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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...
Dreaming of Becoming an Author By Joanne Vruno The one thing in life I have learned is to never give up on your dreams. Persistence is the key to achievement. You will get frustrated at times, and you’ll be scared that your story may not be good enough. Many doubts may arise before the story is done. Those are the times you need to focus on why you are writing this story. What is the true passion driving you? That passion is what keeps one motivated to become an author – the story...
The Creative Struggle of Penning a Novel by author Braxton A. Cosby My name is Braxton Cosby, and I am the author of multiple titles. I’m also the CEO of Cosby Media Productions, which publishes other authors’ works. Our passion is to provide family-friendly works that speak inspirational messages to people all around the world, especially young folks.  I always get this question from readers: “What inspired you to write your first novel?” So, I’m honored...
Vice Versus Virtue: Creating Complete Characters By Claire Merchant   “Claire, Taylor Mistry is so frustrating. Why would she even consider Brandon when she has better options?” Wow. Like, just wow. Calm down. She took pause, okay? She was finally getting attention from her first crush, so she took pause. Sheesh, wouldn’t you do the same? That was a hot question after my first novel, Mistry by Moonlight, came out. I felt like I was defending a friend, and maybe I was...
YOUNG WRITERS: SIX PIECES OF ADVICE THAT WILL GET YOU TAKEN SERIOUSLY by Gillian Murray Kendall I didn’t get a lot of advice on creative writing when I was young—not as a teenager, not as a younger writer. When I wrote a flop, my parents were kind. When I wrote something that had a certain amount of substance to it—a plot, a theme, a shape—my parents were also kind. So were my teachers. So was the world at large. It comes to me now that I was treated nicely, benignly....
Indie Versus Traditional Publishing ND Richman   If you stacked all of the books published in the United States in 2012, end to end, you’d surround a hockey rink with a twenty-six story1 wall (yeah, I’m Canadian). Fifty seven percent2 of those books were independently (also known as Indie) published. The proliferation of Indie books has sparked media criticism, with concern expressed over the quantity of poor quality publications and the lack of earning potential for authors....
Confessions of a Creative Writing Professor Part 1: My Life As a Student Writer By Gillian Murray Kendall   When I was an undergraduate at Stanford University, my teacher in Creative Writing 101 encouraged me, praised me, told me my writing was strange and asked me out on a date.  The class was a heady, unsettling and new experience and I took full advantage of all it had to offer, except the invitation to date the professor.  In that class, I produced my first good little piece...
Where Do Ideas Come From? by Claire Merchant I’ve written twenty novels. It’s a bit insane when I stop and think about it. I hope that I never run out of ideas, and considering that I’ve got four new stories that I’m working on, I seem to be doing okay so far. A lot of people have asked me how I come up with the ideas for my stories. The short answer is that there are a lot of different things that spark them. However, since I am a writer, I feel the need to expand on...
THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM TEACHING CREATIVE WRITING Gillian Murray Kendall 1. GOOD WRITING IS A LEARNED SKILL Shakespeare, certainly the greatest writer in the English language and arguably the world’s greatest writer, had talent. People speak and write a lot about that talent, that genius, that brilliance—but not nearly as much is said of Shakespeare’s hard work at learning his craft. He learned quickly, granted, but he learned; as his career grew, he acquired skills...
LitPick Student Book Reviews (www.litpick.com) was created by college students to help promote reading and writing. Today, thousands of students worldwide review books for LitPick. Listed below are reasons why students enjoy being part of the LitPick community and how their participation has helped foster their love for reading. Free Books LitPick provides free eBooks to students in exchange for their honest reviews of those titles. The books do not need to be returned to LitPick, so students...
The Knack of Writing Fiction (With Deference to Dilbert - The Knack, https://youtu.be/TvGYIALoKRk) by ND Richman   “How does a linear thinking, left-brained, techno-geek, automation engineering technologist get to write children’s fiction?” I get that question a lot, in varying forms, and my responses have been limited to a shrug and a chuckle. So tonight I snuggled into my writer’s chair, a worn and comfortable Lazy-Boy recliner, and with the aid of a tall rum...
**Tynea Lewis, LitPick Site Administrator, has submitted this article on behalf of Claire Merchant.  When I first started writing novels, I never thought that I’d be writing stories with sequels. It’s not that I had anything against sequels, but I always thought that if a character’s story ended then there was nothing more to say. Like, why wouldn’t I just keep writing if the story wasn’t finished? It’s not always that simple. I suppose you can liken...
Hi. Hello. Hey. Aloha. Ciao. Konnichiwa. Hiya. Bonjour. Sup. Hola. G’day. by Claire Merchant My name is Claire Merchant. I write books and I live in one of the most isolated cities in the world—Perth, Western Australia. Yes, I am Australian, but let me just clear a few things up. I don’t have a pet koala, I can’t surf, I have never had a ‘shrimp’ from a ‘barbie’, my preferred mode of transport is a car and not a kangaroo, and I consider the left...
Now that my book is out, I’m savoring the finer reviews―and skipping right over a few others! I’ve combed through (and written) enough book reviews to make a few observations that might help with review writing, and what better place to post them than an award-winning review site with so many young reviewers! 1. Good reviews are clear, yet fun to read. Letting your distinctive voice come through can add flare to your reviews. 2...
  Many years ago, I was just a dad trying to encourage his fourth grader to read.  It was a challenge competing with Pokemon, yoyo's, baseball cards, and a packed academic and athletic schedue.   At the same time, I was learning how to build websites so I told my son Seth that we could build a website and feature his reviews of books that he read and reviewed.  Penguin discovered his online site, sent him boxes of books to review, and the rest, as they say is history...

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