Posted by: nancyisanders | July 16, 2014

Announcing the Release of WriteShop Book E!

Book E cover-bigger copy

The Writing Curriculum for homeschooling families that I wrote (and amazing publisher Kim Kautzer edited) has recently hit the shelves and is already up and running marathons in the homeschooling community!!!!

I know many of you are homeschooling mamas and papas so I thought you’d be eager to hear the news…there’s still plenty of time to order your copy of WriteShop to teach writing to your young writers in grades K-6 this next year.

You can check out this awesome BOOK E review at DELIGHTFUL LEARNING

And for more info about the WriteShop curriculum I wrote as an incremental writing program to get kids in the know and loving’ writing (just like YOU do), look at these other products available for you to implement in your child’s life:













Check out some of these awesome reviews!






Posted by: nancyisanders | July 8, 2014

Teleclass Writing Workshop

cats on teal couch

Do you need help learning how to “show, don’t tell”?

Then sign up for this tele class that I’ll be teaching, complete with a handout of “50 WAYS TO SHOW, DON’T TELL.”

You can join me live this week on Thursday, 2:00 Pacific Standard Time, or you can pay now and download the audio later when you have time to listen to it.

For years, I struggled with this elusive rule. How does a writer show instead of tell?

But as I’ve worked with various editors on several new books of mine that have been going through the publication process this past year, I saw exactly what editors were doing to my manuscripts to change places I “told” my reader what was happening to be passages that “show” it instead.

So join me for this tele class and learn simple yet effective techniques to take your writing to the next level!

CLICK HERE for the link to register for the tele class.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 7, 2014

Local Writing Workshop

HPIM7542 - Version 4

About a month ago, I bought a milkweed plant and it had a baby caterpillar on it. It was fun to watch the caterpillar grow and change into a pupa. Yesterday it emerged and we released it in our garden.

As writers, it’s important for us to keep on growing as we improve our writing skills. Along the way, we metamorphosize and turn into successful, published writers. And still we keep on growing!!!!

With this in mind, I want to invite you to come join me at a free local writing workshop I’ll be teaching this week!

For any of you who live near Rancho Cucamonga, come on out and join the fun at the Rancho Writers, a writer’s group that meets each month.

Here’s where you’ll find us:

Date: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Time: 2:30-5:00
Place: Room One at Northkirk Presbyterian Church
9101 19th St
Alta Loma, CA
Cost: Meeting is free and open to the public

Of course, I’ll be there to answer questions you may have about writing, and I’ll be selling some of my books after the event, but here’s what I’ll specifically be teaching about:

* The Rule of Three and how using it can help you develop stronger characters.

* Exercises to help you develop stronger voices for your characters.

* Tips and techniques on being a Piggyback Writer so you can break into print and get your manuscripts published.

* How to “Show, Don’t Tell.”

I hope to see you there!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, America!

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 26, 2014

Self-Editing Tips: Show, Don’t Tell

The fourth and final item on our self-editing checklist under the category of Creative Nonfiction Techniques is to make sure we remember to “show, don’t tell” by using key anecdotes to replace narrative.

There is a delicate balance to the amount of narrative and anecdotal writing we incorporate into our writing…especially because we are writing for kids. Too much narrative and our story will be boring and will sound like an encyclopedia entry rather than a story. Too many anecdotes and our manuscript will burst the seams with too high of a word count and could even be classified as overwritten.

If you’ve ever had your work critiqued and gotten feedback to “show, don’t tell” you may know it’s one of those weak areas of yours that you need to work on.

But what exactly does this mean?

Basically, it means to create a scene, even a short scene, that incorporates elements such as dialogue and action, so that the reader can see what’s happening in 3-D technicolor instead of just being told that it happened.

If you have trouble doing this, then I’d like to invite you to join me on July 10 at 2:00 when I’m teaching a tele class at the Working Writer’s Club on “Show, Don’t Tell.”

More information coming soon on how to sign up and join!

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 24, 2014

Self-Editing Tips: The Three Act Structure

As we’re working through our Nonfiction Picture Book Self-Editing Checklist to edit the nonfiction picture book we just wrote, let’s take a minute and double check the structure of our manuscript.

Did you incorporate the Three-Act Structure into your manuscript so that the story is paced effectively?

If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about, check out this post on my blog here.

