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By Eleanora E. Tate, Faculty, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty, “Through the Eyes of a Child: Writing for Young People”

After nearly fifty years of being a children’s short story and book-length manuscript critique and workshop leader at retreats, residencies, conferences, and in teaching I’ve read many outstanding manuscripts for children.

Almost every one yearned, hungered, craved, even, to become a published children’s writer. It’s this kind of “fire in the belly” longing that unites all writers, regardless of the genre. A writer “shows” when s/he creates sufficient action, sensory details, description and dialogue in a scene to heighten reader’s emotions, at least for the moment. Such imagery allows the reader to “see”—perhaps emotionally feel, hear, smell, even taste—what happens so vividly that the scene becomes real. The writer produces what must be shown.

I’m proud to be a children’s book author. It ain’t easy. It takes just as much skill and perseverance. It takes just as much understanding and application of character development, setting, dialogue, voice, conflict, plot, point of view—i.e., craft—to write a compelling picture book or middle grade or YA manuscript as it does to write a barnstormer for adults. Maybe even more.

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Eleanora E. Tate will lead a workshop titled “Through the Eyes of a Child: Writing for Young People” at the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference. Tate is a folklorist, short story writer, journalist, and author. Her children's books have won Parents Choice Awards, are ABA Pick of the Lists, are Notable Children's Trade Books, and one is a Child Study Committee Children's Book of the Year. Two are audio books and another is an award-winning television film. A former NCWN board member, a veteran writing workshop conductor, and a seminar leader over the years for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, among others, her newest book is Celeste's Harlem Renaissance (2007). Ms. Tate is an instructor with the Institute of Children's Literature, and on the faculty of Hamline University's Master's Degree-seeking low-residency program “Writing for Children and Young Adults” in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Pre-registration for the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference closes at 11:59 pm on Monday, October 29. On-site registration will be available at the conference.

 
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