Advice, interviews, informative links–The focus is on writing:

“Embrace the magic. Turn that blinking cursor into a sentence, then a paragraph, then a page, and a chapter. Take it one step at a time, but begin today. You’ve been chosen to tell this story. It’s your destiny. It’s magic.” – Beck McDowell

Posted 5-5-23

Let your verbs do the lifting. Check out Story Empire Blog for this super advice:

Story Verbing Part 2

Posted 12-02-20

First Page Critiques abound at KILL ZONE ~ Insider Perspectives From Top Thriller and Mystery Writers – you can send yours for critique or read other submissions – wonderful insights!

Posted 12-01-20

Whew! Just when I need it most, Writers In The Storm’s John Peragine  shares his 7 Plot Structures for Pantsers. Enjoy!

Posted 05-13-20

MYTHCREANTS shares 5 Common Dialogue Mistakes and How to Fix Them. They have scores of advice. Check them out!

Posted 05-04-20

10 Ways to Proof-read your own Writing – Louise Harnby show us how – Fabulous!

Posted 02-17-2020

Here’s a shout out to Shelby, a writer from the HPL Young Writers Club led by Michele Wilson, who suggests adding the Creative Writing Glossary to your writer’s toolbox. Thank you Shelby! Write On!

Updated 12-02-20

Show, Don’t Tell = Use Body Language … Thanks, Dan Alatorre!

Updated 12-02-20

Over at Well-Storied, Kristen Kieffer does a ‘darn’ good job of helping you bring your stories to life. Here’s a subject that’s caught my attention today:
The Four Main Types of Epic Antagonists

Posted 10-17-17

The Thesaurus ladies have done it again. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have released their newest bookThe Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.

Updated 12-02-20

Well known for their Thesaurus Collection, the amazing  WRITERS HELPING WRITERS team, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, has outdone themselves with the initiation of ONE STOP FOR WRITERS. It is THE place to go to hone your craft and raise your writing to the next level – “a powerhouse online library [], supplying writers with inspiration, education and unique description resources”. Both sites are chock full of tools for your toolbox , workshops, resource material and more.  Their newest contribution to the thesaurus collection – Urban and Rural Settings – is now available!

Updated 12-02-20

At last – Mignon Fogarty at Grammar Girl clarifies  LAY vs. LIE

Updated 12-02-20

Looking for lists of agents that accept kid lit? Publishers that accept unagented submissions? Check out the Kidlit 411 Submissions resource page.

Updated 12-02-20

Preditors & Editors  – another resource for “the serious writer, composer, game designer, or artist to consult for information, regardless of genre.”

Updated 12-02-20

KidLit411 One website with all your favorite Children’s Literature sources in one place – interviews, contests; conferences, workshops and retreats; tips on writing picture books, MG, YA; industry news, etc…THANK YOU to SYLVIA LIU and  ELAINE KIELY KEARNS  for putting it all together.

Updated 12-02-20

The dreaded query letter – YA Author and Folio Jr. Agent John M. Cusick shares his “Pretty Much Foolproof, Never-Fail, Silver-Bullet Query Opening”

lady-pancake-cover-image-2Updated 12-02-20

Check out Josh Funk’s Guide to Writing Picture Books (in 12 easy steps) as a one stop spot to get you started or as a refresher for renewed focus. And Congratulations to Josh on his debut of “Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast” on 1 September 2015 . YAY!

Updated 12-02-20

Have you ever, ever thought Why can’t I write like Whoever-theheck-isaNYTBestseller? Before you bury yourself in a hole, check out editor Emma D. Dryden’s thoughts on comparing ourselves to others.


Kathleen Temean put together a 2014 list of helpful articles that will knock your socks off and send you dancing barefoot down the street. Just don’t wander too far because you’ll want to check them out. I’m posting it here just so I’ll have it handy.

Updated 12-02-20

Check this gem out: Worksheets for Writers  Jami Gold shares a bazillion of them. Well, maybe only 40…

Updated 12-02-20

Check out Darcy Pattison’s website for a multitude of advice, including  29 Plot Templates

Ahhhhhh…The Dreaded Synopsis, compliments of QueryTracker.netBlog

Updated 12-02-20

You’ve just got to love her as much as I do. Once again, Kathleen Temean’s got more to share…Ten Tips to Juice Up Your Protagonist

Updated 12-02-20

Do you aspire to become a successfully published children’s book author or children’s book illustrator?  The Children’s Book Academy  Has what you need.

Updated 12-02-20

Character development – Thank you Ingrid Sundberg for posing the Questions to ask your characters with regard to defining your story and plot.

