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Sometimes You Just Gotta Say Enough Is Enough

Sometimes You Just Gotta Say Enough Is Enough

I know the temptation. That temptation to just change one more little word. To read through the manuscript one more time —  Just In Case. The temptation to tinker endlessly with a manuscript because it just doesn’t feel perfect. I get it. I do. I’ve had that...

A Picture Book Has How Many Pages?

A Picture Book Has How Many Pages?

If you type “how many pages does a picture book have” in a search engine, nearly every result will tell you that there are 32. So, are Picture Books 32 Pages? Yes, and also no. Wait, hear me out. Ok, technically, yes, picture books are 32 pages. Like almost all print...

New Year, New Writing Goals – Part 4

New Year, New Writing Goals – Part 4

We may have answered all of questions and set great goals, but the thing is we have to follow through. And that’s the hardest part, even harder than figuring out our goal in the first place. So, we’re going to have to Stay Motivated. First we’re going to keep the...

New Year, New Writing Goals – Part 3

New Year, New Writing Goals – Part 3

So far in our goal setting we’ve figured out what we want and how we’ll do it, but there’s one final question. Question 3: When will I do it? The truth is all the plans in the world won’t get you to your goal if you can’t find a time to implement them. You need to...

New Year, New Writing Goals – Part 2

New Year, New Writing Goals – Part 2

Last time we thought about what we wanted to achieve with our goals. This week we’re going to ask ourselves the next question in our goal setting: Question 2: How will I do it? We made goals that are actionable, but how exactly are we going to do them? We’re going to...

New Year, New Writing Goals – Part 1

New Year, New Writing Goals – Part 1

The Earth has spun around the Sun one more time, and you know what that means. Time to restart our goals for the year. The thing is, we often don’t make goals we can actually accomplish. At least, I used to make goals that I couldn’t actually accomplish. So a while...

Madeline’s Tips for Writing a Ton in a Short Time

Madeline’s Tips for Writing a Ton in a Short Time

Sometimes you don’t have tons of time to produce lots of writing. You may have run up against a hard deadline. You may be trying to build your self-published backlist. You may be participating in #NANOWRIMO and trying to write a whole novel in a single month. Whatever...

2023 Impromptu #NANOWRIMO Schedule and Events with Madeline

2023 Impromptu #NANOWRIMO Schedule and Events with Madeline

It's almost upon us … #NANOWRIMO is almost here. For those of you that don't know, every November authors get ambitious and try to write an entire novel (or at least 50k words of one) in one month. And not just any month—November, the month that officially kicks off...

One Page Summary: Questions to Ask

One Page Summary: Questions to Ask

One page summaries can be deceptively simple. After all, you’re just distilling thousands of words into 500. What could go wrong? Ask any author that’s sat down to write a one page summary only to have it be five pages, and they’ll tell you just how difficult it can...

One Page, One Summary

One Page, One Summary

It’s time for everyone’s favorite part of a query! The one page synopsis! Yay!! I can just hear the phones clicking shut and fingers slamming on the ctrl+Q keys to avoid this topic. No one likes the one page synopsis. No one. But why are they the bane of every...

Four Questions, One Query Letter

Four Questions, One Query Letter

Query Letters answer four questions. Seriously. That’s it. That’s all they do. Yes, you’ll see posts (including mine) that will talk about query letters and break them up into paragraphs. But those paragraphs are answering four fundamental questions: 1. Why is this...

Striking Inspiration

Striking Inspiration

As creatives, we often have no shortage of ideas. In fact, one of the challenges can be sticking to an idea and seeing it all the way through to the end. I don’t know how many times I’ve been mid-book only to get what feels like an even better, more interesting idea....

The Stars of Your Story

The Stars of Your Story

When it comes to writing a children’s book (or a YA), the characters are the most important part! No matter how cool your concept is, if your characters aren't compelling, readers won't care enough to go on the journey with them. So, who is the book about? Here are...

Query Letter Basics

Query Letter Basics

It’s been a bit since I’ve talked about query letters for kid’s books, so I thought it was time to review them again. I always think that the best query letters answer two questions: What is this book about? & Why should I care? However, there’s way more to a...

Why did your character do that?

Why did your character do that?

I need you to ask yourself a question: why does my character in my children’s book act the way they do? Because if you don’t know this, then I need you to go figure it out. Put yourself in their shoes and look deep. A part of you is actually in every character, so you...

How Old Is Your Main Character?

How Old Is Your Main Character?

Does it matter how old your main character is? Absolutely. This isn’t adult fiction where your main character can be just any old age. We are writing children’s books, and children’s books have very specific age ranges for specific types of novels. They are: Chapter...

How Purple Is Your Prose?

How Purple Is Your Prose?

Everyone wants to craft the perfect sentence and then the perfect paragraph, page, and book.  And to do that, you want to use evocative, colorful language. At least, you want to use colorful language as long as it doesn’t bleed into purple prose. What is purple...

Write Fan Fiction — for your own stuff

Write Fan Fiction — for your own stuff

You are your biggest fan. Without a doubt, no one will ever admire your children’s books quite the way you do.  Don’t get me wrong, you’ll get those rabid fans that read every word you write and remember details you don’t even remember coming up with.  But...

Enter the Trickle Down Theory of Revision.

Enter the Trickle Down Theory of Revision.

This is absolutely one of the worst moments of revising. This is where you discover you need to make a change (usually a major change) to your story. You know that you need to make this change. Making this change will make your story stronger and take it to new...

Is Your Main Character Ready for the Big Time?

Is Your Main Character Ready for the Big Time?

So, you’ve written a children’s book and now you’re wondering: Is my main character ready to publish? Well, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if your character is ready for publication. First, let’s focus on the...

Brainstorming a Bingeable Series

Brainstorming a Bingeable Series

I was talking with one of my authors today, and we were discussing ways an indie (or self-published) author can be successful. And one of the things I mentioned was to have a Binge Worthy Series. You know the kind. The one where you read book after book. The kind...

The REAL Hero of the Story

The REAL Hero of the Story

Who is the real hero of your children’s book? The one that should triumph because their motivations are so just and pure. The one character that is usually so sure of themselves, nothing and no one can change their minds. I’m of course talking about your villain. Now,...

Communal Writing for the Win!

Communal Writing for the Win!

Back in the BP (Before Pandemic) several of my writing friends and I used to get together once or twice a week to write. We’d meet in a coffee shop or some other public place and set an egg timer for 45 minutes or so. And then we’d write. And write. No talking. Just...

There’s no such thing as a truly low stakes book.

There’s no such thing as a truly low stakes book.

I recently came across the idea of Low Stakes Fiction. These are books where what’s at stake isn’t saving the whole world or even saving the town. These are stories where the stakes are more personal. I feel like Romance novels often fall in this category. Many...

If you want to write, read.

If you want to write, read.

I did not grow up wanting to be a writer. I don’t have any of those cute journals from when I was a kid. My parents didn’t save any sweet little books I made about my stuffed animals—because I never made any. I got a marketing degree in college because in the business...