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READ LIKE A WRITER, a teaching blog

TURNING A VIGNETTE INTO A STORY

by Christine Kohler

Writers are storytellers. But not all storytellers—even the most gifted who captivate listeners— can write publishable stories. I realized this truth as an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL), and had to analyze why and how to move storytellers from orality to writing publishable fiction and narrative  Read More 

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DIFFERENT TYPES OF WRITERS' GROUPS

By Christine Kohler

As you set your New Year writing goals, decide whether a writing group would help you reach quicker your end goals, such as producing a polished publishable-quality manuscript. Also consider carefully what type of writing group would best help you take your writing up notches. I began my professional writing career  Read More 

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NO NANOWRIMO? NO GUILT!

By Christine Kohler

NANONANOBOOBOO is what I jokingly call NANOWRIMO. And if you don’t make your word count, NANONANOBOOHOO.

If you don’t know that NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month then you’ve probably never taken this challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words in one month. (I had to Google  Read More 

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EMOTIONS JOURNAL

by Christine Kohler

When I switched from writing non-fiction to novels, I hit a snag when trying to create emotions for my characters. I realized that I had walled up many of my own emotions in order to be able to deal with difficult people and situations on an intellectual level instead. So, eight  Read More 

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WRITING AUTHENTIC ANIMALS IN FICTION

Author Christine Kohler with her shelter dog, mixed schnauzer Abby.

By Christine Kohler

In playwriting class my professor advised to never put animals or children in your plays because they are unpredictable. However, in middle grade and young adult novels, animals not only often star in the stories, but may even increase sales. One of my favorites in realistic fiction is MG novel BECAUSE  Read More 

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OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE: EVOKE EMOTIONS WITH OBJECTS

The baseball in NO SURRENDER SOLDIER is an objective correlative.

By Christine Kohler

When NO SURRENDER SOLDIER (Merit Press, 2014) released, a newspaper reporter called for an interview. She had read my historical YA novel, and remarked, “I was so worried about the baseball! I wondered whether Kiko would get his brother’s baseball back.” The reporter  Read More 

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ENDING WELL

By Christine Kohler

They lived happily ever after. *shaking head; strike that*
(Second try) The moral of the story is… *ack! Delete*
(Fourth try) So she grew up to be a doctor and her parents were very proud of her. *rolling eyes; Cut!*
(Sixth try) She smiled. Grandpa laughed. *grumble, grumble; Wad up paper,  Read More 

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Reviewers, Readers Select NO SURRENDER for Diversity Lists

On my June 26, 2015, blog post I wrote about writing diverse literature. NO SURRENDER SOLDIER is repeatedly selected by reviewers and readers for categories reflecting diverse characters and cultures.

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity at Alex Baugh's The  Read More 

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Writing Diverse Characters Different from those Inherent to the Author

By Christine Kohler

In 1985, my first four fiction children’s books were published by Concordia Publishing House in a series called Growing up Christian. Those contemporary stories for ages 5-9 tackled social problems, such as attitudes toward disabled people and illness. My main character in two stories is Jennifer, who is white, and her  Read More 

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MAGICAL WRITING: LEARNING IN LEAPS

by Janni Lee Simner

How do we learn as writers? How do we take our work to the next level?

We all know the places we can go to learn. Formal conferences and workshops. Less formal critique groups and beta readers. Reading books about writing, and reading other books—so many other books—by  Read More 

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