For today's post I asked the prolific Agented and Published writers in my Write Club critique group to share with you some of their favorite *must-have* tools in their Writer's Tool Boxes. Many of these authors have books coming out in either this year or next!
Lauren H. Kerstein, Author of Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves (Amazon/Two Lions, 6/2019): One of my favorite tools is the craft book: Writing with Pictures (Shulevitz). I love referring to this book because it helps me ensure that each of my two-page spreads offers a scene change, and uses language that evokes an intriguing visual image. I also use picture dummy templates for this same purpose. https://laurenkerstein.net
Lynne Marie, Author of Moldilocks and the Three Scares (Sterling, 8/2019) and Let's Eat: Mealtimes Around the World (Beaming Books, 2019), recommends two tools one for each book this year. First one is the library card so that you can read 100 comp books for each book you submit to agents and publishers. 2nd is a highlighter so that when you print out your manuscript for your in-person critique groups, you can also review for weak words, unnecessary repetition, passive verbs and other language that isn't working or is working against your story. www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com
Heather Macht, author of "The Ant Farm Escape," Feb. 2019, "Rex the...We-Don't-Know," Sept. 2019, and "You May Just Be a Dinosaur," September 2015, always keeps a go-to critique partner in her toolbox. She's lucky enough to have a pre-beta reader for first review and general thoughts on all manuscripts. https://www.heathermacht.com/
Rosie J. Pova, author of Sarah's Song (2017) and an upcoming picture book soon to be announced. It depends on what kind of story I'm writing -- quirky, lyrical or fractured fairy tale -- but lately, one of my favorite tools is paginating and inserting irresistible page turns. I love brainstorming to come up with an effective way to entice the reader to turn the page. Then, I like to surprise them with some humor, if the story calls for it, or a vivid image or emotion. To me, that makes the story memorable and re-readable. www.rosiejpova.com
Katie Frawley (Debut picture book, Spring 2020...details forthcoming). The number one tool in my toolbox is the magic of critique partners! I belong to 5 critique groups right now, only one of which meets in person. So, living in the middle of nowhere is no excuse! Critique partners can help at every phase of the writing process. Bounce an idea off them! Show them your ugly first draft! Pester them with revisions! Force them to read your query letters! Their honest feedback will make you a better writer; and their support will sustain you when the going gets tough, as it inevitably will! katiefrawley.wordpress.com
Henry Herz, author of "Two Pirates + One Robot," 2020 recommends spreadsheets for keeping track of submissions to agents and publishing houses. https://henryherz.wordpress.com
Evelyn Bookless, author of Captain Green and the Plastic Scene (Marshall Cavendish, 2018), makes picture book dummies, using paper she staples together, when trying to 'hammer out' page turns, pacing, pattern, POV, scenes, unnecessary words and so much more. Adding a few badly drawn sketches can help her see things with fresh eyes. www.evelynbookless.com
Shannon Stocker, author of CAN U SAVE THE DAY (Sleeping Bear Press, August, 2019), is a poet and enjoys lyrical writing, but the right words are sometimes elusive. To unearth that perfect word, she often looks to: https://www.thesaurus.com/
https://www.rhymezone.com/ - http://www.shannonstocker.com/
From Joana Pastro, author of LILLYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS (Kane Press, Fall/2020): One of my favorite writing tools are index cards. They’re incredibly versatile. You can use them throughout the whole process of writing a book. Off the top of my head, I can say I use them to capture ideas, help define structure, define characters, set a storyboard, create and move scenes around, check if all the plot points are in place, help create page turns, make a dummy, and ultimately decide if a story is ready for my critique partner’s, agent's or editor's eyes. www.joanapastro.com.
From Kathleen Doherty, author of DON'T FEED THE BEAR, Sterling Children's Books, 2018. I use The Children's Writer's Word Book. It lists words by grade level and gives the reading level for synonyms. I also get the readability score on a manuscript using Microsoft Word. I go to Tools->Spelling and Grammar->readability
From Kelly Jordan (debut picture book, Spring 2020...details forthcoming): Every chance I get, I try to learn more about the market and about craft by attending SCBWI conferences, listening to podcasts (like Jennifer Laughran's Literaticast) and taking classes and workshops like those at Decatur Writers Studio and 12x12. Kellyjordanwrites.com
And PLEASE share @Literally_Lynne @LaurenKerstein @AuthorHMacht @iwriteforkidz @evelynbookless @sophiagholz @jopastro @doherty60 @rosiePOV @HenryLHerz @KatieFrawley1 @KJordanWrites #WriteClub #WriteClubRocks
PLEASE follow this blog so you don't miss any tidbit of information and please feel free to leave any comment or question you may have. I will do my best to answer all!
Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, pending) and Let's Eat! Mealtimes Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019). You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com
To order the Star in the Christmas Play, click the title. Keep an eye out for MOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE SCARES, coming in August, from Sterling Children's Books!