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Do you love writing? Is it your dream to become an author? You're not alone, but what do you need to do to reach that goal? We like asking our authors to share their advice with those who want to pursue writing for publication. Here's what Jeannie Chambers said.   Here are my top FIVE writing tips: 1) Just write! Try to write something every day; it may not have anything to do with what you think you want to write, just keep it up.  2) Write as soon as you get up in the...
Author Kathy Manos Penn shares about her experience with LitPick and why she has found this reading and writing program to be so valuable. Students, be sure to read about the special student reviewer promotion that's only available until June 15, 2018. ------ I discovered this program when I read Jean Gill’s “Someone to Look Up To,”  a novel written by a Great Pyrenees dog, as is my book “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch.” The difference is the dog narrator in...
The PCR Triangle and Our Recommendations        From our data, students seem to be more motivated to read outside of school when a parent is directly involved as their sponsor rather than when they are sponsored by librarians or teachers as part of a group of students.   We feel that this parent-child relationship is very important in promoting and encouraging reading during the preteen and teen years and should be incorporated into school and library-...
Today we are joined by Jeff Minich, author of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time and other books in the Nuggies illustrated children’s book series. We have partnered with him and The Children’s Book Review to bring you some tips about writing for children. If you’ve ever considered writing for this audience, be sure to check out his article. Also, enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time.   WRITING FOR CHILDREN For my first children...
Laura P. Angaroni, author of Lowly, shared some questions to consider when you “write what you know.” She is back today with some more thoughts on this powerful way to bring authenticity into your writing. Check out Part I, in case you missed it. ------ WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW PART II 1. In Part I of my article I mentioned             A. Writing what you know             B. Authenticity...
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW PART I   “Who’s joking? You wouldn’t think it was so disgusting if you had a few minutes alone with me,” Matthew carries on with a slimy leer, adding what I’m guessing is a foul name for me that I’ve never heard before. I’ll have to ask Charlotte if she knows its meaning later. Lowly, p. 29 I bet you my Baby Groot plushie that English teachers have told you to write “what you know.” I certainly have. For me, the...
The Dog That Helped My Daughter Read  by Sally Keys   “Your daughter is struggling to read aloud in class,” said her teacher to me as I picked her up from school one day. The words struck fear into me. Not because I feared my daughter was not bright - I know she is a fantastic, decisive leader, and is very intelligent to boot - far more so than me. It struck fear into my heart because it reminded me of what I went through as a child. I, too, had mild dyslexia, and reading...
Time Travel in Books by N.D. Richman N.D. Richman is here to share more about his action-adventure series, Boulton Quest, and the fascinating idea of time travel. Mr. Richman started this series as a way to get his nine-year-old son interested in reading. The four main characters in these books have been named after Mr. Richman’s own children. Each of the books in this series have received a five star review: https://litpick.com/books/brothers-bullies-and-bad-guys https://litpick.com/...
Pros and Cons of Each Point of View By Claire Merchant When beginning to write a story, one of the first things you need to consider is the point of view to tell it from. Today, I’m going to tell you a bit about the three styles — first person, second person, and third person, and tell you a little about some of the pros and cons of each.   First Person: Walking-in-their-shoes style. [Me, I, my] This is a favourite for fiction writing. It is a story as told by the main...
Start a Playwriting Contest Using 20 Questions by Deborah Baldwin Twenty-nine years ago, I was president of a community theatre, the Columbia Entertainment Company, in Columbia, Missouri.  Also, I was the director of a youth theatre program for them.   I volunteered hundreds of hours to both programs. It was an amazing learning experience and one that I draw upon from time to time in my career. Here is the story of probably the most important thing we did in this company: ...
Book Therapy By Claire Merchant Books make me happy. Stories are my therapy. I’ve said before that I’d probably be in an asylum if I didn’t write, not just because of the voices, but because I find it very difficult to cope with the stresses that come with reality. Plus, I think a lot, and trying to think of multiple things at once sounds productive, but it’s really just super overwhelming. More often than not, it ends up resulting in a panic attack and me turning into a...
Put the Writing First by Mark Huntley Parsons   I’m a children’s author, as is my wife. (She’s a kidlit veteran while I’m the new kid—I’ve spent the last several years primarily writing non-fiction: a couple of non-fic books and maybe 200 magazine articles for national publications.) My first YA novel, Road Rash, was published by Knopf/Random House and named to the 2015 ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Readers list, as well as the 2015 Bank Street...
In The Life Of… By Claire Merchant   Hi, I’m Claire. I’m a writer and published author from Perth in Western Australia. Since 2013, I have had eight books published through Pegasus Publishers in Cambridge, England, and I have self-published a short eBook on Amazon. I have one more book ready for release, and I have all up completed writing twenty-five. I have an identity crisis at least once a week, and depending on how that particular week is going, sometimes it’s...
