Monday, February 28, 2011

Novel Retreat

1--you have always wanted to write a novel for the Middle-Grade or YA market, but have not carved out the time to get it done AND / OR
2--you have a draft of a novel written, but are looking for ideas and strategies to revise and strengthen it and a committed group of like-minded writers to help you with the process AND / OR
3--you would like the chance to meet with two different agents to pitch your novel and gain critical feedback regarding this W-I-P in particular and the children’s market, in general,

you are the perfect candidate for A Novel Journey: A Novel Retreat Series in 3 Acts.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at

And if this series of retreats is not right for you, but you know someone who may be interested, please feel free to forward the information to them.

Happy writing! Happy traveling!

Nancy (aka N. L. Sharp)

If this applies to any of you out there, I encourage you to learn more. Nancy is wonderful, and this would be an incredible experience. I wish I could attend!

Rhythm & Rhyme

Do any of you write in rhyme? I am working on final edits on a PB I have and need some work on the rhythm and rhyme. I've received some wonderful articles from Margot Finke and have all of her books to read and study; however, I also wanted to see if there are other helpful books/articles/websites out there I should explore. If you have something to share, please do. I'd be most grateful to you for helping BEDTIME KISSES see the light of day on a book store shelf one day.

Thanks and happy writing!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Isn't this the truth? I read this recently and added it to my list of meaningful quotes posted near my computer work space.

I hadn't before really thought of it this simplistically, but, as writers, it is so true. Knowing what we want to write isn't enough; we must actually write. Wanting to write isn't enough; we must actually write. Very well said!

Let's write, shall we?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! On this start of a new writing week, I wanted to share some words of inspiration. It is sometimes daunting to look at what needs to be accomplished and the time constraints in which to complete said tasks. I often find comfort in the words of others and wanted to offer a few I find helpful in gaining the perspective and balance required in life.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis

“All great achievements require time.”
Maya Angelou

“We write to taste life twice.”
Anais Nin

“Never give in and never give up.”
Hubert H. Humphrey

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Dr. Seuss

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Highlights Workshops

I received this information in an email recently and wanted to pass it along for any of you who may not have seen it. I've never been but understand that Highlights workshops are well worth the time and money invested. I hope to get there one day.

This spring, the Highlights Foundation has three exciting new workshops to help you meet your writing goals. Our faculty members are children's literature professionals. They have been where you are now, and they know just what it takes to get your writing off the computer and into the hands of eager young readers. Take a look at the first-time offerings below and see our other 2011 workshops at

Learn to Self-Edit and Revise
Harold Underdown, longtime editor and the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, will introduce writers to proven techniques for self-editing and for revising with the help of others, from checklists to reader response theory to critique groups. Through lectures, hands-on work, and model critique group sessions, participants will gain objectivity, learn to give more focused responses to manuscripts, discover a variety of techniques for self-editing, and explore big-picture revision down to copy-editing. How to Revise on Your Own and with Others (March 10-13, 2011) is limited to twelve participants.

Intensify Your Middle-Grade Novel
Shape and intensify your novel in progress through group critiques, targeted writing exercises, and consultation with novelist and editor Rich Wallace. Rich is known for his award-winning novels for young adults; but much of his recent work has been for this younger age group, including his novels Sports Camp and War and Watermelon, and his two series, The Winning Season and Kickers. This exciting new workshop will focus on developing age-appropriate (and realistic) dialogue, internal monologue, action, and the all-important narrative voice. Writing Novels for Middle-Graders (April 7-10, 2011) is limited to twelve participants.

Write for the Ear and the Eye
Short works, whether picture books, short stories, easy readers, chapters, or poems, require the ability to jettison the verbal baggage that can bog down a story. Children's writer Juanita Havill and writer/editor Susan Pearson will show you how to write with precision and economy and how to revise with ear and eye. You'll analyze exemplary "short" works for children and young adults, learn how to create taut plots and to link episodic chapters by means of an overarching plotline, and analyze and put into practice techniques for self-editing. Time to Be Brief: Taking the Time to Write Concisely (May 19-22, 2011) is limited to twelve participants.

The Highlights Foundation keeps workshops small so you get the individual attention your writing deserves. To apply and secure your spot, or for more information, contact Jo Lloyd at 570-253-1192, e-mail, or request an application online.

Highlights Foundation Founders Workshops take place near Honesdale, Pennsylvania. You'll stay in your own cozy cabin, surrounded by 1,300 wooded acres and hiking trails. Workshop fee includes individual cabins; all meals (provided by a top-notch chef); airport pickup service, if needed; and an intimate teaching setting at the homeplace of the Founders of Highlights for Children.

Please feel free to share this e-mail with others who might have an interest or to include the information in blog posts or through other social networking forums.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Character Chart

It has been some time since I've taken the opportunity to explore sites I've book marked. Today, I popped into Verla Kay's Website for Children's Writers and Illustrators. I found an extremely in depth character chart that Verla Kay has posted as something that worked for her. I'll share it here below, but please take the time to go explore Verla Kay's website if you have not. There is a tremendous amount of information and knowledge to be gained.

A Character Chart for you ...

Verla Kay has designed a character chart that "worked for her." Here it is. She hopes it works as well for you as it did for her.

Character's name _______________________ Sex _________ Age_______
The date the story starts _______________________________________________________
Importance of the date _______________________________________________________
Birthdate of character _______________________________________________________
Physical appearance _______________________________________________________
Hair _______________________________________________________
Eyes _______________________________________________________
Teeth _______________________________________________________
Facial features _______________________________________________________
Body type _______________________________________________________
Flaws/assets _______________________________________________________
Mannerisms _______________________________________________________
Posture _______________________________________________________
Speech _______________________________________________________
Movements _______________________________________________________
Habits _______________________________________________________
Personality _______________________________________________________
Basic attitude _______________________________________________________
Self-image _______________________________________________________
Yearnings-dreams _______________________________________________________
Fears-apprehensions _______________________________________________________
Code of ethics _______________________________________________________
Sense of humor _______________________________________________________
Special talents-skills _______________________________________________________
Hobbies _______________________________________________________
Likes _______________________________________________________
Dislikes _______________________________________________________
Favorite things _______________________________________________________
Colors _______________________________________________________
Music _______________________________________________________
Clothes _______________________________________________________
People _______________________________________________________
Books _______________________________________________________
Art _______________________________________________________
Foods _______________________________________________________
Places _______________________________________________________
Movies _______________________________________________________
TV programs _______________________________________________________
Sports _______________________________________________________
Activities _______________________________________________________
Medical History _______________________________________________________
Blood type _______________________________________________________
Overall condition of health _______________________________________________________
Past injuries-illnesses _______________________________________________________
Mental health status _______________________________________________________
General history _______________________________________________________
Education _______________________________________________________
Religion _______________________________________________________
Family _______________________________________________________
Financial situation _______________________________________________________
Profession/grade _______________________________________________________
Marital status _______________________________________________________
Other relationships _______________________________________________________
Surroundings _______________________________________________________
Environmen _______________________________________________________
Positive traits _______________________________________________________
Negative traits _______________________________________________________
Important events/dates in character's history:
Day: _________ Date:_________ Event: _________ (repeat as many times as necessary...)

What an in depth sketch, Verla Kay. My hat is off to you!

You can find Verla Kay at