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Don’t Forget These Favorite Children Winter Reads (and they make good gifts too!)

Whenever the Christmas season rolls around, I think I’m still a big kid. I can’t help myself! This is the time of year when I get to remember special moments with my family growing up, and relive them and expand on them with my own family. In that vein, it wouldn’t be Christmas without classic Christmas stories. Sure, people may make fun of me for picking Elf and Home Alone as my favorite Christmas movies (supposedly, classy people pick It’s a Wonderful Life). However, when it comes to children and teen books, I love stories that make me smile…and make me cry. Here’s a list to get you started. Classic Christmas for the kids. On my latest Black Friday “Get your signed copy” run at Barnes and Noble, I discovered that Polar Express was available signed by Chris Van Allsburg. My kids love the magical story, but it is in tight competition with Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Don’t miss either, because both of these have stood the test of time! Taste of the fantastic. This is a season of imagination, and nothing is more imaginative than a fantasy world covered in snow. For a littler shiver of winter, read the children’s...
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What’s Write About 4 Conferences in a Year

My 2016 has been filled with conferences. As some may know my husband is military. The last few years especially have been filled with detachments. Being away from family made conferences difficult, not impossible (I managed to get one in a year with the help of my traveling mother in law). This year I had my husband around more and I had opportunity. So, I ventured out to conferences as much as possible. Even made one to see old friends that I left behind on our most recent move. Unintentionally, I ended up signing myself up for four SCBWI conferences/workshops. So what is right about doing this? Everything! Inspiration. At the first conference one of the guest speakers inspired the kick in the pants I needed to start the book. It was the adventure and voices I had in my head, but didn’t know how to categorize and I was afraid to actually write it. That hadn’t happened to me before. With my most recent book finished and off to query there was no more stalling. Write it or find another. I started researching the one I was afraid to write. Support. The next conference got the ball rolling so that I might have...
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Hooked! Intrigue in The Night Gardener

As a writer, it’s very difficult for me to simply read a book. I find that other part of my brain taking over–the one that wants to analyze and dissect why something does or doesn’t work in a book. In the case of The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, I found that the story soon had me reeled in and obsessively turning pages. Luckily for me, that other section of my brain didn’t have to work too hard to figure out what it was that sucked me in. As I mentioned in WWAT’s group post last week: “What Hooked Me in The Night Gardener,” It was the intrigue. Before reading The Night Gardener I’d really been thinking quite a bit about backstory and flashbacks, so I was already dialed into paying attention to how authors provided necessary details while avoiding the dreaded info dumps. Arguments against a spray of words revealing a character’s backstory are plentiful. But for me, the reasons crystalize in the following statement: Info-dumping robs your reader and just importantly you, of the opportunity to hook your reader slowly. Instead of the wall of text that comes with revealing information all at once, if a writer scatters those snippets like breadcrumbs, a reader will eagerly follow. Now, there is a balance of how...
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What Hooked Me in The Night Gardener…

This week we’re examining What’s Write About The Night Gardener, a middle-grade novel by Jonathan Auxier. Today’s topic examines what kept us reading the book. John: Intrigue– I’m going to save much of what I have to say for next week’s blog, but what reeled me in was the intrigue. So many bread crumbs were left behind that made me want to keep reading, and when one question would be answered, another would be put forth. This served to keep me turning pages as I would imagine it did for everyone. It really was a writing lesson in how to string a series of plot points together to form a wonderful path–all the way to the conclusion. Linda: Spooky– I love all things spooky, and the Night Gardener didn’t let me down. The moment that really caught my attention was when Molly sees the family portrait for the first time. The difference between the gaunt, pale, drab mother and the image of a healthy happy woman in the painting made my mind jump into a million directions. My first thought was that they were all ghosts. I almost begged Molly and Kip to leave. The spooks only grew from there – the tree, the thugs,...
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NANO Write Month Survival Tips

As we approach the twitter season of hashtag: NaNoWrMo, the WWAT crew wishes our fellow writers success. Not only do we want you to get that crazy hashtag right every time, but also achieve those word counts you strive for each day (totaling 50,000 words in 30 days). The idea of writing a novel in the month of November can be daunting. Not only can doubt set in, but as the holidays approach one can get easily overwhelmed. That’s when writer’s block strikes. That pesky state of mind that gets in the way. Don’t give up. Writer’s block can be defeated by continuing to write through the blankness and utilizing the rules of the craft. Every craftsman has his/her tools that they rely on. We are sharing ours in the hopes that they may help you.   Jess – I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo before and have reached my goals. Granted the 50,000 words at the time didn’t seem achievable. I had other obligations, but wanted to utilize peer pressure to get some writing done. So I set my goal to 30,000 words. I reached it and did better than I thought. It set me up so now whenever I need to write a book I...
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Welcome to WWAT!
What's WWAT? What's Write About This is a blog dedicated to examining what works in kidlit. By tackling various themes and topics, we'll break down passages, examine sentences, and explore concepts that make-up the components of successful writing. We welcome you back each week with a new post. Thanks for stopping by!
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