What’s in it for me?

Here are a few basics I gleaned at Oklahoma SCBWI Conferences.

  • Set realistic writing goals. A paragraph a day is better than writing pages every 2 or 3 weeks.
  • Start with a hook.
  • Show don’t tell. Telling: Jimmy felt afraid. Showing: Jimmy’s hands shook and his hair stood on end.
  • Read the kind of books you want to write.
  • Put your story into a sentence stating the character and the conflict. ___________overcomes ________.
  • Point of View is driven by the story not the writer. You may need to rewrite your manuscript in different POV to see what is best.
  • Don’t use adverbs.
  • Use specific nouns. Use Pines not trees.
  • Use active verbs. Sang is stronger than was singing.
  • Be careful when writing in first person. Every word has to come from the character’s mouth and has to show the character’s personality.
  • Do not overuse figurative language such as alteration, similes and metaphors.
  • Voice is the spirit of the story. It is a combination of dialog narrative, characterization and writing style.
  • Plot out your story arc.
  • For picture books, make a picture book dummy to see pacing.
  • Word count for picture books should be under 300 words.
  • Leave room for the illustrator when writing picture books.

This is just the tip if the iceberg. If you are serious about writing for children, these conferences are worth your time and money.  For more details go to http://www.scbwi.org  and click on the Oklahoma region. 


Karen’s Chaos

Top Ten Myths About Writing Children’s Books

  1. Children’s books are easy to write.
  2. If I write a picture book, I have to illustrate it, too (or hire an illustrator).
  3. Children’s books have to rhyme.
  4. Since my kids/grandkids/class love my stories, they will make a great book.
  5. It’s really important to follow trends, and write about things like vampires and dystopias if you write for teens.
  6. Boys will only read “boy books” and girls will only read “girl books”.
  7. As soon as I sell my book, I can quit my day job.
  8. After my book is published, I’ll be sent on a book tour and be a guest on Ellen.
  9. Picture book characters should be talking animals, not children.
  10. I’ll never get published unless I have an agent.

—-Author Unknown


Good News!


My first every published book will be released Feb. 15th! It is a beginning chapter book called Camp Not Allowed for 2nd and 3rd graders. It is a light-hearted, summer fun story about gender equality with a Native American theme. Teachers and Media Specialists get 25% off the retail if they buy directly from the publisher at www.doodleandpeck.com. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon for $14.99 hard cover and $8.99 soft cover.

A Rookie Writer’s Aha Moment!

“To be a writer, you must be a reader,” Judy Blume

Use action prior to a quote to break up the stream of dialog tags.

Writing Resources:

  • Hooked by Les Edgerton
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King
  • Elements of Style
  • Blue Book of Grammar & Punctuation
  • Children’s Writer’s Word Book by Alijandra Mogilner
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook
  • The Magic Words by Cheryl B. Klein
  • Writer’s Digest Children’s Writer & Illustrator’s Market
  • Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents
  • Publisher’s Marketplace
  • Querytracker


Breaking News!

My first ever Book Launch will be at Another Chapter Bookstore in Owasso, Oklahoma on Saturday, Feb. 24th from 11:00 -2:00. It’s 12 minutes from the BA Expressway and 169 interchange.  Please join me and 2 fellow SCBWI Writers for books and coffee- it doesn’t get any better than this!



Thanks for your support…

All the SCBWI family who kept me encouraged over the years. A big shout out to my publisher, Marla Jones of Doodle and Peck, my illustrator, Dorothy Shaw, my critique partner who has read my pages for years, Linda Mai, and my friends Mary Clarkson and Ginger Reno who were my beta readers.

I will be eternally grateful for my mentor and our Oklahoma SCBWI founder, Anna Myers, for never giving up on me, but never being easy on me.

With God’s blessing, I will keep growing and improving as a writer and Camp Not Allowed will be the first of more to come.