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Welcome Friends! Here is a place for teachers, parents, librarians and writers to learn what's going on in the world of book author Karma Wilson.

To aspiring writers..

I’ve had some emails from new writers looking for advice to get started.  I want to give you a little insight into the writing world.

The Need to Read

First of all, read, read, read.  Read the kind of books you want to write (classics and contemporary).  If  you want to write picture books, read them.  If you want to write midgrade novels, read them.  If you want to write nonfiction biographies–well you know I’m saying. Also, read how-to books and articles about writing.  Read books like the Writer’s Market Guide and Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market Guide (CWIM).  Fill your mind with all things relevent to the genre you want to write about. 

You Rule!

Once you are quite certain you have a handle on the market you need to ask yourself where YOU can fit in that market.  For three years I wrote “by the rules”.  All the writer guidelines clearly stated, “NO rhyme and NO talking animals!”  I wrote what I thought the editors wanted to see and I was rejected because of it.  You see, I was writing by the rules but the rules didn’t mesh with my natural talents. 

 Editors say “no rhyme” and “no talking animals”– but that’s because they get thousands upon thousands of poorly written rhyme and talking animal books.  I’ve loved rhyming poetry my whole life.  I’m a musical person by nature.  Avoiding rhyme was avoiding a very intuitive medium for my writing.  The books I most loved reading to my own children were written in rhyme. 

 To be truthful I became so discouraged I was about to quit the grandiose dream of being a writer. In my despseration I finally allowed myself to write a rhyming book about a talking animal.  Suddenly the joy I felt for the writing process sky-rocketed!  I was in my element.  And to my complete and utter amazement that book landed me an agent (who had rejected me once) and a book contract.

Am I telling you to sit down and write a book called, “Pat the Cat”?  Not necessarily.  Rhyme and talking animals may not come naturally to you.  My point is this: study the rules and understand the reasons for them.  If the rules are twisting your words and ideas up into something you aren’t comfortable writing, figure out how to part company with those rules. But IF you choose to break rules, break them well, and never make apologies for it.

I found my “niche”.  Every writer has strengths and weaknesses.  Start from your strongest point and from there hone your skills in other directions.  I’ve written over 40 books for children, most in rhyme.  I moved from rhyming picture books to prose picture books to poetry collections and now I am branching out into the world of novels.  When I say find your “niche” I don’t mean lock yourself there forever–but it’s always a good starting point.  So ask yourself–what feels good for you to write?

STAY TUNED: NEXT INSTALLMENT–Agents, submitting, writing organizations, critiques….