Tag Archives: Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers

A Fourth Thing for Thursday

The 2nd tip for writing picture books from Ken.


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Ken Baker–WIFYR picture book teacher

Ken and I have known each other for years.

He writes great picture books.

He writes great novels.

And now he’s giving writing tips if YOU want to write great picture book.

So here’s a link:


And guess what–I just learned something from this writing tip.

I have two pictures I’ve written. One that I am working on.

I think the first two books  of mine do what Ken suggests (Read the article. It’s short.).

But NOT book number three.

Hmmmm. I have work today.

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Getting Ready for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers

That’s what we have been doing the last few months (since last August, actually). Getting ready for the conference.

How do you prepare YOURSELF for the conference? We’ll talk about getting your manuscript ready next week.


I’ve been running this conference since my youngest was a baby. I used to nurse her in my hotel room and in the bathrooms at BYU. It was terribly hard for me to leave my girls. For me, the huge homebody who would never see the light of day if she didn’t have to, well, I don’t love leaving home. This was true for both WIFYR AND when I went to school at Vermont College.

One thing I did before leaving for school was talk to my girls well in advance. They kept me strong. When i wanted to quit, they told me not to. I cried a lot at night, where they didn’t know. Sometimes, if my anxiety was high, I wrote goodbye letters to them. Letters that could be read after my demise and the double meaning of every line–every word–could be seen clearly.

I went  knowing I would learn every day. It didn’t matter that I was well-published. I could–and did–learn from every speaker. Including those graduating from school. Keep your mind open. We have some of the best coming to the conference.

I took a stuffed animal with me. That little pink pig (named Wilbird–after you know who), slept with me every night. I still have the piggy. When I make my bed, he sits on the covers.

I went to have fun. The reason I went back to school the second semester was because there was a dance and game night and I knew I would miss that evening. WIFYR is a lot of work, but dang it, it’s fun, too. So determine–no matter how afraid you are–to have fun.

These are just a few things I did as I got ready to leave for the two weeks I was away at school.

What do you do to get ready for the conference?



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Writing and Illustrating for Young readers!

Here is the first official announcement. We gots the goods on who’s coming June 16-20, 2014.

(More Info to Come. Please go to http://www.wifyr.com also. And feel free to ask questions.)

Keynote: James Dashner (!!!!)


2014 Faculty

Picture Book Ken Baker
chapter book, middle grade Shawn Stout
Middle of the Novel Cheri Pray Earl
Full Novel Lisa Mangum
YA Novel A E Cannon
Advanced Cynthia Leitich Smith
Advanced Greg Leitich Smith
Writer’s Boot Camp J Scott Savage
Novel Carol Williams
Novel Kris Chandler


Agents and Editors:

Shauna Rossano Associate Editor, G. P. Putnam’s Sons
John Cusick The Greenhouse Literary Agency
Michelle Witte Mansion Street Literary Mgmt
Amy Jameson (1 day only) A+B Works Literary Agency


Mini workshops:

Illustration Sherry Meidell
Character Development Robison Wells
Voice Ann Dee Ellis
Plot Jennifer Nielsen


Filed under Agents, Ann Dee, Character, CLW, Editors, Plot, Revision, Voice, writing process