Category Archives: Process


Imagine you have a manuscript that has been in progress for months. Every time you hear the last few paragraph’s read out loud the story falls completely flat. You can feel something is just not working.

Where do you go from here? Dump the whole manuscript and start over? Here are a few great suggestions from my writing group:

1. Write the story from a different character.

2. Write the story from the character at a different age.

3. Write the story from a different point of view (POV). Here is a great link to a blog that talks about POV.

I do know my story with this problem needs to be told. Maybe yours does too. And maybe, just maybe, working through the manuscript in a different way is the solution. I’ll let you know how it goes as soon as I get back to work on that manuscript! Let me know how your manuscript turns out!


More on POV:

More on character development:

Pamela Dowd has a wonderful downloadable character development sheet (actually 8 page) but asks all the right questions about your character. (For children’s book character development you’ll have to pick and choose what to answer)

My Commitment to Easy Reading

Easy reading is damn hard writing.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Mr. Hawthorne says it so…eloquently…

OK. I have to admit I love quotes. They inspire me AND suck up my valuable time while searching for just the right one. Ironic, huh?

When I came across this classic by Nathaniel Hawthorne, I was reminded of the time and energy we need to put into our writing. Right now, my writing commitment is just not enough to make my manuscripts easy reading. I know that I have been to that place, but I am definitely not there right now.

Until I became serious about writing, I never realized how many edits a person can make on a simple picture book manuscript or the number of books or websites one can look through for just the right word in a sentence. As a new writer, amateur or a professional we all need to find that place of commitment to make our work easy reading. Writing is hard work and to make GREAT writing we have to plan, write, and edit, edit, edit.

This is where I double my efforts to find time to sit down and write. Write without interruption and without hesitation.  To write with intention and audacity and with the commitment to make all of my work easy reading.

Looking for Publishers

There are some really great publishers out there that will accept an unagented, newbie like me, but finding them can be exhausting. Here are the simple tools I use to search for a publisher to submit to. You will need the following:

1.     A copy of the current Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market (CWIM).

2.     A notebook, pencil, eraser and highlighter for tracking the standouts.

3.     Patience to look every publishing house up on the web once you find them in the book because since the book was printed they may have changed their submission process or are no longer taking unagented submissions.

4.     Time to visit the bookstore or look online to see if your manuscript fits what they are currently publishing or pursuing.

5.     You can also use Which is a great resource tool to search all of the publishing houses that are listed in the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market book. You can save them to a list and reference them in the future. You do need a subscription to this website but if you purchase the CWIM book you can get a 1-year free subscription to a limited amount of information on the site.

Time is the crucial item to make your search process successful. The CWIM book and website is awesome but you need to do the work. You can write a manuscript and have it printed and ready to go. But, until you are ready to commit to searching for a publishing house, that story is going to be sitting on your desk collecting dust.

Go out there and get your copy, grab your notebook, a cup of coffee and a spot by a sunny afternoon window and search. Good luck!