Are your picture books missing that something extra that takes them from the ordinary to the extraordinary? Do your character- driven stories leave you struggling to create action or end up plotless? Or perhaps your sci-fi adventure protagonist is about as complex as an amoeba but you're not the touchy feely type. Before you submit your work, make sure you've elevated it above the thousands of others submitted.
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You're breathless, your heart races. You will quit your day job immediately. Building bridges or selling pharmaceuticals will simply leave you no time for the work you were born to do--writing enchanting stories for children or angst-filled dramas for teens. Maybe you'll write a rhyming picture book! (After all, your mother always said you were the next Dr. Seuss). Perhaps you'll write that science fiction yarn. Better yet, you'll buy a book on drawing and illustrate your own graphic novel. Visions of carrying your laptop to Starbucks or the local bookstore make you hyper-ventilate with anticipation.
Months pass, maybe even years of working day and night on your first manuscript. You've even chosen Friday as the day you market your work to editors, sending out dozens of query letters.
Before you know it rejection letters are spilling off the pile on your desk. And that's when you realize the greatest secret about your new craft: Writing for children is perhaps the most challenging activity in which you've ever engaged. And Illustrations should probably be left to professional illustrators.
Read on, dear writer. If plotting frustrates you more than geometry, if you want to learn what makes a story resonate with your reader, if you're ready to dig deeper and build your knowledge of craft, come climb with me. I invite you to read some of what I learned at Vermont College of Fine Arts as I pursed an MFA in Writing for Children & YA.