Posts about writing

notebook and pens

Teach Write: The Dual Audiences of Children’s Literature

Last time, we discussed the special, double audience that we have to consider when writing a class assignment for a teacher. Hopefully that advice will help all the students that have now gone back to school! The audience* for ... Read More  

notebook and pens

Teach Write: When Your Teacher is Your Audience

Listen up, students, because this edition of Teach Write is all for you: today, we continue our exploration of audience with a critical one: teachers. When teachers give us writing assignments, they are trying to measure two things: Read More  

Triceratops Stomp by Karen Patkau

Cantastic Authorpalooza: Karen Patkau

A plaster cast of an embryo fossil and three eggs circulated around the room. Dr. David Evans, a paleontologist at the Royal Ontario Museum, described his remarkable find: a dinosaur nursery where he found dinosaur eggs! Read More  

notebook and pens

Teach Write: Identifying Your Audience

Last time we talked about why it's important for writers to think about audience - the readers we are writing for. Today, let's dig a little deeper into types of readers, and identify some questions we can use to ... Read More  

notebook and pens

Teach Write: Who Are You Writing For?

Last time we talked about the 40:20:40 rule of writing, and how the first 40% of the effort that goes into any piece happens in the preparation phase. The very first piece of preparation is to identify your audience: ... Read More  

notebook and pens

Teach Write: The Three-Step Writing Process

Welcome to Teach Write! This column draws on my 20 years' experience teaching writing to kids, university students, and adult learners. It includes ideas and exercises that teachers can use in the classroom, and creative writers can use to ... Read More  

Fox Cousteau gets crafty

What a Week!

  Sometimes there are weeks where you work 8 hours a day every day and feel like you didn’t accomplish a single thing. This was not one of those weeks. This was one of those weeks when the stars ... Read More  

Lindsey presents on forensic science

Why I’ll (Probably) Never Write a “Real” Book

  “So when are you going to write a real book?” Children’s writers in my audience are probably groaning right now, because this is a question we’ve all been asked at least once. Most of us come back with ... Read More  

Lindsey and Sasquatch writing

Inside an Author’s “Process”

I love that word, “process.” Makes it sound like writers know what they are doing, when we’re actually just faking it and hoping no one will notice. Now that I’m working on a fantasy novel, though, I have noticed ... Read More  

bookstore shelves

Brick and Mortar Magic: How to Have a Great Book Signing

As publishers' marketing budgets continue to be slashed, authors are finding that self-promotion is ever more necessary.  One time-honoured way to get the word out is to spend a couple hours in a bookstore, talking to customers as though ... Read More  

The Gates by John Connolly

Frightened by My Own Imagination

Writing a novel is a lot more personal than writing non-fiction. Non-fiction is external – I find and repackage information. Fiction, in contrast, comes from the inside, and sometimes what’s inside is a bit… surprising. When I first started ... Read More  

bookstore shelves

Brick and Mortar Magic: Choosing a Pseudonym

There are a number of reasons authors choose to publish under a name besides their own.  Perhaps a children's writer has the same name as a queen of erotic romances.  Perhaps a business writer wishes to publish literary fiction, ... Read More  

bookstore shelves

Brick and Mortar Magic: Five MORE Ways a Book Becomes a Bestseller

In Part 1, I talked about factors influencing book sales that the author has little or no control over.  Today, as promised, the Ways In Which You, As The Author, Can Help Rock Your Own Sales Read More  

Information Ninja water bottle

The Top Ten Things Grad School Taught Me About Writing

  When I gave up a career in science to be a starving artist, I knew, without doubt or reservation, that I was doing the right thing.  I also knew it was a thing that would be difficult, if ... Read More  

Wildebeest Migration by L.E. Carmichael

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Does Not Apply to Research

I’ve blogged before about the importance of fact checking sources when researching nonfiction for kids. This post is about a slightly different research challenge that, in the age of the internet, is becoming a huge problem. I sometimes teach ... Read More  

Sasquatch plays with catnip

The Monomyth: A Cat’s Journey

  Calling all writer friends! Have you read Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces and Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey yet? If not, you should get on that. Mythic structure is a good starting point for novels, especially fantasies, but both authors ... Read More  

work in progress

You Gotta Have A Hook

Is this nerdy? Yes. Do I love it from the depths of my nerdy soul? Heck yes! To all my friends attending the SCBWI Summer Conference this week – have an educational, inspiring time! I’ll be over here, trying not ... Read More  

plotting a novel

First Novel Makes Its First Public Appearance

Short post today, because I’m preparing for this afternoon’s Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Reading. I haven’t talked about it on the blog much, but I’m writing my very first novel – a fantasy adventure for ages 10-14. And I was incredibly fortunate ... Read More