Here are some key points to consider:
1) Does your manuscript have 3 significant changes that separate the beginning from the middle from the end and also show the turning point of the whole story? If not, how can you incorporate these changes to make your plot structure even stronger?
2) Does each significant change get bigger and bigger so that the tension is building? If not, how can you up the ante each time and give your MC a bigger mountain to climb on his quest?

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 20, 2014

Self-Editing Tips: Sensory Details

As we’re working our way through the NONFICTION PICTURE BOOK SELF-EDITING CHECKLIST (available by CLICKING HERE) We’re talking about checking our manuscripts for the use of “Creative Nonfiction Techniques.”

We can make our story 3-D by adding sensory details.
Sight: What does our character see?
Smell: What does she smell each time she walks into a certain room?
Touch: What does she feel brush across the back of her neck or poke her in the ribs? Hear: What does she hear going on in the background of the scene?
Taste: What yummy treat does she eat at the circus?

When I write, I write in layers. Meaning that first I just need to get the story that is in my brain and in my heart out on paper.

Then I go back in and plug in important things like sensory details.

I just go through and find several key spots (in a picture book) where I can plug in a sensory detail–in space this tight with limited word count–hopefully in just a word, a phrase, or a short sentence.

Go back through and check your manuscript for sensory details. It will really make your story come alive!

And if you’re not sure how to plug in sensory details, just look at your mentor text(s). Read through them and see how they plugged in the sights, sounds, and smells of that topic.

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 13, 2014

The Writing Desk of Gretchen Griffith

writer's desk

My writer’s desk is in a room I call my study, but actually is the room my son left vacant when he left for college several years ago. There is a fouton in it for the grandchildren when they come over, but normally it is as covered over with clutter as my desk.

At this spot I have written numerous manuscripts, many of which are in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet never to be seen again, chalked up to learning experiences. In addition to the picture book and freelance articles in newspapers and magazines, I have published three narrative nonfictions in the memoir genre.

First look at WCFLH
Connect with children’s writer Gretchen Griffith!
Learn more about her books and her life as a children’s writer at these sites:

Website: Gretchen Griffith: Storycatcher/Author
Blog: Catch of the Day
Facebook: Gretchen Griffith Author Page
Twitter: @GretchenGriffth (note I had to drop the second i in my name that was already taken)
You can also connect with Gretchen on Pinterest and Google+


CLICK HERE if you’re a children’s writer and would like to see your writing desk featured here on my blog!

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 12, 2014

Self-Editing Tips: Which Genre Is It?

As we’re working our way through the NONFICTION PICTURE BOOK SELF-EDITING CHECKLIST (available by CLICKING HERE) I wanted to talk about checking our manuscripts for the use of “Creative Nonfiction Techniques.”

First on the list is the question, “Is every statement, every dialog quote, and every detail 100% true?”

If not, you have choices. You can choose to keep in the non-true stuff and your manuscript will be classified more as “fictionalized nonfiction” (nearly, mostly true) or even “historical fiction” (a made-up tale about true people or events).

Or, you can choose to delete the non-true ingredients and keep your manuscript in the nonfiction genre.

I discovered that I was adding in a bit of fiction, so I took all that out and kept it in the nonfiction genre. HOWEVER, I did opt to include some “legend” as part of the story. So I’m making a note to myself to discuss this with an editor if it reaches that stage to see what the publisher might think about dealing with this.

The important thing as you’re checking this is not whether you’re writing pure straight nonfiction or not, but just be sure you know which genre your finished manuscript falls into and that you’re happy with this decision.

Posted by: nancyisanders | June 9, 2014

Self-Editing Tips: The End

Today let’s take a look at the ending you wrote for your nonfiction picture book.

But before we examine the end, let’s look back at the beginning.

How did you start your picture book?

With a question? With a bold statement? With an inspirational introduction? In the middle of a high-action scene?

One very satisfying way to wrap up a picture book is to end it in a similar way you began.

For example:
If you started with a question, bring up the question again and in a brief recap, show how it was answered.
Your beginning:
Did you know blue whales are the largest mammals on planet earth?
Your ending:
So how big is a blue whale? They’re the biggest mammals of all!

If you started with a bold statement, tie your ending back to that same bold statement.
Your beginning:
Frederick Douglass was the Dr. Martin Luther King of the Civil War era.
Your ending:
Frederick Douglass paved the way in his generation for Dr. King and the American Civil Rights Movement.

Using this technique to tie your ending back into your beginning leaves your reader with a high level of satisfaction as he turns to the last page of your book.

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