This is the blog of children's book author and elementary school teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Having just discovered Twitter at the SCBWI conference in New York (thank you Michael Bourret), I wanted to share some great posts and articles about why writers should use it:

Must reads:
1. Why Michael Bourret Loves Twitter
2. Twitter Tips for Writers +25 Good Follows
3. Book Trade People on Twitter
4. Twitter: It's What You Make of It

And of course, don't forget to follow me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Getting Rid of Words

As I continue the revision and editing process on my latest manuscript, I also continue to think about word choice. Jon Bard from Write4Kids.com pointed out this article called Get Rid of Ugly Wordiness: How to Cut Your Novel Down to Size. It identifies ways to cut out unnecessary words.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Grammar Grumbles

Recently a parent engaged me in a detailed grammar conversation. I am not going to go into detail about the conversation, but it does have me thinking deeply about grammar and mechanics in this day and age. As a writer, I want my character's voice to be "authentic" but how much proper language has to be thrown away to achieve that kind of authenticity? And think about the whole idea of a blog. In many ways it is a stream of thought. My thoughts aren't grammatically correct, does that mean that it is okay for my blog to have some errors?

The current issue of Writers' Journal there are two articles on this topic. One, called "How Does Your Character Sound?" by MaryAnn Duffy, has a large section on Written versus Spoken English. It recommends dropping the -ly from words, using who instead of whom, and using me instead of I. It says, "Once a broken rule becomes the norm in speaking, it nudges its way into acceptability in written English." Interesting, don't you think?

The second article, called "Seven Bad Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Writers" by Scott Nicholson, adds more items to the list of things writers should try to do (and not do).

So, where do we stand? For myself, being part of a critique group has taught me more about grammar usage then any book. Looking at edits from writers more talented then myself in the mechanical area help me to recognize my common errors. Now I just have to hope that their way is the one that is currently accepted.

This is It

Okay, my own blog. Not for the group but about me (and anyone who wants to read about me). Not that I really need something else to spend time doing... but who knows, maybe my own journey will help someone else out there. You too can ramble on aimlessly on the road to publication.

Truthfully, I started this journey three years ago almost as a dare from a group of fantastic third graders who are now in sixth grade. As I hounded them day after day to revise, they told me that there was no way a "real writer" could spend that much time on revision. Not if they had written a whole novel. I took the challenge. Forty-four pages later I had written, what I thought was, a real novel. Ah, if I could only go back and laugh at the writer I was then. If I only knew that true revision didn't take weeks or even months, but years at times. Especially when you've written a forty-four page high fantasy novel for middle-graders.

Completely over-confident, I googled agents and started to send my novel out... to one. I read the submissions guidelines, no multiple submissions. I waited three months to receive my first self-addressed-stamped envelope in the mail. I opened it and found nothing. The envelope appeared to be empty. I opened it a bit wider and there it was, my first rejection, on a small strip of paper cut apart from other rejections. I would like to tell you that I still have that rejection (something to show when it HAPPENS), but, it is hard to keep a piece of paper that small. It disappeared one day, never to be seen again. But don't worry. I have plenty more to share.