7 Steps to a Career Writing for Children This is not definitive or guaranteed. However, these steps will get you started

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7 Steps to a Career Writing for Children

This is not definitive or guaranteed. However, these steps will get you started.

1. Identify “What do I want to say?” What is your burning message to children?

2. Identify “What is the best GENRE to carry my message?”

Picture Books (Age 0- 8 yrs) 0-1000 words Easy Readers (Age 6-10) 500-1200 words Chapter Books (Age 6 -10) 6,000- 10,000 words Middle Grade (Age 8-12) 14,000 – 20,000 words Young Adult Novel (Age 10 and up) Magazine Articles (All Ages)

3. Identify the Story ARC and/or Outline Your Story Idea

4. Keep to a “Disciplined” Writing Schedule (You gotta make/take time to write!) Only steady and consistent writing will yield a complete manuscript. You must also invest in the needed tools (i.e. computer, tablets, pens etc.)

5. Join a Critique Group that you trust to read and judge your work I suggest that you join http://www.scbwi.org/ Ellen Braaf is the Virginia Advisor @ http://www.scbwi-midatlantic.org/about.html

6. Identify Rules for Submitting Work to Agents and Editors To help in this pursuit, purchase the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market—2010 To locate an agent you should visit—www.agentquery.com

7. Study the Craft of Writing—before, during and after you complete a manuscript

Suggested BooksWriting for Children and Teens by Cynthea Liu

Writing Picture Books by Ann Paul

Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’Connor

You Can Write A Book (Yes You Can!)

Helpful Websites and Blogs

  1. www.darcypattison.com Includes Writing Tips

  2. www.underdown.org Includes Publishing industry Updates

  3. www.duotrope.com List Publishers/Magazines for Submission

  4. www.agentquery.com

  5. www.guidetoliteraryagents.com

  6. www.asuen.com List and Provides Writing Instruction

  7. www.cynthialeitichsmith.com List Publishing Tips for Books

  8. www.alanrinzler.com/blog/ List Publishing Tips for Books

  9. www.kidmagwriters.com List Publishing Tips for Magazines

  10. www.scbwi.org Leading Organization for Writers—Join!

Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts

  1. All About Kids Publishing— www.aakp.com

  2. Boyds Mills Press— www.boydsmillspress.com

  3. Charlesbridge— www.charlesbridge.com
  4. Chronicle Books— www.chroniclekids.com

  5. Dial Books for Young Readers— www.penquin.com

  6. Farrar, Straus and Giroux— wwwfsgkids.com

  7. Henry Holt— www.henryholtkids.com

  8. Houghton Mifflin— www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com

  9. Lee and Low— www.leeandlow.com

  10. Walker and Company— www.walkeryoungreaders.com

Literary Agents Seeking New Clients

  1. Tracy Adams Literary Agency-- www.adamsliterary.com

  2. Andrea Brown Literary Agency-- www.andreabrownlit.com

  3. Curtis Brown Literary Agency-- www.curtisbrown

  4. Bookstop Literary Agency-- www.bookstopliterary

  5. Sheldon Fogelman Literary Agency-- www.sheldonfogelmanagency.com

Picture Book Template (With Arc Formula)

*ARC is the rising and falling action of a story.

Here is a formula to help you with your ARC narrative for a picture book:

This is a story about ______________________________

Who more than anything else wants _____________________

(Alternative: Who more than anything else fears_________________)

But can’t get it because of these complications:
(Alternative: But has to face it because of these complications:)




UNTIL (Climax/Resolution _______________________________________.

This Template will Jump Start Your Creativity and Get You Thinking about the “ARC” of Your Story. This formula is useful only to a point, but it does help check the overall structure of your story.

The template can point out useful things like:

Does the main character solve the problem? (This is “a must” in children’s books) Do the complications get worse and worse, building to a climax?
Does the character actually want/fear something?
Have you provided the most interesting, least “clichéd” complications possible? (Or at least done the “clichéd” things in the most interesting vocabulary possible)

Read the “good stuff” written by other author/non-illustrators.

This is just a sampling of picture books that have had extraordinary success. You’ve “Got Next!”

Ain’t gonna paint no more (Karen Beaumont)
Alexander and the Terrible No Good Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst)
Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen)
Bear Snores On (Karma Wilson)
Brown, Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? (Bill Martin Jr)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Bill Martin Jr.)
Chicken Butt!  (Erica Perl)
Clara Ann Cookie, Go To Bed (Harriet Ziefert)
Click, Clack Moo (Doreen Cronin)

Cookies: Bite Sized Life Lessons  (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)

Diary of a Worm (Doreen Cronin)
Doggone Dogs!  (Karen Beaumont)
Earthquack!, Piggie Pie (Margie Palatini)
Good Night Moon  (Margaret Wise Brown)
Guess How Much I Love You (Sam McBratney)
How Does a Dinosaur Say Goodnight? (Jane Yolen)
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Laura Numeroff)
Little Hoot (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
Little Pea (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
Miss Nelson Is Missing  (Harry Allard)
Molly Lou Melon  (Patty Lovell)
Puffling, Piglet and Papa, Piglet and Mama (Margaret Wild)
Runaway Bunny (Margaret Wise Brown)
Skunks (David T Greenburg)
The Best Pet of All (David LaRochelle)
The Carrot Seed (Ruth Krauss)
The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash (Trinka Hakes Noble)
The End (David LaRochelle)
The Library (Sarah Stewart)
The Little Engine That Could (Watty Piper)
The Money Tree (Sarah Stewart)
The Monster at the End of This Book (Jon Stone)
The Other Side (Jacqueline Woodson)
The Ox Cart Man (Donald Hall)
The Paper Bag Princess  (Robert Munch)
The Relatives Came (Cythia Rylant)
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs   (Jon Scieszka)
Tiki Tiki Tembo (Arlene Mosel)When Dinosaurs Came With Everything (Elise Broach)

Owl Moon (Jane Yolen)

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