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For Writers
Can you give me any writing tips?
Write from the heart. Write about what you know (your own experiences and feelings). Don’t avoid writing about the pain in your life. Do avoid using clichés and overusing adjectives. Try to find ways to describe things in fresh new ways. Similes work well for that. Try to show instead of tell. Like instead of saying “I felt happy” (telling), say “I felt like a jar all filled up with a thousand fireflies” (showing). Or instead of saying “I felt scared” (telling), say “my heart fluttered in my throat like a trapped bird” (showing). Or instead of saying “I felt sad” (telling), say “my heart sunk all the way to China” (showing). And read, read, read—whoever, and whatever, inspires you.

an early draftI’m suffering from writer’s block. How can I get past it?
Well, first off, you’ve got to stop worrying about how good what you write is going to be. I always assume that what I write will really stink. And my own first drafts always do. To get an idea of what I mean by this, just take a look at the early notes (on the left) for “I Wish I May, I Wish I Might,” a poem from Stop Pretending … But I have to write that awful version first, so that I have something that I can work on and eventually make better. You’ve got to remember that even if what you write is terrible, you can revise it and keep on revising it, until what you’ve written is good. Believe that, and your writer’s block will be history.

How can I get published?
If you are writing for children or teens, there is a book called the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market, that has all the publishers names and addresses in it. They publish an updated version of it every year. But remember: many publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. (Unsolicited manuscripts are manuscripts that they haven’t actually asked to see.) So be sure to check first.

You should also definitely think about joining the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It’s a wonderful organization with chapters all across the country.

And find some other people who love to write and start a critique group with them, so that you can give each other feedback on your work.

Copyright 2004-. Sonya Sones. All rights reserved.