Writing & Publishing Journey

Do nonfiction picture books always have a story arc?

An interesting question was posed during a recent critique group meeting. Do all picture book biographies need a story arc? Put another way, does every NF PB need dramatic highs and lows in physical and/or emotional elements? Opinions vary on the subject. First, let’s clarify that picture book biographies, as opposed to adult biographies, don’t… Read more »

Critique Group Peek Part One-P.J. Hoover and Meredith Davis

I’ve posted previously about how vital critique groups can be. A trustworthy critiquer is at once cheerleader, first-reader, editor, and therapist. But, don’t take my word for it. The next three blog posts feature the critique group expertise of seven prolific writers. If  you’ve ever considered joining a group, you’ll want to read what these… Read more »

Reading: Exercise for the Writing Muscles

Many moons ago, the college professor who recommended me for the Honors English program, despite the fact that I didn’t have enough hours to be eligible at the time, took me under his wing. The last day of class, he walked me to the door and offered the most valuable advice from my limited college… Read more »

Surviving the Moat

  Standing on the threshold of publication is nerve-racking. I am teetering at this moment, waiting for that gentle nudge that is but a wisp away-fully at the mercy of market conditions and business decisions that are out of my control. I know my time is coming. I can feel that breeze of hope slipping… Read more »

Worth Repeating: Critique Guidelines and Tips

I created this document last year to help new critique groups, organized through our local SCBWI chapter. Interest in our critique groups is exploding, so it seems appropriate to post this again. Critique with the sandwich method. Positive comments at the beginning. Positive comments at the end.                                      Meaty feedback in the middle. Beware of overpowering… Read more »

Esther Hershenhorn on Writing, Teaching, and Coaching

Esther Hershenhorn, a former fifth grade teacher, is an award-winning author of many books for young children including picture books, middle grade novels, historical fiction, and nonfiction. When not working on her own projects, Esther teaches Writing for Children classes, conducts writing workshops geared to adults as well as to students, and is available as… Read more »

Great Books on the Writing Craft

Looking for a good book about the craft of writing? You’ll probably find one on my book shelves. Geez, I’ve collected quite a library of how-to books. You’ll note that some of these titles aim to improve writing conventions; some are geared to the researcher; some are geared to fiction; others are geared to the… Read more »

Author’s Notes – The Story Behind the Story

I recently submitted a NF manuscript to a few agents. Twenty-four hours later, a new worry crept into my mind. I hadn’t included an Author’s Note with my submission. I had followed the agents’ guidelines, keeping my query and cover letters to one page. I certainly didn’t want to add word count and pages to… Read more »