“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
— Madeleine L’Engle
“I’m going to talk about research. No, research is not very fun, and it’s never glamorous, but it matters. A lot.
If you want to be able to make compelling case for something — whether it’s in a book, on a blog, or in a multi-million dollar VC pitch — you need stories that frame your arguments, rich anecdotes to compliment tangible examples, and impressive data so you can empirically crush counter arguments.
But good research doesn’t just magically appear. Stories, anecdotes and data have to be found before you can use them.
You have to hunt them down like a shark, chasing the scent of blood across the vast ocean of information. The bad news is that this is an unenviable task … but the good news is that it’s not impossible.
It’s not even that hard … once you learn what you’re doing — and I’m going to teach you those skills.
By the time I was 21, my research had been used by #1 New York Times Bestselling authors like Robert Greene, Tim Ferriss, and Tucker Max. Was I a slave to study? Did I have to become a library hermit to accomplish this? No, I did it all in my spare time–on the side, with just a few hours of work a week.
Here’s how I did it …
…This is the mark you must aim for as a researcher, to not only have enough material — and to know where the rest of what you haven’t read will be located — on hand to do your work….
…How do you find a needle in haystack? Get rid of the extra hay….
…One of my rules as a reader is to read one book mentioned in or cited in every book that I read. It not only solves the problem of ‘what to read next’ but it sends you on a journey down the rabbit hole….
…The Classics are “classic” for a reason. They’ve survived the test of time….
…a book of quotes, sentences, metaphors and miscellany that he could use at a moment’s notice….”
“If you ask a hundred different authors how they got published, you’ll get a hundred different stories,” says Pam Mu?oz Ryan, author of Mice and Beans, one of Child’s 50 Best Books of 2001. But aspiring writers — and fans — can learn and be inspired by the tales of those who’ve flourished in the field….
“The hardest thing to learn is how to communicate with your audience,” says Hoeye. “You can’t lose your voice. You must have a distinct sense of who you are and who you’re trying to talk to.” One way he honed his skills was by writing letters. “My first book, Time Stops for No Mouse, started as a series of letters to my wife who was traveling in Africa,” says Hoeye. “I didn’t know I was writing a book. It was just a way of entertaining her, but it kept growing and growing. To write a book straight through can be bewildering and intimidating.”
“Ideas come to me from everywhere-my own life, sometimes folktales,” says dePaola. “Strega Nonacame to me out of the blue, but I often get ideas from kids. The Quicksand Book is a good example of that. Children will come up to me and say, `Why don’t you write a story about….'”
“Rejection can be devastating,” says Janet Stevens, author of And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, a Child Best Book of 2001. “You can get your heart broken. The main thing to realize is that there are so many different editors with different tastes. You have to remove yourself from it emotionally and just keep trying. You don’t have to be the best author and win all the awards; you just have to appeal to kids — that’s what’s most important.”
To read more from the authors of children’s books on parents.com, click here.
“Have you ever had an idea for a novel, and then just sat down and began writing without knowing exactly where the story was going?
It happens to everyone at some point, but most people begin to realize that the events in your plotline get confused, or forgotten in the the [sic] thrill of writing an exciting scene. There are those who continue to write on, regardless, fixing any discrepancies as they work, or (worse!) those who do not check that events are properly tied in place to bring their stories to a satisfying conclusion.
And then there are those writers who believe that creating a plot-outline is tantamount to “destroying the natural creative process”. The belief is simple; by writing it out in rough form, you’ve already told the story, so the creative side of you will not want to write it again.
Whichever type of writer you are, creating a simple, inelegant outline to follow s not the same thing as already writing the story, and it could save you an enormous amount of time and rewriting later.
The purpose of an outline in this case is to be certain that your storyline is not straying too far from the original idea. It is also a useful tool if you need to determine if your idea is big enough to be developed into a novel-length work, and not left as a short story or novella.
Your outline should be a simple reminder that, no matter how many events or characters or situations arise, your main theme will never get lost in the jumble of scenes.
Of course, this brings us to the problem to what was discussed above. There are writers who have a tendency to over-plot, thus really killing any spontaneity as far as the writing process goes. The biggest difficulty here is forcing your characters to go through motions that may not fit into their personality make-up simply to fit into your pre-existing, overly planned plotline.
