Knowledge Base » Advice From the Pros

 

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Ask Us Anything Webinar – April 24, 2019

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Ask Us Anything Webinar – February 9, 2017

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Ask Us Anything Webinar – December 20, 2016

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Building Your Brand as a Writer

Every well-known author has a “brand”. Think of Dr. Seuss, J.K. Rowling, Judy Blume, John Green. When you see their names and their books, you get a sense of what’s important to them and how they see the world.

You may have done our own branding, composing a banner for your blog

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Perfect Your Pacing

 

As you’re building your plot or moving bits of information around in a nonfiction book, here are some tips to keep your readers glued to the page.

 

Use Pacing to Your Advantage

 

Books that have a very even tone start to finish tend to lull the reader

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Top Ten Grammar Bloopers

We’ve all seen blooper shows on television. Family bloopers. Actors’ bloopers. Talk show bloopers. But have you ever seen a grammar blooper show? Probably not. Well, I can’t provide you with an actual show on grammar bloopers, but I can give you my top ten.

You may ask why I

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Understanding Copyright and Fair Use

 

COPYRIGHT

 

Did you know that you have invoked a copyright as soon as you write something—putting it on paper or other media? For many years I didn’t understand this concept. I thought I needed to take out a copyright on each short story, article, or book I wrote.

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Using Connectives to Make Your Prose Flow

Do you ever wonder how to use connective words? I do. I am constantly second-guessing myself on the proper use of such words as “than,” “as,” “nevertheless,” “neither,” “either,” etc.

Like transitions, connectives serve as a bridge, connecting anything from a word, a clause, a sentence, or a paragraph with

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Mastering the Vital Art of Transitions

I grew up in the Washington, DC/Maryland area. In navigating your way through the city and its many suburbs, you often need to cross over rivers, the Anacostia, the Potomac, to name just a few. Bridges provide the means for you to cross the rivers.

Bridges also provide the means

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Nailing Down the Interview

Most writers at one time or another will conduct an interview to learn more about a career, a person, a historical event, etc. Interviewing does not come naturally to many individuals, especially those writers who tend to be introverted (like me). But there are skills we can learn to make

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To Build a Career, Give ‘Em What They Want

Nordstroms is a department store with a well-deserved reputation for providing not only quality goods but also quality service. Customer loyalty to the store is legendary. Associates are schooled in “the care and feeding” of customers.

 

Okay. You get it. Nordstroms is a great store. (And no, I’m not

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Start with One Sentence

Practically speaking, there’s nothing more difficult than staring at an empty computer screen, willing yourself to be creative. You may be stuck trying to find the perfect place to start your story. Or you’re contemplating the entire story arc—an intimidating process at best. From start to finish, your book must

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Perfect Your Writing Style

Fashionistas talk a lot about style. So do writers. Interestingly, both groups use the word in much the same manner. Style, in fashion and in writing, is unique to the individual and revealed in the details.

I will never be a fashionista, so I won’t be instructing you in that.

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Get Targeted Feedback Through Response Sheets

Writers need feedback. Unfortunately, feedback can be hard to come by. What to do?

Your first reader should, of course, be yourself. After you’ve read through the manuscript and revised to the best of your ability, find several other readers to offer critiques. These first readers are often referred to

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A New Classic Easy Reader: Penny and Her Doll

 

 

When you blog about books, the publishers usually send you the books several months before the book is available to the public.

This is because print magazines have a long lead time. It’s a matter of timing. Publishers want reviewers to have enough time to read their books

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Using Public Domain Stories

Kids often ask me how I was able to “copy” The Night Before Christmas and not get in trouble.

“It’s in the public domain,” I say, “so I don’t need permission.”

What does public domain mean? Material – such as stories, songs and movies – that is unprotected by intellectual

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Make Friends with Your Setting

You’ve done your character sketches. Maybe you’ve even interviewed your characters, had them write letters to you, and pinned pictures of them on your Pinterest page. You’ve written a detailed synopsis, done a chapter-by-chapter outline. You’ve identified your story’s theme. You’re all set to start writing. Right? Wrong.

What about

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Opening Lines: Make Yours Count

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, if the was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of

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VIDEO – How to Write Compelling Dialogue, Part 2

In Part Two of her dialogue tutorial, writing coach Teresa Funke covers the most common dialogue challenges, including using slang and cussing, dialect and accents, inserting humor into the conversation, and linking the dialogue with the character’s movements.

 

 

 

To download a pdf transcript of this video, or to learn

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How to Use Fiction Techniques in Nonfiction

by Sue Bradford Edwards

 

To sell your nonfiction, you have to hook your reader, including your first reader – an editor or agent.  When I write narrative nonfiction, I grab my reader using the same techniques used by fiction writers.  I create a story full of interesting characters who

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Do You Have to Write From Beginning to End?

Many writers believe they have to begin with “Once upon a time” and finish with “The End.” In between, every word must be written exactly in the order that it will be read. There is little flexibility in this approach – and it’s difficult to continue the entire way through

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Understanding Cause & Effect

When we write fiction, we see the story in our mind long before it’s down on paper. We know why our characters are acting the way they do because we are familiar with their past and in control of their future. We understand the significance of every event in the

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Using Slang in Children’s Books

If someone told you to “fade”, would you ignore them or guard your wallet? The answer depends not just on who is doing the talking, but when. Joe College in the early 1930’s use the term to mean “to leave”; a 1940’s zoot-suiter “faded” by covering a bet; it meant

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How to Attend the Bologna Book Fair as a Writer

by Allison Pomenta

Editor’s note: Attending an international book fair is a terrific way to see what’s happening in publishing on a global scale, and also allows indie authors an opportunity to make connections with foreign publishers who might want to publish their books. Plus, it’s a tax-deductible trip! But

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CBI Insider Exclusive Video: Emma Dryden on the 5 Biggest Pitfalls That Kill Children’s Writing Careers

insider bonus

When Laura sat down with acclaimed children’s book editor Emma Dryden for her writeforkids interview, she saved something very special just for our Insiders. In this CBI Clubhouse-only video, Emma describes the 5 things that can kill your career before it even gets rolling.  This is really powerful advice

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Write What You Know — Research What You Don’t!

From the first time I began reading about being a writer and attending a writer’s group, I heard that I should `write what you know.’ It made sense, and for a long time, I limited myself to personal experience writing, interviews, or easy fiction where I `knew’ all about the

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