Peg366's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Ways to Make your Writing Better

Me, at a Hats Off to Women's conference.


I am always looking for some great articles to share with my readers and this is one that I felt like sharing. It is by Noelle Sterne and was featured in the September 16, 201o issue of The Writing World @ 
I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter. 

Below is a little about Noelle Sterne and a brief excerpt for the readers to see if the article appeals to them.  

Writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant, Noelle Sterne holds the Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and publishes in writers’ and mainstream magazines. Her articles have appeared in Archetype, Children’s Book Insider, Pure Inspiration, The Write Place At the Write Time, Writer’s Digest special issues, Writers’ Journal, and The Writer. Her short storyabout a boy with healing powers appeared in the Star Stepping Anthology (2008). Noelle is currently working on a collection of essays offering candid counsel and relentless support to writers: First You Find Your Desk: Start Writing and Keep Writing with Less Agony and More Joy. 

As a children’s author, do you know you can use more resources to publicize your book than mainstream authors? I discovered many of these avenues after the publication of my children’s book Tyrannosaurus Wrecks: A Book of Dinosaur Riddles (HarperCollins). This book, in print for eighteen years, was featured on the first
dinosaur show of PBS-TV’s Reading Rainbow, which continues to air
and is now on DVD. 

Great newsletter from Darcy Pattison that arrives in my email box Check it out and subscribe.
8 Ways to Enrich Your Character: FICTION NOTES‏
From: Darcy Pattison ( on behalf of Darcy Pattison (
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Sent: Fri 7/16/10 4:07 PM
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8 Ways to Enrich Your Character

Character Revision: 8 Ways to Jumpstart a Make Over

You have a first draft, but you realize that your character needs work. How do you retrofit a character when you revise?

I don’t think of a personality transplant. Instead, I try to add to and enrich a character. Here are 8 suggestions on how to revise your novel’s character.

Ginny Wiehardt

Ginny’s Fiction Writing Blog

By Ginny Wiehardt, Fiction Writing Guide | My Bio

Reader Question: Chapter Length?

Wednesday July 14, 2010

“New Writer with Cats” left this question in the forum recently: “Is there any rule to follow regarding how long a chapter should be?” and another writer, Lucy, answered: “There’s no set length: it varies from book to book. . . . My approach to chapters was to look at what authors I admire did, and then to think about what breakdowns would work best with my book.” She also said that she thought about chapters in terms of rhythm, noting when some chapters were longer than average

I briefly scanned the article. it looked like something that might help a newbie, so check it out.

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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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.

*8 Good Writing Practices* By Neil Gaiman.

Special thanks to  Judith Hans-Price for sharing the article with Iowa  SCBWI listserv. There are few better than Neil to use as a expert in the writing field.

*8 Good Writing Practices*

  1. Write.
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it,
  finish it.
  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it
  to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that
  this is.
  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for
  them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they
  think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
  6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches
  perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the
  next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
  7. Laugh at your own jokes.
  8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance
  and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule
  for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So
  write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it
  as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that

Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent

Link to Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent

You Tell Me: Who Have Been the Most Influential People in Your Writing Life?

Posted: 16 Jun 2010 10:54 AM PDT

Writing a book is a serious commitment. It’s something that just about everyone thinks about doing at one time or another, but actually sitting down to devote hundreds of hours to one task takes a big dream and lots of elbow grease.

Whether we came to it early in life or late in life, chances are there was someone along the way who crystallized that feeling of, “Hey, I want to do this” or, better yet, “Hey, I can do this.”

Who is the most influential person (or people) who set you on this path? Was it an author, a mentor, a loved one?

My most influential writing personages have been Roald Dahl, who made me want to be a writer when I was a kid (I subsequently moved onto other dreams), and my wife, whose support was there whenever I battled the Am I Crazies.

 My thoughts on who influenced me would be the authors of the Velveteen Rabbit and Little Women. Who influenced you?


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

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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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