writing for children

Maverick Monday: Book talk

Have you ever read Jigsaw Jones chapter books? Or maybe the Cam Jansen series?

I read my first Jigsaw Jones mystery a few years ago. I laughed out loud in every chapter!

Not too long after that, I started writing my own early chapter book. So much fun! 

I finished the book, had it critiqued (several times) and did some revisions (and I’m still doing a bit here and there). For a brief moment in time today, I intended to post the first two chapters here, but decided against it. I know, I know…the Wimpy Kids books started out online. But I think Jeff Kinney’s success story is NOT the norm. (I have to admit that I really do like the series, though!)

What are YOU working on right now? Where is your focus? Are you sharing your work with a critique group? Do you have trusted writing partners who will speak truth to you about your work? Are you able to speak truthfully to them about theirs?

Or do you work alone until your work goes to the editor?


17 thoughts on “Maverick Monday: Book talk

  1. I don’t have a formalized critique group but I submit my manuscripts to various readers – writer friends, senior citizens who remember the era, experts on the topics in my books etc.
    They give me all sorts of helpful feedback and I take it seriously.

    BTW – I am giving a book away on my blog tomorrow Groundhogs Day – It’s Becky Levine’s Writing and Critique Group Survival Guide. It is a totally awesome book. Come on over and enter the contest!


  2. Donna,

    My writing group meets once a month. Tonight would have been our meeting night, but we were closed out due to weather. We meet at the public library. I have considered joining an on-line group since it has been hard to find people interested in a children’s writing group in my area. I used to belong to a mixed genre group. I like a children’s writers’ group much better. Sometimes I ask dear writer friends to read something when I don’t want to wait until our next writers’ group meeting.

    An early chapter book sounds fun. I think you were wise not to post your first two chapters on your blog though. You’re welcome to send to me if you need another set of eyes. Maybe others would agree to do the same. I’ll have to look for Jigsaw Jones. I love the name. I’m hooked already.

    Linda A.


  3. Donna, I’m glad you didn’t post excerpts on your blog. I don’t post WIPs because although ideas are free, another person could help themselves to your concept and execution.

    Right now I meet weekly with another writer friend who’s in the same boat as me, regarding kids, sports schedules, and part time work. We are completely honest and the weekly meeting means I have to write the next scene or chapter 🙂 Because I’m working on a novel, I find it much easier to have one person to bounce ideas off of, instead of a whole group. We used to be in a wonderful group, but disengaged from the others because of our family/work commitments. I miss them, but we keep in touch.

    What goes through critique vs. what goes directly to the editor is about half and half. I’m cocky that way … if I think something is ready, I send it out.


    1. I’ve sent out stuff, too, before others have critiqued it. Strangely enough, most of them have been accepted. (mostly Highlights stuffs)

      I think it’s a matter of knowing what’s ready…and what’s not. 🙂


  4. Donna, I’m working on a book of reflections for mothers of the bride. My critique partner of the past few years has been too busy to critique for me lately, but I’m hoping she’ll be able to get back to it soon. Sure helps to have that other set of eyes looking things over.

    Glad you got to enjoy some snow. I’d send ours to you if I could 🙂


  5. I have critique partners, but I actually sold more work before I ever got into a group than I have since. That’s mostly my own productivity/life issues, but I’ve found that showing work to critiquers too early has really played a role. I no longer bring new work to my group. I’m going back to what worked before — don’t show it to anybody until you’ve done all you can with it.


    1. I don’t usually send “new” work out, either. I work on it until I can’t go any further. I don’t think it’s fair to me or them to send out rough drafts of work. If I know it needs tons of work, then sending it out before I’ve put my hand to it seems fruitless.


  6. Hi Donna, I am a loner, I guess you would say. I do not belong to any critique group, nor do I have local writer friends to compare notes with. I do a lot of ‘listening’ and info seeking but I’m not making much progress as far as my own writing goes. My contacts are online (chats and blogs) right now and that is about it for me. Probably having someone to share with would be motivational, do you find that?
    The books you mentioned I had not heard of before. Should I add them to my list of books to read? It is a VERY long list and growing! 🙂


  7. I do have a critique group, and they have helped me make my stories so much stronger!
    I also have my family read my manuscripts before it goes out for submissions as well!
    I just queried two agents for my chapter book this week. I’m very, very nervous!


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