Posts Tagged ‘Jane Yolen’

On Saturday our local SCBWI chapter had a very special guest speaker, Lin Oliver, co-founder of SCBWI. Lin took time from her very busy schedule to share with our members some writing tips she has gleaned from her 40 plus years of working with the best children’s authors of our time.

In addition to co-founding SCBWI, Lin is also a children’s book author and writer-producer of family films, television series and movies for children.  Her New York Times best-selling book series HANK ZIPZER, co-authored by Henry Winkler, has sold over three million copies.

Here is a book trailer for Lin’s newest series with Henry Winkler.

Lin was witty and charming as she described her experience as a writer and shared her “12 Things for Writing for Children.” Here are a few of the tips that Lin shared with us:

From author Bruce Coville: “Follow your wierdness.”

 Use your creativity, kids will love it.

From author Richard Peck: “Be emotional, but not sentimental. Just because it happened to you, doesn’t make it interesting.”

Use the emotions from previous experiences to add richness to your writing, not necessarily the situations.

From author Jane Yolen: “It’s not a children’s book if a child doesn’t solve the story problem.”

If the adult solves the problem, write adult fiction.

From author Sid Fleischman: “In writing, nothing is wasted, but the paper.”

Don’t be afraid to cut. That scene may be used in another story or set up an even better idea.

It was an inspirational afternoon and I was very happy I attended. Now I’m going to go and follow my weirdness.

Happy Writing,

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk.

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With the idea of New Year’s Resolutions in the back of my mind – which I usually avoid making – I decided to reread Jane Yolen’s TAKE JOY, A BOOK FOR WRITERS.

I’m only a few chapters in, but already… Ahhhh…

Jane Yolen is brilliant. And prolific. She has written every type of writing. And has done it well!

So she’s obviously a rare breed. But… she makes it all  seem possible. While taking joy in the process.

From her chapter entitled ADVICE (aka New Year’s Resolutions)

  • WRITE EVERY DAY: Exercise the writing muscle
  • WRITE WHAT INTERESTS YOU: As opposed to only writing what you know
  • WRITE FOR YOURSELF: You are the only constant in your life
  • WRITE WITH HONEST EMOTION: come up with your own core emotional truths
  • BE CAREFUL OF BEING FACILE: I think Jane has to worry about this more than the rest of us, but still good to keep in mind. Especially when it’s hard.
  • BE WARY OF PREACHING: Aim to REACH instead.
  • BE READY TO GO TOPSY-TURVY: Force your writing to go figuratively upside down so that you can see it anew. (Change your POV, MC’s gender, eliminate modifiers, turn prose into poetry)
  • BE PREPARED FOR SERENDIPITY: The “happy accident”. In other words, live.
  • The magic word is BIC… Butt in Chair. “Hard work is the only real magic there is…”

Wishing you new visions and inspiration in 2010, with a great big helping of JOY.

Sarah Wones Tomp


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