Articles on writing

            I learned today that an article I’d written, “Kid Readers: Super Critics,” will come out in the April Children’s Writer.  If you aren’t aware of this monthly magazine, check it out.  It’s now available on-line and is full of interesting material, as well as editors’, publishers’, and writers’ perspectives.  Here is a submissions wish list that editor, Susan Tierney sent:

If you’re interested in writing for us, please review my brainstorming list of ideas below for market leads, and some for columns and features. Let me know what angle you might take, and when you might complete the piece. Leads and features are about 1,800 words and pay $300; columns are 750 words and pay $200.


As always, I’m also open to other ideas, in particular suggestions for age-tied pieces, as opposed to genres or topics. 


In about another week I’ll send out another memo on writing for our annual book, Writer’s Guide to 2012. 


I look forward to hearing from you. 




Susan Tierney

Editor in Chief

Writer’s Institute Publications




– “The Qualities of a Page Turner”


– Educational publishing topics: 

book publishers

classroom magazines for children

teachers’ publications

Specific categories of educational publishing, current issues, approaches to the market under work-for-hire or other arrangements


– Regional publishers


– New angles on multicultural publishing; distinct articles on different segments of multicultural publishing


– Religious publishing 

Inspirational Christian series. See the Publishers Weekly article on Concordia Publishing selling one million books in one of its children’s series.

Sunday school publications


– New angles on biographies and profiles


– Gossip and entertainment writing for tweens and teens


– Ebook and ezine topics


– New configurations in publishing businesses


– Writing on controversies, politics, and social issues for young people


– Ecology and the environment – CW has not done an article e on this in some time.


– The art of the read aloud


– What makes a concept book different, and how to break into the market


– Humor topics


– Books for emerging readers


– Steampunk and dystopian fiction


– Pop culture in fiction


– Reluctant readers


– PreK, toddler topics – keeping them fresh


– Visual storytelling for older readers — not for illustrators, but for writers who write visually


– Writing about technology for children and teens


– Empowerment of children: psychobabble or reality in children’s fiction? Books that empower kids


– Structuring and optimizing book proposals


– Reference books for kids


– Photo-essays: is it a real, distinct form anymore, in a culture where visuals are everywhere


– Sports fiction or nonfiction, books or magazines





 – Self-publishing markets and online writing communities like Wattpad


– Social media and writing/publishing. We’ve done quite a few of these and get the same queries frequently. New and interesting angles on this are very welcome.


– Leads – would like an interesting angle. Maybe deal specifically with opening fiction in media res?


– Chapters


– Symbolism appropriate to tween or teen books


– Critique groups – again a topic that is queried often, but we need fresh approaches


– Foul language in children’s/YA books? Changing standards. Consider controversy over Lane Smith’s use of “jackass.”


– Fresh looks at query letters


– Character motivation


– A Paradigm for Conflict


– Managing deadlines


– “Hello, Meet My Character” – techniques for introducing primary and secondary characters


– Bibliographies: presenting your sources in a proposal in a convincing way


– “Obstacle after Obstacle”: not too big, not too small, just right. Obstacles in fiction.


– What makes a turning point work?

            With the time it takes to write a novel or biography, I find that working on a short article or personal essay brings some more immediate gratification.  It fuels the patience necessary for the longer projects.  Happy writing.



About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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