You know you’re a children’s writer when…

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  1. …someone says the word DUTY and you giggle like a third grader
  2. …you shamelessly wear dragon jewels!
  3. …you know more about the books your kids read than they do
  4. …you have more in common with kids than their parents
  5. …you get a paper cut and bleed coffee/tea
  6. …you day dream A LOT
  7. …you have creative ways of procrastinating like sock skating
  8. …your co-worker is a cat or dog or rabbit or bird
  9. …when your adult friend has an issue with their kids, you immediately recommend a middle-grade novel that deals with the same situation
  10. …you’re more excited about the BFG movie than your kids are
  11. ….you struggle to remember the last adult book you read
  12. ….you still secretly keep an eye out for the wardrobe that will get you to Narnia
  13. …you see two ravens outside and you start talking to them
  14. ….you analyze the story structure of every movie and TV show you watch (much to your spouse’s chagrin)
  15. …when you can’t focus on doing taxes and filing your child’s college aid forms because you want to finish your Rick Riordan novel
  16. …people in the airport give you weird looks because you’re reading Flora & Ulysses
  17. …you’re the one with the spaced-out look in the supermarket because your head’s still on planet Zippon

KARIN LEFRANC writes picture books about rainbows and zombies and middle grade novels about sword fighting girls. She lives in the green hills of Connecticut with her husband and four kids. She can sometimes be spotted talking to ravens. Follow her on twitter @karinlefranc.

What Quote Inspires You?

This idea will not be your only one. In fact, your ideas will get better and better.

I was in the middle of a crowded room and the words chose me like the wand chooses the wizard.

Let me explain. I had an idea for a middle grade novel. It came to me as I was falling asleep one night, and was so amazing, I got out of bed, sat on the stairs, and wrote by the light of the front porch lamp. Then for the next few months I continued to write, outline as all plotters do, and finish chapters.

Then, with my genius idea, I attended an SCBWI conference and met a kind and patient agent who shall remain nameless because I may query her one day. She asked what I was writing. Suddenly my brilliant and hilarious masterpiece of good versus evil (a frequent scenario in middle school, even those not invaded by zombies or dark wizards) was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard. And I used to work in law enforcement so I’ve heard criminals say some really dumb things.

Humiliated, I tried to convince myself the story wasn’t that bad. It could have been my presentation, which was filled with ums, uhuhs, and well thens. But the look in the agent’s eyes was clear. It was the story. Okay, maybe the presentation too.

Well, at least I learned something from the conference. My idea was stupid and apparently that was the best I could come up with. It was a good thing I had a day job.

That brings me to the crowded room. The same conference later that night. A panel of six published authors answering questions from the mostly unpublished audience. That’s when I heard it.

This idea will not be your only one. In fact, your ideas will get better and better.

It was advice given by author Beth Revis (bethrevis.com) and she knew what she was talking about. Across the Universe, the first novel she sold, was her eleventh book.

Her advice was worth every penny and every embarrassing moment of the conference. I left rejuvenated, scrapped the old idea, and came up with another one. And another one. The next thing I knew, I was dreaming about characters and plots, like middle grade novels about serial killer Hannibal Lector being held in a jail made of butterfly wings. Okay, I still have some bad ideas. But now I have several short stories in the works, three novels written, and notebooks filled with ideas.

What quotes have touched you? Which ones have shaped the way you think, live, and write? The Fellowship of the Winged Pen would love to hear from you. Please leave yours in the comments below.

As an introduction to our team of writers, here are a few of us from around the world and our favorite quotes.

FOWP 1 FOWP 2 FOWP 4

Jessica Vitalis:  “A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” Madeleine L’Engle

Gita Panjabi Trelease:  “Writing is like driving a car at night: you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. Doctorow and “A writer is someone on whom nothing is lost.” Henry James

Michelle Leonard:  “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth

Sussu Leclerc:  “He who opens a school door, closes a prison” Victor Hugo.

Jennifer Brister Park:  “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway

Mark Holtzen:  “All worthwhile endeavors are 90% effort and 10% love and only the love should show.” Chuck Jones

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A third degree black belt in taekwondo, HALLI GOMEZ teaches martial arts and writes for children and young adults because those voices flow through her brain. She is published in Police Chief magazine and her regional SCBWI bulletin, and enjoys family, outdoors, reading, and is addicted to superhero movies. You can find her on Twitter.