Children's Writer's & Artist's Online Toolkit

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

samvit

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for research details that google can't find

There is a innovative message board for writers to ask and answer detailed research questions that are not easily found elsewhere (not even google!)- the best last resort for research, and very interesting to read others' q&a.

http://community.livejournal.com/little_details/

Thanks for all the links; I bookmarked several.
 

PVish

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Suppose you want to have George Washington say,"Hello" to his troops. Would he have done that? Would ever have had "lunch" with his wife?

Would a young person in World War I have been a "teenager" or a "teener"?

If you're writing historical fiction and need to see if a word was in use at the time your story takes place, check Online Etymology Dictionary:
http://www.etymonline.com


"Hello" dates from 1886; "teenager" from 1941 but "teener" from 1894; "lunch" from 1829.
 

Khanada

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I think these are new, but I apologize if I repeat here -- I did read all 3 pages, but there's a lot of good stuff here and I'm bound to have missed something!

Blogs
http://anitanolan.wordpress.com/ - What's great about Nolan is if you have only a minute to read a blog post, you can count on her. She posts almost daily, is always very brief, and is always helpful.
http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ - Janet Reid. Oh, I love her. I no longer fear the query and have learned so much from reading this blog. [If you decide to send a query to her to critique, I suggest just reading her suggestions and skip the comments. Many who post comments there seem to be unnecessarily harsh. Reid does a great job of just sticking to the facts as she sees them.]

Grammar & Writing Help
http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/EpisodeList.aspx - I LOVE Grammar Girl!! I actually love to read her podcast episode transcripts each week - she makes grammar fun.
http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/ - much of the time, reading this blog is like taking a writing class. I can't say that comments to most blogs are worth reading, but this one is a big exception -- comments here are often very helpful, too.


My favorites are Editorial Anonymous (previously mentioned), Grammar Girl, Nathan Bransford (previously mentioned), and Query Shark. I subscribe to RSS feeds for those so that I'm notified when there's a new post. I check Anita Nolan, BookEnds (http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/ ;they're an agency for adult work, which is why I didn't mention it, but I just love to read Jessica Faust's posts), and edittorrent pretty much daily. I have many others bookmarked, too, but these are my favorites.
 

anno

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I think these are new, but I apologize if I repeat

Blogs
http://anitanolan.wordpress.com/ - What's great about Nolan is if you have only a minute to read a blog post, you can count on her. She posts almost daily, is always very brief, and is always helpful.

Thanks for the mention!

I'd like to recommend the following blogs:
http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/ Kathy is the Regional Advisor for the NJ SCBWI and has lots of good info about editors and agents--mostly children's book related.

http://lauriewallmark.blogspot.com/ Laurie surfs the web looking for great websites for writers. She's a children's book author and some, but not all, posts pertain to children's book writing.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi's site http://www.inkygirl.com/
She has a great Twitter Guide for Writers.

Jane Friedman's site There are No Rules. She lists best "tweets of the week" for writers.

And Shack's Comings and Goings He lists best blog entries of the week.

anita
 

Khanada

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Anita, your blog is the first one on my browser's Bookmarks Toolbar. I've clipped quite a few of your posts to keep in my computer notebook - including your Beginnings series that you just wrapped up. I really like your style with it - keeping it short & sweet - and it allows me to check in with you even on busy days. So thank you!!

Thanks for the additions - I'll have to check those out, too!

Amy
 

anno

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Anita, your blog is the first one on my browser's Bookmarks Toolbar. I've clipped quite a few of your posts to keep in my computer notebook - including your Beginnings series that you just wrapped up. I really like your style with it - keeping it short & sweet - and it allows me to check in with you even on busy days. So thank you!!

Thanks for the additions - I'll have to check those out, too!

Amy

Thanks for letting me know, Amy.
 

MsJudy

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Thanks to NewGuy for the suggestion:

It helps to know at what age kids are expected to learn what material. Each state has its own educational standards and frameworks, though you won't find a whole lot of variations these days because No Child Left Behind is all about national standards.

