Writer's Tips

Contributed and written by Carmella Battoglia

Last year, I entered the BookRemarks contest as an active member of the NJ CWG. I was honored that my story, No You Can’t, came in second place. The money I was awarded helped me attend the Annual NJSCBWI Conference in June.

The conference was a wonderful, yet overwhelming experience. It was a weekend packed with opportunities to grow as a children’s writer and meet plenty of authors, agents and editors. Below are some tips to help you make the most of your experience if you choose to attend the conference this June. (more…)

If you want to write fiction that inspires and encourages, join Paula Morrow and Kristi Holl for “Sharing our Hope: Writing for Religious and Inspirational Markets.” This Highlights Foundation workshop will be held at The Barn, outside of Honesdale, PA, May 30 through June 2.

Paula has been involved with children’s literature all her life. She was a long-time editor of children’s books and magazines at Cricket Magazine Group and Cricket Books. She currently has an independent editing service and is an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature.

Kristi is a children’s choice award-winning author, and has written 42 books for children, and much more. She taught writing for children and teens for the Institute of Children’s Literature for twenty-five years.

To secure your spot, or for more information, contact Jo Lloyd at 570-253-1192, e-mail jo.lloyd@highlightsfoundation.org, or request an application online.

To view more 2012 Founders Workshops, which take place near Honesdale, Pennsylvania, please visit www.highlightsfoundation.org.

Self-Promotion:  Your Key to Success


Where can you learn the publicity techniques needed to promote your books, gain practice in public speaking and presentation skills, and participate in a real-life school experience—all in an intimate group setting, with one-to-one attention? Gail Jarrow believes it is with the Highlights Foundation in March 2013.


In 2012, Gail, an award-winning author of books for young readers, attended this workshop. She shares her experience below.


If you’re like me and many of my writer friends, you’re more comfortable in front of a computer screen than in front of an audience. But we all realize that being in the public eye is an important and necessary part of being an author. Peter Jacobi’s Life in the Spotlight workshop has helped me to do a better job of promoting myself and my books.

The Book Garden in Frenchtown is hosting a range of YA author workshops.

For info go to www.bookgarden.biz and click on SPARK Community Writers Workshop Series.


This is an interesting study of children’s literature that you might find useful, compliments of Kathi.

Judy Byron Schachner, #1 New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and first-ever winner of the E.B. White Read Aloud Award, and Lindsay Barrett George, author/illustrator and winner of the prestigious One Book for Every Child Award, will share with you the ins and outs of writing and illustrating your own picture book.

Read More…

Exciting workshop opportunity *and* writing exercise below, re-posted from Highlights Foundation.

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, encourages writers to make time to write daily. But what if the well has run dry? What if the cursor on the screen is only annoyingly marking the time that you are not actually writing? Ms. Lamott describes the pain of staring at a… blank screen,

“. . . I become a dog with a chew toy, worrying it for a while, wrestling it to the ground, flinging it over my shoulder, chasing it, licking it, chewing it, flinging it back over my shoulder. I stop just short of actually barking. But all of this only takes somewhere between one and two minutes, so I haven’t actually wasted that much time. Still, it leaves me winded. I go back to trying to breathe, slowly, calmly, and I finally notice the one-inch picture frame that I put on my desk to remind me of short assignments.”

Your short writing assignment for today comes from award-winning author Juanita Havill and author-editor Susan Pearson.

Choose a narrative picture book—one with a clear beginning, middle, and end—and study the story. Then write the first page of the first chapter of a novelization of the picture book.

Juanita and Susan will run a week-long writing retreat, guiding writers through daily short assignments, lessons in plot and character, and one-on-one manuscript feedback. Finding Your Story is geared toward people who need time to write, as well as time to study the craft of writing for children.

We would love to see how you interpreted today’s assignment. Please post in the space below. Make sure that you include your name and the original picture book that you have studied for this rewrite. Don’t forget to check out Juanita and Susan’s workshop by clicking here.

In the third installment of his series, member Marvin Mayer continues recounting his experiences attending the 2010 Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop.

Member Marvin Mayer This month, I want to “take” you inside some of the sessions I attended and offer a “snippet” I picked up here and a “gem” I garnered there; words of wisdom from some of those uniquely qualified folks I introduced to you last month.

Our conference began on Saturday night with a Welcoming Banquet in the dining room of the Atheneaum Hotel. After being served an excellent dinner, we were officially welcomed to Chautauqua and told just a “smidget” of what we might expect in the week ahead. Then Donna Jo Napoli took the podium to deliver our keynote address. (more…)

Computer CrashMember Kathi Kurz has written in with a link to a helpful blog post detailing steps writers can take to protect their work from data loss (thanks Kathi!).

Robert Brewer, the piece’s author, opens with a scenario that’s probably familiar to all of our readers:

Flashback: I’m working furiously to finish a short fiction piece for my college creative writing course. The words are flowing. The characters are coming to life. The power suddenly cuts off.

The advice Robert goes on to provide is apt. (more…)

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“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
— Lewis Carroll