Peg366's Blog

Informative Newsletter From Darcy Pattison

Posted on: June 22, 2010

Darcy Pattison

Http:// is the url for Darcy’s website so you can subscribe to her newsletter. What better way to learn than to learn from someone who is a talented writer.

Mentor Texts: Novels to Learn From: FICTION NOTES‏
From: Darcy Pattison ( on behalf of Darcy Pattison (
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Sent: Mon 6/21/10 4:07 PM
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Mentor Texts: Novels to Learn From

I’m finally — after two major life events, a grandchild and my daughter’s wedding — ready to start a new novel. I’ve found two mentor texts that I’m hoping will show me something about how to proceed.

Novels to Imitate and Learn From

Educators often use mentor texts when teaching writing to kids. The idea is to choose texts that in some way model the type of writing you want as a result. This means you need a good vision for the end result, or the mentor texts you choose won’t help.

For my new novel, I know that I”ll have quite a few characters and that the POV will probably change often; each section might be quite short; that I might be playing with 3rd person and omniscient POVs. I’ve been looking around and found two that are interesting in this respect.
The first is the 1979 Newbery book, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It features over a dozen characters; it moves in and out of omniscient and 3rd; it has very short sections. Interestingly, Kathi Appelt’s Newbery Honor book, The Underneath, also features multiple characters and she uses short chapters, changing POV often.

Permission and Hope. From these texts, first, I have permission to break the rule of only one main character, one main POV. That’s important. It can be done and done well. Which also gives me hope!

Direction to Start. I’m looking to these two texts as a direction for my first efforts. That does NOT mean I intend to write with a Raskin/Appelt voice. I expect to produce something quite different. Still, this is a place to start.

Reference and Teaching. I hope to learn how to move from POV to POV and keep the pacing fast, interest high, and reader involvement at the maximum. I think it will be helpful to refer to these mentor texts as I write the first draft; but I think it will be even more helpful as I work on revision later.

So, this week, I’m hoping to make a start, write a couple exploratory pieces, outline, work on character sketches. It’s a start.


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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

June 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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