Bingo Book # 33

Bingo Book #33 is The ABCs of Writing for Children: 114 Children’s Authors and Illustrators Talk About the Art, Business, the Craft & the Life of Writing for Children’s Literature, edited by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff. This book is a great resource to pick up and flip through when you are in need of inspiration. It is filled with quotes and anecdotes on topics ranging from writer’s block, rejection, voice, suspense, poetry, marketing, fan mail, censorship–just about any topic you could think of is covered here. Mixed in with the sections of quotes are interviews with some of our industry’s biggest names like Sid Fleischman, Richard Peck, Chris Crutcher, Jane Yolen, and (one of my childhood favorites) Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

Here’s just a handful of what you can find:

“The worst advice starts with ‘You must. . . ‘ For example, ‘You must write everyday. You must start with a complete outline. You must know your characters intimately before putting pen to paper.’ If I had to do each of these, I would never have written a word of fiction.”

–Marisa Montes (in the Worst Advice Received section)

“I make a three ring binder for my research. I read through it over and over again so it becomes a part of me. I probably use ten percent or less of what I find, but it’s the other ninety persent that makes me secure in place and time.”

–Karen Cushman (in the Research section)

“I use photographs. Any artists who say they don’t are lying! It’s a way of capturing the essence of someone. Something as simple as how your skin wrinkles over your knuckles. It helps to have the model. Generally, my stories are reality-based. But sometimes I make up a person. Then that person has to look the same in every illustration.” 

–Patricia Polacco (in the For Art’s Sake section)

7 Responses to “Bingo Book # 33”

  1. Annette

    I need one more cover to get a BINGO! Wow, I wish I could get it 🙂 It makes me sooo excited!

  2. Janet Johnson

    Sounds like a great book! I do like the "worst advice" sample you gave. I hate "you must" advice.

    And sigh, I'm so far from bingo.

  3. Jenn (From the Mixed-Up Files)

    Nancy and Yan, I just checked your cards and yes you do have Bingo! Congrats!! I'll be sending you both emails shortly.

    And Alex, I hope you like the book. I like it especially for those moments when I'm in a writing funk and I'm wanting some inspiration, but don't want to distract myself from writing for TOO long.

    Janet, I agree with you on the "you must" advice. The one she listed especially about "you must write every day" is especially irksome to me. I complete understand the advice and think it's great for the people who CAN do that, but for many people life just gets too complicated sometimes. With advice like that, I end up feeling guilty for what I haven't done, instead of accepting the limitations of my day and appreciating other things the day had to offer.