Peg366's Blog

Highlights Email. A Writing Tip.‏

Posted on: January 11, 2010

A Writing Tip from Editor and Publisher Stephen Roxburgh‏
From: Highlights Foundation (
Sent: Mon 1/11/10 1:53 PM

“The three Cs of writing fiction are Creativity, Craft, and Confidence. Of the three, confidence is often the hardest to achieve. A writer needs to have confidence in her reader, respecting her intelligence and acumen, trusting that the reader is paying attention. If you assume anything but this about your reader, you’re doomed from the get-go. A writer also needs to have confidence in herself, trusting in her own ability to communicate successfully. I see the lack of confidence most often in scenes where the writer both “shows” what is going on and then, lacking confidence that the reader will get it, “tells” the reader what she is supposed to take from the scene. This can be as simple as having a character say something funny in dialogue and then adding the exposition, “he said, laughing.” If what the character said isn’t funny, the description won’t make it so. If it was funny, the exposition is unnecessary. Often the consequences of lack of confidence are more dysfunctional, slowing down the pace of the story, undermining the impact of a strong scene, bleeding a scene of its life, muffling a strong dramatic moment with a blanket of unnecessary words. The confidence to write only what is necessary to achieve a desired effect on a reader and not a word more is one of the hallmarks of mature writing.”

If you’d like to learn more from Stephen, he’ll be teaching Editing for Writers for the Highlights Foundation from March 7-10, 2010. Your application for this workshop must be received by January 30, 2010, so act now! Contact Jo Lloyd at 570-253-1192 or e-mail

For more information, visit Please feel free to share this e-mail with others who might find it of interest.

About Stephen Roxburgh
Stephen has been involved with children’s books and publishing for more than thirty-five years, first as an academic, then as senior vice president and publisher, Books for Young Readers, at Farrar, Straus & Giroux; and as the president and publisher of Front Street Books, a small, independent press he founded on April 1, 1994. In 2004 Front Street was acquired by Boyds Mills Press, where Stephen was publisher until September 2008. In January, 2009, Stephen founded namelos llc, a publishing company based on a new business model.

Stephen has worked with such authors and artists as Felicia Bond, Nancy Ekholm Burkert, Brock Cole, Carolyn Coman, Roald Dahl, Donna Diamond, Madeleine L’Engle, Martine Leavitt, Patricia McCormick, An Na, Marilyn Nelson, Adam Rapp, Alvin Schwartz, George Selden, Uri Shulevitz, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Garth Williams, and Margot Zemach.

Stephen lectures and publishes widely on children’s literature and children’s publishing. He is on the faculty of the Highlights Foundation. For many years he was on the faculty of the Radcliffe Publishing Program, the Stanford Publishing Program, and the Columbia Publishing Program.

Highlights Foundation, Inc.
814 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: (570) 251-4500

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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

January 2010
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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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