The Perplexing Process of Writing

So you’ve gotten an understanding of the actual craft of writing, but where to from here? I don’t know about you, but I question everything. So then I have to search for answers.

How do you develop your ideas? How do write your novel? How do you get your head around book genres, categories of children’s books, formats and word counts? I don’t know about you, but it can be a perplexing, puzzling and confusing time. (Yeah! I know I just said the same thing three times, but that is how bad it can get).

Writing Picture Books is Easy—right?

I look at well-known authors who have been writing for years and think, well, they must now find writing each book easy. I was so relieved to find that even prolific authors still find it hard to write sometimes. Some stories are easy to write, others reveal themselves oh—so—ever—sl-o-o-o-o-ow-ly. Personally, I found that this was great to hear (It made me relax and not beat myself up thinking I have to churn out story after story). I have written stories that I have been tweaking and rewriting for at least three years—knowing that there is a story in there that is wanting to be revealed. Others I wrote rather quickly and just needed a little tweaking—in comparison, that is.

I love this post about the development of ‘Where is the Green Sheep?’ by Mem Fox.


Now there is fun wrapped in a package. How do you create a great plot that makes the reader wanting to keep turning the page, barely waiting until they have finished the page that they are on before flicking quickly to the next?

Berthe Amoss has written an in depth article on Crafting an Effective Plot for Children’s Books.

How to Write a Novel

I usually write picture books. But, recently I have started on my first novel. The characters and the story have been floating around in my head for years. I’d written down the odd scene or two, but that was it. When I decided to actually sit down and begin, I had no idea where to start. So here a couple of blog posts that have helped me along the way.

Jen Storer has given some interesting insights in her article, How to Write a Novel, Ahem.

Personally, I take the Swedish Chef approach to novel writing. How about you?

Jennifer Penn at the Creative Penn has a couple of great articles.
Outlining a novel.
On writing the first draft.

I haven’t tried this myself. The Snowflake Method. Let me know how you go.

The Writer’s Digest always is a great resource. Here is an article on what to avoid in writing your novel: 7 Things that Will Doom Your Novel.

How to Write a Picture Book

Heather Gallagher has written a great post about writing a picture book in her blog post, ‘Secret Seven Picture Book Essentials’.

Some great tips from Nigel Gray in his post, ‘Writing Children’s Books Successfully’.

20 Do’s and Don’ts on Writing Picture Books‘ by Mem Fox.

Understanding Book Genres

Still trying to wrap your head around children’s book genres? Then check out this post by Laura Backes, Publisher, Children’s Book Insider, on ‘Understanding Children’s Book Genre‘.

Understanding Book Formats and Word Counts

Here is an in-depth article by Hilari Bell, Understanding Children’s Book Categories’. Hilari lifts the lid on children’s book categories from Board Books to New Adult, and has defined those age related categories, and she talks about the differences in writing for various age levels. To make a lot of information simpler to track, she has divided each age level into six areas: length, protagonist, plot, character arc, language and theme.

The Right Format

You know the story that I mentioned earlier, the one that I have been tweaking and rewriting for the last three years? Well, I read a post by Jen Storer, ‘Right Story. Wrong Format’, that changed everything. Within a couple of weeks, the story was finally written. I love it and am excited about it—and the kids at a school that I visited, loved it too.

So that’s it. I hope that you will find these links helpful and you are no longer sitting staring at the keyboard perplexed. And, as always, happy writing.

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