Odd Collection

“Start a collection of odd, interesting things (e.g., a slinky, model airplane, robot and so on) and put them in a curiosity box or bag…Then, you can pull out unique items randomly when confronted with a problem or opportunity… When brainstorming for new ideas, odd, unusual things often trigger new associations. It may sound silly,

Notes on YA SFF

Years ago I attended some good panels on YA science fiction and fantasy writing. I thought I would share the links that I posted on another site. YA Books This includes a discussion of levels of sex and violence. It also discusses those in terms of American versus European publishers/audiences. YA Books 2 “We get

Finding an Agent

Many years ago I attended a conference presentation on Agent Hunting. Though I do not have an agent (and I haven’t looked for one yet), if you are interested in children’s literature, attending SCBWI conferences–regional or national–would be a good place to start.


Revising is sometimes required for writing. The story may need more than a simple grammar fix. Sometimes whole sections or whole books need to be re-written. Mitali Perkins mentioned at Austin’s SCBWI that she will often re-write an entire book multiple times, using different points of view.  


Write down lists of interesting words. Organize them by type. Scan them for ideas. Verbs: conjure abjure badger banter bludgeon dangle dabble divine fidget heckle impugn impute jostle lament loathe muddle occupy Adjectives: wretched wobbly woozy wiggly vapid venerated upbeat unkempt urban tragic thrifty thunderous teeming sweltering svelte sturdy soggy snarling


Editing is usually done line by line or by words. It includes grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Most of us cannot see the errors in our own writing, because we know what should be there. Because we know what should be there, we fill it in. That means most of us will need someone else to

Keep Lists

Ray Bradbury would keep lists of nouns. When he needed ideas, he would scan his list. The verb he used to refer to creating his lists was “conjure.” He conjured his nouns. What nouns could go on a list? robot savannah Winnipeg marsh elephant Thursday princess envelope hospital treasure sandwich calendar building distance medicine umbrella