Strengthening Reading Skills Through Drama by Deborah Baldwin Teaching has its up and downs, but one of the most rewarding experiences of teaching is  seeing a student’s eyes light up once some learning connects with them. I like to teach “magically” if I can. I don’t wear a wizard’s robe and pull out a magic wand —I have no idea how that is done. I mean when a student learns something when they don’t think they are doing anything but having fun....
Why the Term “Young Adult Literature” Is Dangerous By Michael J. Bowler I hate the term “Young Adult Literature.” Teens and children are NOT young adults and they never will be young adults. Twelve and under are children or kids. Thirteen to eighteen are teens or adolescents. Eighteen years old is the beginning of young adulthood in America, and the adult brain isn’t fully formed until age twenty-one plus. That’s real science, not my opinion. I point this out...
Voting, Elections, and the U.S. Political System By Jeff Fleischer Jeff Fleischer’s new book, Votes of Confidence: A Young Person’s Guide to American Elections, is designed as a primer (or refresher) for teens and adults alike -- about voting, elections, and the US political system in general. With the election just a few months away, he joins LitPick to answer a few questions about how that system works. ***How do absentee ballots work? Do they start counting the absentee ballots...
So You Think You’re Done- The Value of Editing and Revision By Eileen Cook There are few things better than typing the words THE END at the bottom of your manuscript.  All the long hours, the time spent whacking your head on the desk, and the late night emails to fellow writers despairing that you’d ever finish have come to a conclusion. You’re done. You’re ready to pop the cork on some champagne and wait for publishing fame and glory to come your way. Wait! Don...
Welcome to South Coast By Claire Merchant Welcome to South Coast—or should I say, ‘Welcome to the inside of my mind’? To you, it may be the setting for a novel that you read—or eight that you have read since I have published seven paperback novels and an eBook in the last three years. To me, South Coast is my entire world. It is a place that makes sense to me and where all my friends live. I may have published seven books, but I have written a total of twenty-five; plus...
Inspiration for Painting in the Dark: Esref Armagan, Blind Artist by Rachelle Burk Today LitPick has the pleasure of bringing you a special interview with Rachelle Burk.  You previously met Rachelle when she visited LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author and Extra Credit interviews (https://litpick.com/author/rachelle-burk). This time Rachelle is here to talk about her new book, Painting in the Dark: Esref Armagan, Blind Artist, illustrated by Claudia Gadotti. In the book, actual photos of...
Writing, Directing, and Producing a Stage Play By Joan Donaldson-Yarmey   Last winter I took my writing in a new direction. I attended a two-day play writing course. By the end of it I had adapted a short story of mine, which had won first place in a flash fiction contest in “Ascent Aspirations Magazine,” into a half hour stage play. In the spring I entered my play in the Fringe held here in Port Alberni, B.C. This summer I produced and directed my play on stage in front...
Kids Need Hope More Than Fear By: Michael J Bowler Wants versus needs. We humans seem to want everything but actually need very little. Children need love, safety, security, shelter, clothing, and food. They need to be engaged in character-building activities. They need to be taught how to be decent human beings who accept as an axiom that all life is sacred. They need to be taught that life doesn’t revolve around them, that they are part of a larger world – family, neighborhood,...
Trifecta of Elements: Films & Novels By Claire Merchant   It was a Saturday night on vacation in Te Anau, New Zealand, and I was watching a film in my motel room. It was a movie that I normally wouldn’t watch because it wasn’t a topic that necessary appealed to me, but it had Ashton Kutcher in it, so I started watching it anyway. As I sat there, I got thinking about just how much time and effort went into making sure that this movie got made. Huge amounts of creativity and...
The Top Seven Reasons Drama Education is Important to Your Child’s Life By: Deborah Baldwin, author of Bumbling Bea   When the LitPick staff and I discussed writing several articles concerning drama education, I was stymied.  I have been a drama teacher and director since 1979. Personally, theatre and the creativity that stems from it is very second nature to me. I forget that other people may not be aware of its strengths in the same manner.  Today’s the day for...
HELPING STUDENTS “VISIT” THE PAST By: Lea Wait   As the author of five historical novels for ages eight and up set in the nineteenth century United States, I’m often asked to talk to groups of students about how to write historical novels. Often my talks are in connection with stories students have been asked to write themselves. Often the students are intimidated by the amount of research necessary to write something set in the past or even to imagine the lives of people...
Writing Is Exhausting by ND Richman   I’m a man of action. No, I don’t change in a phone booth but: •       I clean the house. •       I walk the dogs. •       I landscape and build garden walls. •       I tear down bathrooms and rebuild them. •       I can’t watch an entire football game or movie. I...

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