What’s Here: Scroll for Big-Picture Insights
Thinking about writing for children and/or teenagers? Here are the easy answers:
- Yes, it’s as hard as writing for adults.
- No, you probably won’t make a lot of money, even if you do sell a book.
- No, selling a first book is no guarantee of a second just like selling a second is no guarantee of selling a third and so on.
The Authorial Voice in Today’s Discourse: The Page, Podium, Platform, Persona (And Nurturing Your Writer’s Heart), delivered by VCFA WCYA inaugural Katherine Paterson chair, Cynthia Leitich Smith. Presentation begins at 7:20.
By © Sue Corbett
Children’s Book Reviewer
Miami Herald/Knight-Ridder Tribune News Wire
Newspapers receive thousands of books a year — that’s in addition to the other thousands of press releases, story ideas, phone calls, news tips, etc., they receive — all vying for limited space in the feature section.
So to get newspaper attention,
Would you try to make a movie without watching some movies? Lots of them? Thousands?
Books have to accomplish much of what a blockbuster movie does. They have to capture the same audience.
Meanwhile, the big-budget movie maker has millions of dollars and a promotional budget, actors, special effects, sound effects, musical scores, etc. We have some carefully arranged lines and curves on paper.
For those of us who’ve fully embraced the writing life, the idea of “writing” and “living” as separate categories doesn’t always make sense. Writing is life, right?
Absolutely, but that synthesis doesn’t always flow as well as we’d hope.
Many of us wear multiple hats. I’m a writer, an author speaker, a writing teacher,
When I was young, I imagined writers curled up on window benches, wearing knotty sweaters, drinking cinnamon-orange tea, and scribbling the pearls of their existence.
I don’t do that.
I don’t even really use phrases like “the pearls of their existence.”
But I do scribble. I have little notebooks tucked here and there all over my cozy condo.
Your invisible playmates? The ones who whisper to you in the forest or as you daydream in your garden or play in the sand or stare up at the stars… Tell them I said “hi.”
Ask them if they wouldn’t mind your sharing some of their stories with young readers.
Treat them nicely. Sometimes they’ll confide in you you;
Contemporary Characters in Children’s Books
So far, my published stories have all been contemporary, set in the now, or at least in the very near past.
One of the big questions writing about contemporary stories is the degree to which the author should integrate current events, slang, and pop culture.
A lot of people put forth the idea that we should create timeless children’s stories so that they will be equally appealing to each successive generation.