | Feb 19, 2021
Active and Passive Voice | Writing for Children 233
ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE Voice can be a tough thing to define and a tougher thing to master, but when I ran across this article about active voice and passive voice from my old friend Mary Rosenblum I knew I had to share it with my listeners. See how you can improve your active voice with these tips and take your work to the next level and beyond. Join the Institute of Children's Literature Community! Get our weekly newsletter with article and resources to improve your writing even more: writingforchildren.com/newsletter
22 minutes | Feb 12, 2021
Interview with Talia Bellamy | Writing for Children 232
INTERVIEW WITH TALIA BELLAMY Talia Benamy is an associate editor at Philomel Books (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers), where she focuses on everything from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels. She has worked on books by Chelsea Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor, Temple Grandin, Jane Yolen, Abigail Harrison, Lisa Graff, Ruta Sepetys, Dev Petty, Sarah Brannen, and Terry Border. She sees books as having the amazing power to shape kids’ worldviews, and looks for manuscripts that have the potential to do just that. In this rebroadcast, we talk about: What exactly does an associate editor do? How does the process of using a reader help you go through the slush pile? How do you determine if a piece of writing is good? What are common mistakes you see in submissions? What makes you reject a manuscript almost immediately?
14 minutes | Jan 23, 2021
Things That Make Editors Cringe | Writing for Children 231
THINGS THAT MAKE EDITORS CRINGE Nobody wants to make an editor (or anyone) cringe when they read your manuscript. Inspired by a post from Jamie K. Schmidt, we’re covering 10 things that make editors cringe with tips to avoid them. Be sure to head to writingforchildren.com/231 to download the show notes because many of these tips will be easier to see in writing. Everybody knows to use spellcheck or Grammarly when going over their writing. However, the following mistakes aren’t generally caught by these two programs. And if you want to stop an editor’s eyes from rolling to the back of her head, you should check your writing for the errors we're talking about today.
18 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
Agent Adria Goetz| Writing for Children 230
INTERVIEW WITH AGENT ADRIA GOETZ Adria Goetz is a Literary Manager with Seattle-based Martin Literary & Media Management. She primarily represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, Lifestyle books, quirky gift books, as well as everything under the Christian umbrella. WE TALK ABOUT: What’s the secret to getting an agent? What is a nightmare client and what is a perfect client? How should a writer “shop” for an agent to impress? How does one pitch a wordless picture book to an agent? Are agents reluctant to work with new writers that are 60+ years old? What is the most common mistake new writers make in a query letter? Want to check our self-led course, Revision Power? Go to writingforchildren.com/revisionpower
11 minutes | Jan 8, 2021
Submissions | Writing for Children 229
SUBMISSIONS It’s the beginning of a new year. A time that we as writers like to set goals for our writing success and dream about what our writing career will look like next year at this time. Maybe one of your goals this year is to submit your work to agents or editors. It can seem like a Herculean task, but like the old joke goes, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. In this episode, based on an article from our own Jan Fields, we’re going to talk about what you should worry about most in your submissions and when it’s okay to press the send button.
18 minutes | Nov 27, 2020
NaNoWriMo Success: You're This Close | Writing for Children 228
YOU'RE THIS CLOSE We're wrapping up our five part series on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) with special guest Jamie K. Schmidt. Even if you're not writing a novel this month, we think you'll learn some tips and techniques to help you finish your novel on your timeline. We're so close to the finish line. Let's make these final days a success! We talk about: How to handle writing and the holidays Saving a chunk of time to devote to catching up Secrets to writing a lot What to do when you have unplanned time Check out our amazing self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower.
18 minutes | Nov 20, 2020
NaNoWriMo Success - Throw in a Dragon? | Writing for Children 227
NANOWRIMO SUCCESS PART 4 - THROW IN A DRAGON? We are continuing our November National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) celebration with tips for writing 50,000 words in one month, which is 1,667 words per day. This is Part 4 in our 5-part series to help our listeners get through NaNoWriMo with support, encouragement, and some great ideas from Jamie K. Schmidt. WHAT WE TALK ABOUT • The sagging middle • How to go forward • Should you throw in a dragon? • Raising the stakes • Putting your characters in danger • Getting off your butt and doing something • Jamie's new book Necessary Evil Check out our amazing new self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower
11 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
NaNoWriMo Success - Get Past the Slump | Writing for Children 226
NANOWRIMO SUCCESS PART 3 - GET PAST THE SLUMP We are continuing our November National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) celebration with tips for writing 50,000 words in one month, which is 1,667 words per day. This is Part 3 in our 5-part series to help our listeners get through NaNoWriMo with support, encouragement, and some great ideas from Jamie K. Schmidt. WHAT WE TALK ABOUT What to do when you’re not having fun Motivation and why you started this in the first place What happens if you quit now Your WHYs Simon Sinek video Bribing yourself Check out our amazing self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower
14 minutes | Nov 6, 2020
NaNoWriMo Success - Digging In | Writing for Children 225
NANOWRIMO SUCCESS PART 2 - DIGGING IN Welcome to Part 2 in our 5-part series to help our listeners get through NaNoWriMo with support, encouragement, and some great tips and ideas from Jamie K. Schmidt. Jamie is a bestselling author and a NaNoWriMo enthusiast. We talk about: How to stay on task Series bibles How to watch out for black hole time suck Letting go of the need to write in order How to not let deleted scenes go to waste Sprints and the Pomodoro Method Check out our amazing self-led course, Revision Power at writingforchildren.com/revisionpower
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