One important part of The Write Sister’s mission statement is that we want to be mentors to others interested in writing for children. Each of us learned and gained so much from the assistance of more experienced writers, and we feel it is important to pass that along. Hence our Mentor Mondays here. But we’re not the only ones.
If you are new to the world of writing for children, you might be surprised at how generous many of the veterans in the field have been and continue to be. Jane Yolen is the mentor supreme, from her groundbreaking work with SCBWI to her having the heart to use her own name on AOL for all these years to the advice she still gives to all of us at conferences and on her website: http://janeyolen.com/for-writers/ .
Next, if you haven’t visited Harold Underdown’s site, bookmark it now: http://www.underdown.org/ . It’s not fancy-looking, but Harold’s insights into the world of children’s book publishing and the rich compilation of information he provides is an important resource for all of us. Another venerable and super-useful site is Verla Kay’s http://www.verlakay.com/
Darcy Pattison shares amazingly useful tips for writers on her website: http://www.darcypattison.com/ .
Kate Messner thought she might get a couple of dozen teachers to sign up for her virtual summer camp; I think she has over a thousand registered now! Even if you’re not a teacher trying to improve your writing so you can work more effectively with your students, there’s lots of good advice and positive sharing being handed around the campfire here: http://www.katemessner.com/blog/ Jo Knowles http://jbknowles.livejournal.com/tag/monday%20morning%20warm-up and Gae Polisner http://ghpolisner.blogspot.com/ have joined in with warm-ups and feedback sessions on their own blogs.
There are many good listservs, discussion boards and other maillists for children’s writers. A few of the best: Verla Kay’s: (registration required) http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php .
Yahoo Groups/Lists (all require a yahoo account and can be either read on the website or received as emails: Children’s Writers and Illustrators http://groups.yahoo.com/group/childrens-writers/ Write For Kids http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WRT4KDZ/ and Non-fiction for kids: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NFforKids/ .
There are, of course, websites that offer lessons and advice for a fee, as well. You do need to be careful, as ever on the web, it’s hard to distinguish the rip-offs from the real thing. If you’re looking for that kind of investment in your career, I think the most reputable of these is the CBI: http://cbiclubhouse.com/ . Or, for a more personal one-on-one experience, Laura Purdie Salas and Lisa Bullard have started Mentors for Rent: http://mentorsforrent.wordpress.com/ .
And of course, if you’re serious about being a professional, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is the must-join organization. Check for the regional chapter wherever you live, because the local groups and conferences are a great boost to a writer’s career. http://www.scbwi.org/
What have I missed? Share your favorite links in the combox . . .