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Happy Labor Day!

I hope everyone had a restful, creative, and productive summer. I can’t wait for what this fall will bring.

If you are hoping to jump start some picture book writing in the second half of 2012, register for my Writer’s Digest Picture Book Craft Intensive webinar this Thursday, September 6th, at 1 p.m. Eastern. As usual, you don’t need to be available that specific date and time, but you do need to register for the live webinar if you want the benefits of being a student–all your questions answered, the content of the lecture, and a critique of your PB manuscript (up to 1,000 words)Β  from me. A recording of the webinar will be emailed to you the week after, and critiques will be returned within 90 days. Only live webinar students get these perks, so register here.

I also have a MG and YA Craft Intensive webinar coming up Thursday, October 25th, at 1 p.m. Eastern. That’s for all of your teen novelists out there, and it comes with the benefits of the lecture, the Q&A, and a writing sample critique as well. This should dovetail nicely with the publication of my book, WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT, which puts this November. Woohoo! Register for that webinar here. Those are my last webinars for 2012, and I look forward to teaching them. If you haven’t taken one yet, this is a great opportunity. Since I’m doing both a PB one and a MG/YA, you can learn the ropes no matter what kidlit audience you’re targeting.

What else, what else, what else? Do you have any questions burning a hole in your minds? Ask away in the comments and I’ll use them to inspire posts in the next few months. Thank you so much, as always, for reading the blog!


  1. Gwen’s avatar

    I got some feedback from the Big Sur Writer’s Conference that my voice was inconsistent. One minute the manuscript would filled with personality, the next it would fall flat. Do you have an tips on how to make it consistent without being repetitive?

    Wish I could attend the webinar, but alas, I have class. πŸ™


  2. Kirstin’s avatar

    Hi, I have a random question. I was wondering about setting up email accounts. I have a personal one (family, friends). Should I make a “writing” email separate ? (i.e have that ONE email devoted to exchanges with CP’s, new writing friends, bloggers, asking for advice, submitting, commenting on others blogs with that email, etc)…and should that email account be in my full name or something else like “writingstories@gmail ” etc.
    And do you recommend Gmail accounts as best?

    Thanks. Sorry if these seem like ridiculous questions. But they are oddly bothering me πŸ™‚

  3. rachel’s avatar

    Hi, I have a stupid question about the webinar. I just have a regular old ASPIRE I think. That’s okay?
    And also, I am unsure if I would fit with that…I’m really only working on what I consider to be my first “real” novel ever….I should have it revised 3x through by the time the webinar comes up (hopefully with one read by a CP)…but again, it’s only new and not even something that I’m certain I’d want to query, it’s just a WIP that I’m committing to now for growth and experiment.
    BUT, the webinar sounds so tempting. But, if I’m so new, I wouldn’t want to submit something and make a poor impression of myself (jumping too soon, and just being way too novice for this). I’d be embarrassed to have a great agent read material that maybe isn’t up to par or in the realm of ready…Thoughts?

  4. Tania Lieman’s avatar

    Hello Mary,
    I have questions about the many ways of foreshadowing. I would love to hear your thoughts on effective use and tips for this technique. And also subtext. These are subtle elements that really ratchet up the reader engagement and I’m grappling with them now as I layer and layer. Thanks for your wonderful posts.

    best, Tania

  5. Mary’s avatar

    Rachel — Your laptop should be fine. And if anything happens that interrupts you listening to the webinar live, you’ll always get the recording later and listen to that. The webinar critiques could be a chance to catch my eye but I view them first and foremost as an educational opportunity. Brand new writers AND published writers have both taken my webinars and I try to give everyone a handful of pieces of advice that they can run with, not just on the page in front of us, but on the rest of their work, too. Don’t be intimidated. Everyone starts somewhere!

  6. Julie Daines’s avatar

    I know i’ve said this before, but if anyone out there is on fence about taking Mary’s YA and MG webinar, do it! She covers a lot of topics that frequently get overlooked. And because it is a craft webinar, she gives great advice on how to take your writing to the next level.

    I highly recommend this webinar to anyone who writes for MG or YA.

  7. rachel’s avatar

    Hmm. I think I’ll go with gmail since you recommended it, but I am completely a simple person and I not really tech savvy, so email to me is write and send πŸ™‚
    I think I will have 2 gmail accounts:
    1) personal for family and friend acquaintances
    2) for writing.

    So, you think the writing one should have a “writerly” tag?
    For example I could just use my full name. Let’s say I’m Alex Keaton (Family ties memory here).
    Would you recommend for the “writing” email:
    – alex.p.keaton@gmail
    – alexkeatonwriting
    – alexkeatonwrites
    – alexkeatonwords

    I think the use of the term “writer” or “writing” or “writes” or “words” or “novels” makes me feel almost embarrassed or like a fraud. I still feel SO new to this world that I feel like I don’t “fit in” with any one quite yet. Like I need to get a lot more writing + learning under my belt. I don’t want to just “say it and dream it” but actually be it and do it.

    BUT, maybe I should just “own” it and stick that “writes” tag onto my name and be confident about it. I might just be a baby fish in the pond, but I’m trying I guess πŸ™‚
    I have a long journey ahead before I get into query phase. But this is a good idea because I’d like to make contacts with writers in order to find betas and CP’s.

    Is it okay to use the “writing email” address to plug into all the blogs? (like your blog and other blogs that I read and comment on , or is that a spam risk to me?). I want the email to be professional!

    Sorry for rambling. Also, this is going to sound awful, but this name I give here is a pseudo name (blush) simply because I thought I might say something foolish in front of an agent/anyone in the writing world.

    But that’s that. Time for some confidence. I will go sort out those 2 separate emails. One minor thing done!

    I’m also really considering your webinar. Money is extremely tight right now, and I’m cut back in a lot of ways as is, but it seems so luring. My only worry is that everyone says your first real piece is probably not a good thing to present to someone for FB, even if it constructive. And even if I do revise it 2x through. I could on the other hand just let this sit and get FB from CP’s (I mean I don’t even have CP”s right now, I’m still in first draft, first “real” novel mode). Then wait for a better financial and time spot when you have webinars in future. I’ll have to think about that.

    Another thing is that when I look at the stuff you like to receive as queries, my certain genre/material probaby isn’t even on your radar. But that’s okay with me because I’m just trying to soak up learning and FB that would be without doubt helpful.

    Okay, sorry for the long comment. And sorry for posting this on the wrong post…oops! Just realized that.

    (not) rachel πŸ™‚

  8. Sara Martin’s avatar

    Gwen–you can still take the webinar! I was in that situation for a Writer’s Digest webinar I took two years ago. After it runs live, you’ll have access to the recording of the webinar for a year. πŸ™‚

  9. rachel’s avatar

    Just to add: and maybe instead of “alexkeatonwritings” or “alexkeatonwrites” , I’ll just go with “alexwrites” …that seems professional enough I guess.

    Okay (thinking out loud here…i’m a slight perfecionist and something as simple as an email name can entertain me far too long).

  10. Kathleen’s avatar

    Hi Mary,

    I was wondering how much dialogue is appropriate in a picture book (i.e., what constitutes too little or too much)? Thank You!


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