So how do you strike a fair balance between aimless writing and over-plotting? There are several ways to accomplish this….”
“As an editor, I have heard horror stories about authors who didn’t know how to process the edits they received back from their editors. Instead of asking what to do with the Word document, [caution, you’re going to scream] some of the authors printed the full manuscript, compared item by item, then RETYPED the entire manuscript.
Don’t let this be you.
Firstly, your editor is on your TEAM. An editor wants you to succeed. And even though you may feel like we are all jackals, we don’t really bite. Ask us questions—especially when you feel overwhelmed or uncertain.”— Billi Joy Carson / Senior Editor, Editing Addict
EDITOR Sends Completed File Back to AUTHOR:
THE AUTHOR’S JOB:
1. READ through document
2. CHOOSE FROM (to accept and/or reject changes)
a. Accept All Changes in Document
b. Accept and Move to Next
c. Reject All Changes in Document
d. Reject and Move to Next
3. SHORTCUT for authors
a. Save TWO* versions of the file you received from your editor.
i. File A [edits accepted]
1. In Word Doc, under REVIEW tab [File A]
2. Select Accept All Changes in Document [File A]
ii. File B [edits visible]
1. Leave the file the way you received from the editor
b. Read through File A side-by-side with File B
i. If you find an edit you don’t want
1. In File B
a. Under REVIEW tab [File B]
b. Select Reject and Move to Next [File B]
ii. When you are finished reading File A, and correcting File B,
1. In File B
a. Under REVIEW tab [File B]
b. Select Accept All Changes in Document [File B]
c. File B is now fully edited, and author approved
Still have questions? Leave a comment below, or send a message to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org. Teamwork brings success!
Multi-award-winning author, Hayley Rose, released her first children’s book in 2002, Fifo When I Grow Up, about a six-year-old bear starting school. That book was followed by the wildly popular geography book and #1 best-seller, Fifo 50 States, published in 2010. In 2012 Hayley was selected as one of “The Top 50 Writers You Should Be Reading” by AuthorsShow.com. In 2013 she branched out with a new series, featuring a new set of characters, Zach, Chloe, and Louis the Manner Monster. Her new book, The Do’s and Don’ts, was released in September 2013, and has already been honored by the Mom’s Choice Awards, along with a Readers Favorite bronze medal.
“My life experiences are really my main inspiration for writing, along with my goddaughter and godson. I had a great childhood, full of adventure and support. Writing is my way of giving back, to be able to share great stories that inspire and educate.”
“The Do’s and Don’ts is a whimsical lesson book aimed at teaching young readers the difference between good and bad behavior, or etiquette. In the book, Zack and Chloe go from being manner monsters, to well-behaved children, as they provide samples of typical scenarios that not only young children encounter, but can relate to. For example, Zack becomes a Manner Monster when he loses a game, kicking and pouting like a poor sport. In contrast, good behavior is then modeled depicting Zack congratulating the winning team.
Unlike other etiquette books for children—that tell a story or just communicate positive behavior—The Do’s and Don’ts compares and contrasts between good and bad behavior. Simply, yet colorfully displayed, are examples of inappropriate behavior and decisions young children may display, followed by behavior and decisions that are more socially accepted. Each compare-and-contrast anecdote is set in the same scene, so that young readers can instantly see the differences between good and poor behavior.“
Mama comforts him with his favorite breakfast, and they talk about what he wants to be when he grows up. By the end of breakfast, Fifo’s been a doctor, a fireman, a pilot, a policeman, a teacher, and even the president. Now he’s ready for anything—even the first day of school.“
“Fifo “50 States” is a delightful rhyming story where Fifo, a warm and lovable brown bear, is bitten by the travel bug. Fifo dreams of digging up diamonds in Arkansas, looking for fossils in Kansas, enjoying a delicious bowl of gumbo in Louisiana, and even seeing a Broadway show in New York. Yes, America is an exciting place!
Fifo’s second book is full of adventure. A colorful reference-like geography book, Fifo discovers the wonders each state has to offer. Along the way, he learns each state’s capital, shape, flag, motto, and much, much more. The possibilities are endless!
So, come along with Fifo, and you’ll soon discover the beauty of America one state to another. A positive experience for both Fifo and the reader. Learning should always be this much fun.“
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