Friends often ask me whether I have read books on how to write for children and I have to confess that I have only read one, Pamela Cleaver’s Writing a Children’s Book: How to Write for Children and Get Published , which is concise and pretty good for starting
But I do regularly read blogs by writers and agents and anonymous children’s editors. I got onto blogs when I was hunting for advice on how to write a book synopsis (if you are like me, a chill will run up your spine at the mention of synopsis).
You can, however, learn how to write a good synopsis and be entertained at the same time. I always enjoy agent Nathan Bransford’s blog and his guide to writing synopses is informative, though I tend to write shorter synopses than he recommends (mine are no more than two pages double-spaced). I also got a lot from romance writer Kathy Carmichael’s article – in fact, her examples helped me loads. I like this approach from Marg Gilks, too.
But the winner is Miss Snark, anonymous literary agent/blogger, whose Crap-o-meter series of synopses, first pages, hooks and cover letters is the place to go if you need a belly laugh and some learnin’ at the same time. Miss Snark, who no longer blogs, but mercifully has left her punditry up for posterity, used to put out a call for entries and be inundated with people’s synopses, which she would then dissect in red ink. Read and learn. Once you have gone through about 20 of them you will begin to get it. View Miss Snark’s Synopsis Crap-o-Meter here, and do read the other entries on her right-hand menu for further erudite observations on life, publishing and George Clooney.
My other fave anonymous blogger is Editorial Anonymous, a children’s editor whose wit is up there with Miss Snark’s. Don’t miss her right hand side panel for further hilarity and links to other very good blogs and sites.
There is also Scotland based novelist Nicola Morgan, who is giving us all a reason not to do our work and read her publishing blog instead. She is doing a series on writing skills and has just covered voice and pace. But there is oh so much more to be entertained by, not least her witty take on the writer’s life.
Last, but by no means least, is Patrick Ness’s Writer in Residence blog for Booktrust. Not only does Patrick’s blog talk frankly about his own experiences as the award-winning writer of The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, but he does a pithy series of writing tips. Check out Patrick’s website, too, for more insights.
Synopsis, synopsis, synopsis! Hey look, no chills. You, too, can learn how to write one and have a bit of writerly fun at the same time.