Books About Writing
Scroll down for some questions about writing and writing tips….
for aspiring and newly published writers
Many people want to write for children but are often unaware of the wide variety of markets to choose from or how to find the right publisher for their idea. Aimed at both established and aspiring writers, this book aims to offer advice on the whole publishing process from initial idea through to final publication and beyond.
All the key areas of children’s publishing are covered: picture books, fiction, poetry, plays, non fiction, educational books, books for reluctant readers. There will also be useful advice for the newly published on publicity, setting up a website, tax and accounting, and handling school/library author visits.
Writing for Children – A & C Black 2008. ISBN: 978-0-7136-8774-3
Purchase (UK) Order from Amazon.co.uk
Some reviews for Writing for Children
‘Linda Strachan has put together an eminently sensible guide for those who want to break into the world of children’s books. It is warmly and accessibly written, using examples from the author’s own considerable experience, together with snippets of advice and comment from many other writers.’
‘I’m going to recommend this book to all wannabe children’s writers “The most important thing is to write well and be true to the story” – you can’t really beat that as a piece of advice. Together with the A & C Black Children’s and Artists’ Yearbook (updated annually) it will be an invaluable resource.’ Amadillo
This edition has an article I wrote about writing for children in a digital age
Here are some general tips and information about writing and getting published from my blog Bookwords
You can also check out my blog posts on ABBA (Awfully Big Blog Adventure)
and also on Picturebook Den
Questions about writing 1#
So this post on writing was sparked off by some of questions. I would welcome the thoughts of other writers, editors and agents out there – because when it comes to specifics about writing a lot of it is a huge grey area with all sorts of different points of view. After all if it was that simple there would be a list of rules and anyone who followed them would be an instant success.
Here are two quite different questions from Kirsty and Tasnim.
I think that what they mean is that it is the story, and the way the author tells it, will dictate the length that works for that particular story. As always the story must be as long or as short as it needs to be but I know how confusing that can be if you are starting out. I suppose it can also depend on whether you are writing for the top or lower end of that age group, and even then books vary so much.
My advice would be write your book and see how long it is and then go to a good bookshop and look at books similar to the one you are writing.
Observe the variations in length and which publishers are publishing that kind of story. If it looks like your story is far too long you may want to have a second look and see if your story is really as well written as you can make it. It needs to interest the reader from start to finish, and make sure you haven’t made it longer than it needs to be. Don’t waffle to make it longer. Kids hate that.
Q2- from Kirsty – Who says she is good at writing stories but wanted to know how to make her writing more interesting.
Kirsty – If you want to make your stories more interesting there are a few things you need to think about. The beginning of your story should make the person reading it desperate to keep reading. You know, the kind of story that makes you beg for a few more minutes before you have to turn off the light and go to sleep.
Start your story with something happening and don’t have a long drawn out beginning. Your characters could be running away from something, or having an argument or a fight. If you begin with your main character being worried about something that’s going to happen, or something that they have done; that can make you want to read on. But don’t tell everything at once. Give little clues so that the person reading it wants to discover what is wrong, or what it is they did.
When I am writing I like to think of it like a film running in my head as I write. If I can imagine it happening, and if I know my characters well enough, I get so wrapped up in the story that I don’t want to stop until it is finished.
Sometimes when I start to write I don’t know how the story will end but that doesn’t matter too much. Although I do like to stop after a bit and think about what the end of the story might be. Even then I often don’t quite know how I am going to get my characters to the end I have planned.
But for me, that is the fun of writing.
- Thanks, Linda, for such an informative, useful and interesting post. Having only written short stories, poems and articles before, I embarked on NaNoWriMo this year and I am now 67,000 words into my 1st novel which I have aimed at the 9-13 year old market. I had no idea what or who I was going to write about until a week before I started and I was worried about how long it should be. Bit your info above has helped. Many thanks Julie xx