Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Online support for children's writers

So, I was talking to an online friend of mine today about the lack of support for children's writing, especially online. Think about it for a sec-- there are online support and critique groups for poets, fiction writers, and every genre from Erotica to fantasy. . . so why aren't there any for children's writers? Neither one of us could name a single one. We children's writers are perhaps the most secluded, misunderstood, and least supported of all writers.

I took a quick look at the work listed as "children's writing" on, and I was disappointed at what I saw. Most people have no idea what's popular in children's literature, don't realize that kids shouldn't be talked down to OR treated like adults, and are totally clueless about things like the importance of rhythm and rhyme. While I don't pretend to know everything there is to know about writing for children, I don't allow myself to work inside a bubble that prevents me from learning, either.

I guess I'm really lucky that I have great teachers who have published everything from picture books to YA novels and are willing to share their secrets and support their students. I'm also lucky that I have such close interaction with children that I know their language, what they like, and how to engage them. Those two things, I truly believe, put me ahead of a lot of others.

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