Updated 12-02-20

Are you writing a children’s book? For one website, with all of your favorite sources in one place see KidLit 411 – It’s amazing!

Updated 12-02-20

I love Kathleen Temean! Reference Links To Help With QUERY LETTER WRITING – all in one place. Thanks Kathy!

Updated 12-02-20

Kathleen Temean does it again – Tips on Synopsis and the Synopsis Checklist

Updated 12-02-20

To help you avoid common mistakes made when formatting and submitting your manuscript, check out Kathleen Temean’s blog Writing and Illustrating where she shares Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages: A Writers Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile

Updated 12-02-20

A long list of Perfect Picture Books, put together by Susanna Leonard Hill

Posted 11-18-2013

FREELANCING price information, courtesy of Kathleen Temean…thanks Kathy!

Updated 12-02-20

10 ideas that will SMASH Writer’s Block to smithereens compliments of Tara Lazar and Adam Lehrhaupt. I like number eight.

Updated 12-02-20

Cynsations guest post by Kelly Bennett on That Last Revision: Ruthless Bites shares “advice from the late Tony Hillerman, author of 29 books, including the award-winning Shape Shifter series featuring Navajo Tribal police Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. [Hillerman] credited taking Ruthless Bites with elevating him from mid-list author (“B List” he called it) to best-selling author.”  What’s a Ruthless Bite?

  • Cut one word from each sentence.
  • Cut one sentence from each paragraph.
  • Cut one paragraph from each page.

Updated 12-02-20

Compliments of the Query Tracker : Need to work on your pitch?  The Elevator Pitch  or The Dreaded Pitch: What to Include…

Updated 12-02-20

If you are an illustrator for hire or looking for one especially for a self-published book, illustrator/author Elizabeth O. Dulema has wise advice.

Updated 12-02-20

“It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when the luck comes you are ready.” – Ernest Hemingway

Updated 12-02-20

Cover of

Cover of The Tiger Rising

I just LOVE Kate DiCamillo even more now, especially after reading this line in an interview with Elizabeth White for Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Cynsations about Kate’s novel THE TIGER RISING:

“…I never know exactly what I’m doing…The story is always smarter than I am.”

Kate’s overall advice?

“…metaphors and the meaning will rise up naturally if you work to write your heart.”

Updated 12-02-20

Classic Picture Book Structure with children’s book author Tammi Sauer

The Grimm Way – CONFLICT – the beating heart of a story – Join Author Mina Witteman in an exercise on raising the stakes – pushing your characters to the brink. This  is guaranteed to push you to your writing limits and beyond.

Updated 12-02-20

Wonderful advice for any writer in any genre: Three Ways Cause and Effect Can Build Your Story by Martina Boone at Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing

Updated 12-02-20

Nathan Bransford has a wonderful blog filled with helpful tips such as:How to Write a Synopsis and How to Write a Query Letter or even a Novel

Revision Tip of the Day: 

Keep redundancies in mind – He rapidly hurled – HURLING is already rapid.

Updated 12-02-20

Harold Underdown has updated “Who’s Moving Where? News and Staff Changes at Children’s Book Publishers.”

Updated 12-02-20

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” –Sylvia Plath

And here is a bit of cannon fodder to help win the battle, at least for today:

How to Conquer Self-Doubt and Just Write + 4 Reasons to Appreciate Your Self-Doubts

5 Responses to THE WRITE STUFF

  1. Suzanne Cleary says:

    Congratulations, Donna! I’m so proud of you for stepping out there and following your dream! Perhaps this will be the “butt kick from behind” that gets me going with my own writing and doing seminars. I’ve started jotting down ideas for short stories about my/our travel experiences. So–keep the inspiration coming! This arrived just as I needed it. Love you–and hope we can reconnect in CA the next time we’re there (or here when you head our way–would be great to see you both). Love, Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Anne-Marie Charest says:

    Yahooooooo!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited and am trilled at the idea that I get to hear from one of the mst funniest, yet profound, women I know. As Suzan stated, yes this is a kick in the but for all of us. And I love it. Looking forward to joining you on your journey. Love you. Sunna

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Grace Rogers says:

    Donna, Great job. Clearly your writer’s talents are shining through. Love your adventuresome range. Grace

    Liked by 2 people

  4. joshitok2011 says:

    Hello Donna,
    Discovered your Aladdin’s Cave whilst trawling through LinkedIn to write a reference for a former student! Hope all is well with you and the family. All good at this end of the lake in Starnberg and at MIS. Tanzania beckons yet again in the summer.
    Take care,

    Liked by 2 people

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