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Margot Finke's Monthly "Musings"

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These articles by Margot Finke provide guidance to people getting started in the children's publishing world and answer many typical questions. These materials are posted on this site for free individual and non-commercial use. They are provided as a public service. Out of respect for their creators, please follow our copyright policy.

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Musings, by Subject:

Picture Books

February 2008: Picture Book Secrets
June 2007: Picture (Book) Perfect
June 2006: How to Make Editors Eager to Read Your Picture Book
December 2005: How to Write a Picture Book with Fabulous R & M
November 2005: How to Cook up a Great Picture Book
July 2005: "Writing Time Outs" Can Help You Polish Your Picture Book
September 2004: Writing Picture Books: The Basics
April 2004: Rhyming Picture Books: For Those Who Must
May 2002: So You Want to Write a Picture Book?

Writing Middle-Grade and YA Novels

June 2008: Voice, Focus, POV: How to Make All Three Pop
November 2007: Character-driven or Plot-driven?
October 2007: Writing a Middle-Grade Masterpiece
July 2006: Polish Your Chapters: Small Things Can Make the Difference Between Acceptance and Rejection
January 2006: Self-editing Your Middle-Grade Novel
March 2005: Layering Powerful Voice to Create Memorable Characters
November 2004: Writing Great Characters and Dialogue
February 2004: The Attribution Game: Writing Better Dialogue

Business and Submissions

April 2008: Writing Conferences--Are They Worth the Time and Money?
December 2007: What Do Editors Really Want?

September 2007: To Use an Agent, or Not Use an Agent?
March 2007: Query Letters Revisited | Part Two: Sample Query Letters
January 2007: Rejection Letters: Can You Change Them Into Acceptances?
March 2006: Query and Cover Letters: How to Get 'Em Right
September 2005: How to Reel in a Children's Book Editor with Your Writing
May 2005: The Secret to Becoming a Published Writer
April 2003: Query Letters for Children's Books Fiction
July 2001: Are You Fishing For an Editor? Bait Your Hook with the First Page

Editing, Revising, & Critiquing

August 2007: A Professional Critique: What Should You Receive for Your Money?
February 2007: Ten Problems I See When I Do Professional Critiques
May 2006: Words! Words! Words! - How to Find Those That Jump off the Page
April 2006: Descriptive Passages to Die For
October 2005: How to Make Self-Editing Easy
October 2004: Writing Books for Children: The Details Count
April 2003: Tight Writing


May 2008: Blog Mania – Can It Help You?
March 2008: Fighting to Write
July 2007: Writing Books Based on Personal Experiences
May 2007: Procrastination--Are You Guilty?
April 2007: School Visits Can Be Fun and Profitable
December 2006: Networking for Children's Writers
October 2006: Enthusiastic Hobbyist or Dedicated Writer: Which One Are You?
September 2006: Cultivate Good Writing Manners
August 2006: Protecting Your Computer
February 2006: Are You a Writer Looking for Inspiration?
August 2005: Where to Go for Information or Help
June 2005: How to Keep Your Passion and Survive as a Writer
April 2005: Late Blooming Writers Can Succeed!

August 2004: Conferences and Retreats -- Your Way to Connect!
July 2004: New Beginnings

I hope you have found this page and this site useful. Please visit The Purple Crayon Bookstores page to find some recommended bookstores and to learn how to support this site while doing your usual online shopping. Thank you.


Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant. She has lived in Oregon with her husband and family for over 30 years. Margot writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. Her latest rhyming PB is Mama Grizzly Bear, and her latest young teen adventure is The Revenge of Thelma Hill. Her FREE Book Catalog offers 13X books.

Her husband, Alan, is very supportive. He says, "Writing keeps Margot out of mischief!" Their three children are grown and doing well out on their own. These days, gardening, travel and grandchildren, fill in the cracks between reading and writing.

With no talent for juggling writing and kids, Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her to work at writing every day. She says, "I envy those who began young: slipping into writing-mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes!"

Her Manuscript Critique Service offers personal guidance to beginners and others seeking a fresh opinion. Visit her website for books, writing help, video readings from all her books, and more.

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