Category Archives: MG & Kidlit

How to Start Your Synopsis: One Strategy

The dreaded Synopsis. Does the word fill you with shakes and send you skittering off to check other important things like what new funnies are in your Facebook feed, whose cat coughed up a hairball the size of Manhattan on … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Post, MG & Kidlit, Uncategorized | 34 Comments


Okay, so that title is a bit misleading. It would be incredibly hard for me to squeeze in  all the conference-y goodness that I experienced in Seattle this weekend. In fact, I suspect there will be a few posts in … Continue reading

Posted in Agents, SCBWI | 19 Comments

What’s your Canon of Literature?

I blogged a few weeks ago about Lin Oliver’s Forty Years of SCBWI Wisdom presentation at the Florida conference. I’ve been pondering some of her points, and one of them has really stuck with me: Develop Your Own Canon Of … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Reading, SCBWI | 28 Comments

Book Review: Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen

Now, normally, The Bookshelf Muse isn’t about reviewing books. But we ARE all about helping other writers, and when I heard that my friend Donna’s newest book was soon to be released, I begged her for a sneaky-peaky. And I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, MG & Kidlit | 15 Comments

Forty Years of SCBWI Wisdom

  I recently attended a Florida SCBWI conference in Miami, and holy cannoli, it was totally awesome. There were nuggets a-plenty to glean, but the coolest presentation, imo, was the one given by Lin Oliver, co-founder of the SCBWI. In … Continue reading

Posted in MG & Kidlit, SCBWI, Writer's Attitude, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 23 Comments

Face-to-Face Writing Groups

I tried a face-to-face writing group once. It consisted of a couple of very talented poets, an aspiring journalist, and a nice lady who was working on a family cookbook. All lovely people, but none of them seeking publication for … Continue reading

Posted in Critique Groups, SCBWI, Writing Groups | 46 Comments

How To Personalize a Query The Right Way

Recently I gave a talk about Agents to local SCBWI chapter members. One thing that we unfortunately didn’t get around to discussing was the whole concept of ‘personalizing queries.’ I’ve noticed this comes up at a few of the writing … Continue reading

Posted in Agents, Publishing and Self Publishing, SCBWI | 45 Comments

Something for my Fellow YAers…

It’s moments like these that I’m extremely grateful for the facelessness of a blog. Seeing me red-nosed and drippy-eyed, bundled in blankets and surrounded by a legion of soggy Kleenex is so not a Cosmo cover moment. Not by a … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Editing Tips, MG & Kidlit, Reading | 10 Comments

A Special Character Cliché: Parents

In some children/YA books, parents can be reduced to cardboard clichés in order to be seen ‘at the edges’ of a story without being in danger of taking it over. Why is this? Simply because to create a realistic environment, … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Cliches, MG & Kidlit | 18 Comments

Your Audience: Boys vs.Girls

Sparked by a thread over at Absolute Write, I thought it might be interesting to look at what hooks a boy reader vs. a girl reader in the Chapter Book/Middle Grade category. As a writer of what may be classified … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, MG & Kidlit, Reading | 8 Comments