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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...
It’s Not Just Fiction By Claire Merchant I was talking to someone recently, and we were discussing the movie portrayals of books. Naturally, as a reader and a writer, I was expressing that details in books are important and should be kept when translated into film. The someone I was speaking to said that it didn’t matter what anyone changed, just as long as it looked good and it made a lot of money. The conversation came to an abrupt end when they said to me, “Who cares,...
So You Want To Be A Screenwriter… by Michael J. Bowler I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I wrote short stories as a kid and read voraciously and loved telling tall tales to anyone who would listen. But I also loved movies and thought screenwriting might be an easier entre into a writing career. Not so fast, young padawan… In college I chose to double major in English literature and theater arts. In both arenas I did lots of creative writing. I wrote short stories and plays...
RESCUE ME: A VALENTINE TO OUR CANINE COMPANIONS —Michael J. Rosen In my recently published novel, THE TALE OF RESCUE, a cattle dog saves a family stranded in a blizzard. While “vacationing” in Ohio, many states away from their home in Florida, a mother, father, and 10-year-old boy are lost in waist-deep snow, in a squall—a white-out—that turns to freezing rain. They have no provisions, no clue as to which direction their cabin or any shelter might be, and no...
Half Marathons, article by Scott Spotson The author of the My Wizard Buddy series, Bridge Through Time, and Seeking Dr. Magic, Scott Spotson, is also an editor. As an editor he job can involve proofreading, copyediting, and adding inspirational ideas or facts if needed to make the reading experience a delightful one. Scott recently had the pleasure of editing The Best Half Marathons in the World by Steve Kesh, and is here today to tell LitPick about the book. Author Steve Kesh,...
Brick by Brick: Building Ideas and Breaking Through Writer’s Block By Claire Merchant “I love to write and I have tons of ideas....but none of them relate at all! Once I get one idea down on paper, another one pops up. And the second one always seems better than the first. Sometimes I am able to write two or more chapters, but by chapter five the idea evaporates and I have no idea how to continue! Does anyone have any suggestions?” Submitted by moseso on Mon, 09/14/2015 - 6:...
V-Wars: On Writing The Vampire Wars By Jonathan Maberry I love vampires.          Okay, I’m a horror writer, so that’s probably not a stretch, but really, my connection runs deep. And I like my vampires scary. If I were a twelve year-old girl I’d be totally fine with the sparkly vampires of recent years, and I don’t sneer at them –after all they’re perfectly suited for that demographic. Any adults who complain should check again to...
  Ten Commonly Held “Truths” About Writing Poetry Whose Opposite Is Closer to True by Michael J. Rosen Curiously, many young or new writers of poetry hold fast to certain “inviolable” truths about their poetry. And these beliefs govern their writing process. But even more curious—from my 45 years of writing and teaching—is that the very opposite of what they cling to…is often exactly what their poetry practice actually needs. Let’s...
Novel Expectations By Claire Merchant   The hardest thing about being a writer is knowing that my parents didn’t want me to be one. That’s not to say that they’re not proud of me, but I suppose there is less certainty in novel writing than there is another career path. Growing up, I wanted to be almost everything. I wanted to be a teacher, a psychologist, a mechanic, a scientist, a police officer, a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, a journalist—you name it, I probably...
Inspiration by: Linda M. Crate My writing process really varies from day to day. Sometimes I wake up and I am inspired simply by dreams or thoughts I had the previous day while working my night job.   I love those mornings where I just wake up and I can just go to town. It makes me feel accomplished to start writing right away when everyone else is sleeping or loafing about. It makes me feel as if I'm doing something right.   I am inspired by anything and everything. Music,...
DIFFERENT STROKES … By Lea Wait I’m Lea Wait, and I’ve written five historical novels for middle grades, all set at least partially in the small town of Wiscasset, Maine during the nineteenth century. My publishers say they aren’t a series: a series, they tell me, is several books about the same people. My books are not. Although a few characters appear in more than one book, my books are about different people (some fictional; some real) who lived in different years....
How I Became Trapped (Happily) in My Longest Book Series By Todd Strasser These days we often think of a book series as being conceived with the express purpose of eventually growing into many volumes. Creating series this way is nothing new. It goes back to the late 19th century when Edward Stratemeyer and his Stratemeyer Syndicate created The Bobbsey Twins, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and other famous collections. These days book series are often carefully...
A Well-Crafted Piece by Todd Strasser (Note: This article was originally published on Elizabeth O. Dulemba’s blog, http://dulemba.com in November 2013 and is reposted with the permission of the author, Todd Strasser.) At a gathering recently someone asked me what I did for a living.  I said I wrote books for young people. What followed was a conversation every writer of picture, middle-grade, and YA books has probably had many times. He asked if I had ever thought about...
Have Fun By ND Richman   Good advice comes from those who’ve suffered through their mistakes and aren’t afraid to tell others about it. I believe this makes me somewhat of an expert, so here’s some advice from an aspiring author: Dream Big Expect Little Be Patient Have Fun   "Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall at last unveil." - John Ruskin   Big accomplishments start with big dreams...
MY LOVE OF SCI-FI by Braxton A. Cosby I love writing Science Fiction. Even the abbreviated version of this genre, SciFi, is cool. And if the current state of entertainment is any indication, the popularity of SciFi is growing rapidly. Blockbuster films based on hit novels (The Hunger Games) and television shows (The 100) are helping diverse audiences develop an appreciation for my beloved genre. I’ve loved SciFi for a long time now. I fell in love with the genre ever since I first read...
Write often. Write every day. Write when you can. By Claire Merchant   I’m just going to put this out there: I overthink things. I bet you’re all shocked. My mind is a beehive of ideas; I rarely ever get bored because my thoughts just amuse me. I live in physical reality and perceptual fantasy. I sometimes need to remind myself which one is the real one. Yes, I am a writer, and yes, I write often. I rarely take time off because it’s not really something that I can take...
Stuck in the Middle with You G.A. Morgan Greetings, readers! I’m hoping by now you’ve had a chance to check out Chantarelle, the second (and middle) book of The Five Stones Trilogy, from Islandport Press. When I first began writing the story about Ayda, the Five Stones, and my five protagonists, I thought it would be one book—an epic one, to be sure—but a single volume. As I wrote, the characters in the world of Ayda came alive, and I knew it would be impossible to get...

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