Here's the link to the California standards:

http://www.cde.ca.gov/BE/ST/
 

MsJudy

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Questions come up often about early reader guidelines. Here's some info from a teacher's perspective:

One thing that teachers focus on: In English, the most commonly-used words are often not spelled phonetically (the, for example. and who.) So we teach the first 100 in first grade, the next 100 in second grade. You can find the list here:
http://www.world-english.org/english500.htm

Then phonetic words are taught in this order:
Short vowel words with 3-5 letters (cat, frog, splat)
Digraphs (sh, ch, th, wh)
Long vowels, starting with the silent-e rule (kite, cake) and moving into the other spellings (rain, boat, boy, foot.)
Compound words and contractions are sprinkled in there.
Last of all, not usually taught until second grade, are the rules for multi-syllable words.

The more you stick to the beginning of the list, the easier the book is to read.

There is some leeway for including longer words if the context of the story and the illustrations will make it clear--dinosaur, for example, when there's one in the picture. But never, ever use words like "Usually" that are hard to sound out and impossible to draw a picture of.

And then, there are exceptions. The Fancy Nancy books use some amazing vocabulary words, but they are considered early readers. Not so good for most first graders, but perfect for second grade. She explains the words like this: "Gorgeous is a fancy word that means beautiful." I love using her books to teach new words, but it takes a grown-up helping the kid or they can't figure out how to read "gorgeous." (why is it not gore-jowse?)

The other key thing to think about is sentence structure. Clear syntax is even more important than word choice. I'll save that for another lecture...

The other thing to remember is that every publisher has their own guidelines. Sometimes they match what teachers teach, and their books are very easy to use in the classroom. Sometimes they don't. Whenever possible, find out from the publisher what they're looking for.

Also...early readers are hard to sell if you are a debut author. Fancy Nancy, for example, started as a picture book series that sold well, and a line of early readers was developed to follow the same character. So I suggest marketing your books as PBs and letting the publisher decide which format to use, unless you are already working with a publisher specifically to develop an early reader series.
 

jtrylch13

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I used this site many times while writing my first (and only at this time) novel. I had a character who believes/pretends he's a pirate. Type in what the character would say normally and the filter will change it to what a pirate would say. I still edit to make it the way I want it, but it helps give an idea to work with. They also have goth, superhero and several others.

http://www.endeneu.com/funstuff/miguel/
 

Angela_785

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There is a innovative message board for writers to ask and answer detailed research questions that are not easily found elsewhere (not even google!)- the best last resort for research, and very interesting to read others' q&a.

http://community.livejournal.com/little_details/

Thanks for all the links; I bookmarked several.
Thanks for posting this link--I can see I'll be spending some time here!

Angela
 

Kitty Pryde

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Great post from an agent, on word count ranges for PB, ER, CB, MG, MG fantasy, YA, and YA fantasy: http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wordcount-dracula.html

Great details about word count range, the "sweet spot" or most common range, and the fact that there can be exceptions to the guidelines. (And what she thinks about a series of 6 MG novels, each 250K in length!)
 

Flur

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Here's another link, apologies if it's already been posted.

http://www.jacketflap.com/index.asp


It's not so much for writing tips or suggestions, but a catalog of recently published childrens books. It's very useful to see what's hitting the market, potential trends, etc. :)
 

winstonlim

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Thank you everybody for the wonderful links you've posted. I'm sure I'll find this thread very useful when I start looking for an international publisher in June.
 

MsJudy

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thanks to Miss Snark's First Victim for turning me onto a new book:

Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder.

It's actually a screenwriting book, but storytelling is storytelling and a lot of the info applies to novels. And heaven knows, I need all the help I can get when it comes to writing a good plot...
 

TerpNsign

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I will never be able to go to sleep with the wealth of information that has been listed in this post .... where does one begin? Thanks for all of the insites!
 

RoseJ

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Books on Writing for Kids

I have read 2 books that I feel were a pretty good help in writing my book. They are- You Can Write Children's Books Workbook by Tracey E Dils and Writing Children's Books For Dummies. The workbook has some good writing exercises. I have just started on Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul.

Have you read and good books to recommend?
 

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