All posts by katiemerkelwriter

Katie Merkel is a writer, actress, and teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish education and a minor in German from Millersville University and is a certified Spanish teacher in the state of Pennsylvania. She has an associate’s degree in performing arts from Harrisburg Area Community College. She currently works as a Clerk Typist II at a local government agency.

Book Clubs: Making Them Part of Your Platform

Hello everyone!

book club 7I recently read an interview with Kathryn Craft, conducted by Donna Galanti: “Book Club Tips: Are You and Your Novel Book Club-Worthy?” I had never considered how making my book more appealing to book clubs could be a marketing strategy, but the points brought up during the interview made a lot of sense. I hope you find the interview as thought provoking as I did.

Happy writing!

Katie

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Agents: Things to Consider BEFORE You Sign

Hello everyone!

In the FAQ section of her website, author-illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi answered the question “How did you get your agent? Any advice on how I can get an agent?” She gives a list of things to consider BEFORE signing with an agent. She also provides several helpful links where people can learn more about what an agent does, querying an agent, and even look up agents who are currently accepting unsolicited queries.

I highly recommend that you read Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s answer to the questions: “How did you get your agent? Any advice on how I can get an agent?”, and that you check out the other links she shared.

Happy writing!

Katie

Foreshadowing

Hello everyone!

Have you ever read a novel or short story and when you came to the end of it realized that the author had been hinting at the ending all along? This is effective foreshadowing.

foreshadowing-power-point-1-6-638As I have been editing my novel, The Four Crystals, I have been trying to sprinkle foreshadowing throughout the story without making the ending too obvious. It’s hard!

Below are three articles about foreshadowing and how to correctly incorporate it into your own writing.

For a quick overview of how to foreshadow, read “Narrative Elements: Foreshadowing” on Author’s Craft.

For some suggestions and examples of how to foreshadow, read  “Nine Examples of Foreshadowing in Fiction” by Harvey Chapman.

For a longer explanation of what foreshadowing is, a list of common literary methods used to foreshadow, and an exercise to help you spot bad foreshadowing (referred to in the post as “telegraphing,” but what I like to call “oversharing”), read “Foreshadowing – The Guide To Hooking Readers” by Mladen Reljanović.

photo(1)The main thing to remember about foreshadowing is that it should be subtle, like the aroma of food preparing you for a big meal. Two pitfalls to avoid are oversharing and not following through on foreshadowing (this does not apply to deliberate red herrings). Oversharing is like shoving food down someone’s throat. They don’t enjoy it. Equally bad is foreshadowing something and then not following through. This is like seeing a restaurant, smelling the food cooking, and then being told the restaurant is closed for the day. You leave the restaurant dissatisfied and angry.

Happy writing and good luck foreshadowing!

Katie

 

Rustling Leaves

Hello everyone!

When writing, I have always found story starters to be helpful. For me, a story starter is the most effective type of writing prompt. I have yet to meet a story starter that did not inspire me to write.

For the next two weeks, your writing challenge is to use the following story starter to write a short story.

The sun shone down, creating dappled shadows on the wooded path. Overhead, birds hopped and darted among the braches, alternately singing to and scolding each other. A crisp breeze rustled the changing leaves and tousled his hair. Although everything around him seemed peaceful, he couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching him.

Happy writing!

Katie

Children’s Books’ Formats

Hello everyone!

While preparing my post New Jersey SCBWI 2017 Annual Conference submissions, I came across Summer Edward’s blog post “Types of Books for Children and Teens- Formats Explained.” It contains word count, page length, and format advice for the main genres of children’s books. I highly recommend her post.

Happy writing!

Katie

How do you like those apples?

Hello everyone!

“Play is a child’s work and this is not a trivial pursuit.” – Alfred Adler

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to choose one of the six word groups below and write a short story that uses all of the words mentioned. To make this even more challenging, you can roll a die to determine which set of three words you must use. (All of the words in the lists are from cards randomly drawn from the game Apples to Apples.)

  1. Chickens, Gossip, Zen
  2. The Little Mermaid, The JFK Assassination, Scene of the Crime
  3. Quicksand, Pro Wrestling, A Crawl Space
  4. Confucius, Roman Numerals, Dr. Kevorkian
  5. Firefighters, Jimmy Stewart, Leather
  6. The 1950s, Pond Scum, Marriage

*This writing prompt was inspired by an activity Justin Tappan had us do at our critique group.

Happy writing!

Katie

Writer’s Conferences

Hello everyone!

Back in June, I attended the 2017 New Jersey Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators Annual Conference.  I learned a lot and got to meet many interesting writers, illustrators, agents, and editors.

In her blog post, “How to Prepare for a Writer’s Conference,” Julia Yong offers a writer’s conference packing list and tips for how to get the most out of a writer’s conference while there.

Although Julia’s packing list is very thorough, I would like to add four more items to it.

  1. Tissues – You never know when you or someone else will need one.
  2. Hand sanitizer or baby wipes – You’ll be meeting a lot of people.  If you or one of them are sick, you’ll want to be able to clean your hands.  Getting into a bathroom can be difficult at conferences.
  3. Band-Aids – Like tissues, you never know when you or someone else will need one.
  4. Dental floss – If you have a pitch session after a meal, you’ll want to make sure the agent isn’t distracted by something stuck in your teeth.

I hope you find “How to Prepare for a Writer’s Conference” helpful when preparing for your next writer’s conference!

Happy writing!

Katie