Peg366's Blog

CBI Clubhouse Article.

Posted on: December 1, 2009

I am a CBI Clubhouse member and love what I am learning there. This article is one of the reasons why. Jon has gratiously allowed me to post excepts and videos from his site. Read the excerpt and then check out the link.

Four Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Nov 30th, 2009 | By Laura Backes | Category: The Writing Process

Great writers aren’t born – they’re made. Here are some of their secrets.

4I was recently asked “Can I get published as a children’s book author if I’m not a good writer?” I was caught off guard at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I appreciated the question. The sender is aware of her limitations, but dreams of getting published anyway. She’s not suffering under the delusion that she’s the next J.K. Rowling, and I appreciate that. She’s going to look at her work with a critical eye, and search for ways to make it better. This is assuming that it’s possible to learn to write well. I believe that it is.

Very few writers have the natural ability to create vibrant, relevant, compelling stories right out of the gate. Most have to work at it. And those who see writing as a skill that is never quite mastered, requiring a lifelong devotion to the learning process, will be most successful. Where this gets tricky is that unlike other skills – such as baking a cake – there is no foolproof way to learn how to write. So while I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all method, I can offer up some ideas on how you can find the path that works best for you.

Read, read, read. Why are editors always telling aspiring authors to read piles of children’s books? Because they provide a concrete representation of what works. Be sure you read good books (check reviews or ask a librarian or teacher for recommendations). By simply reading, you’ll grasp the ebb and flow of a story, how a character is introduced and developed, the types of conflicts appropriate for each age group, how to build tension in scenes and chapters, the relation of sub-plots to the main storyline, how dialogue moves the plot along, and much more. You’ll experience firsthand how a skilled author utilizes sensory images to immerse the reader completely in the story. By comparing several authors writing for the same age group, you’ll hear different literary voices.

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I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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July 2009

December 2009
« Nov   Jan »

My Favorites:

I love the children's movies Wizard of Oz and the Neverending Story. Both movies make me feel the lesson that hope is alive and well. After seeing UP this past week, it just might have a chance at being added to this list.

I love the cool colors of blues and purples.Those colors are peaceful for me.

I love The Velveteen Rabbit. Even as an adult, I still feel the urge to cry when he becomes real. I know, silly, but a good book can make me laugh and cry as it takes me on a magical journey.

Authors and Illustrators:

Authors, Author/Illustrator, Illustrators that I know and/or Like.


C= Children

MG= Mid Grade

T= Teen

YA= Young Adult

A= Adult


Bonnie Adamson *

Kathi Appelt *

Tedd Arnold


Natalie Babbit

Molly Bang

Bonnie Becker

Jan and Stan Berenstain

Judy Blume

Tracey M. Cox

Linda Crotta Brennan *

Jan Brett

Janie Bynum *

Eric Carle

Pam Calvert

Nancy Carlson

Beverly Cleary

Kevin Scott Collier

Sharon Creech

Doreen Cronnin

Tomie dePaulo

Kate DiCamillo

Kathleen Duey *

Dotti Enderle

Jan Fields *

Denise Fleming

Mem Fox

Kelley Milner Hall

Amy Heist

Kevin Henkes

Ellen Jackson *

Jeff Kinney

Jackie French Koller

Ursula K. LeGuin

Leo Lionni

Lois Lowry

Mercer Mayer

Robert Munsch

Laura Numeroff

Linda Sue Parks

Dav Pilkey

Patricia Polacco

Peggy Rathmann

Bethany Roberts

David Shannon

Aaron Shepard

Donna J. Shepherd *

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Jerry Spinelli

Diane Stanley

Chris Van Allsburg

Rick Walton *

Lisa Wheeler

Mo Willems

Karma Wilson *

Audrey Woods

Jane Yolen *

Favorite Websites:

Favorite Blogs:

• ShelfTalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog
• Alice’s CWIM Blog
• A Fuse #8 Production
• Cynsations
• Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent
• Editorial Anonymous
• Miss Snark’s First Victim
• Writing for children and teens

Favorite Quotes.

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