What Are You Thinking?

One thing I need to work on is adding in my character’s inner thoughts. How do you like to do that when you write?

New Publication: Treasure in the Woods

I was excited to see “Treasure in the Woods” published. I hope readers love joining Claude the Bear and his Grandma on their treasure hunt!

What Would Your Character Do? The Hill

Scenario:

You character encounters a huge hill.

It’s steep, but climbable.

Does your character go up the steepest part or look for an easy route?

Does your character search for a marked path or forge their own?

Does your character worry it’s against the rules to climb it?

Does your character give up halfway?

Once your character is at the top, what happens?

What Would Your Character Do? The Creek

Scenario: Your character arrives at a creek. The water is fast but not deep.

How well do you know your character? What would they do?

Stay high and dry on the bank?

Explore the muddy shores?

Venture out onto the rocky peninsula?

Fall in accidentally? On purpose?

Would they not even know what a creek was?

Would they hunt for food?

Getting Stories Published

There’s nothing like the rush of getting stories published. I have lots of magazine publications and now several educational publications. Every time I hear that a magazine or publisher wants to use my writing, I celebrate.

Making it Happen

I was able to share that feeling with the kids in Ross Writing Club. We just finished the first ever Ross Writing Club at our elementary school. We met after school on Mondays for an hour for six weeks. Kids wrote all kinds of stories. We talked about plot, character, endings and word choice. They revised their own stories. They critiqued each other’s writing.

Then we published a collection of their stories. We had 31 writers and this book is 64 pages long!

We had a book launch to celebrate their hard work and creativity. At the book launch, some of the writers sat at a table and were interviewed about their work. It was so memorable and fulfilling for me. I truly hope the kids felt the same. I’m especially proud of these two writers.

The book is also available in the local authors section of our library! I know the kids were especially excited about that. I knew just how they felt.

Finding the Right Place

Writers of any age love getting stories published. But it’s never easy.

In addition to writing club, I’m also a writing coach for a young man. His goal is to be a horror writer. That’s not easy for a young person. One of his first obstacles, like a writer of any age, was finishing his stories. He worked on that. Now he has several completed stories. The next step is getting published stories. He wants to submit them to magazines or journals. But it’s tough finding the right fit for your work.

One of his first choices is closed right now. His second choice doesn’t accept work that includes cannibals. Since his story includes cannibalism, we crossed that off his list.

I finally found a publisher for a story I wrote back in 2013. It only took six years. I’m persistent.

It’s not easy finding a place to publish your work. What are your strategies for finding the right publication?

 

Writing Weekend

This is a big writing weekend!

On Saturday, I’m heading to an SCBWI workshop exploring diversity in children’s writing. I’m really looking forward to learning from the two exciting speakers at the event. They are Lorian Tu, an illustrator, and Brittany Thurman, an author.

There’s still time to register for this event and add it to your writing weekend.

I love learning about cultures, perspectives, experiences, and ideas through reading and art. I expect these two presenters to offer some challenging questions for the workshop participants to consider. But they will also take questions from the audience.

I have questions for them about how to write with sensitivity and honesty, but I also want to learn how to improve my storytelling in general. I am looking forward to this event very much.

On Sunday, I will join members of the Ross Writing Club for their book launch celebration at Riverstone Books. After six weeks of hard work, the young writers will get to see their finished stories in a book. I can’t wait to hear their thoughts about the whole process. I’m also excited to see them share their stories with family and friends.

If you’re in Pittsburgh this weekend, join us!

 


What is on the agenda for your writing weekend?

Write Anywhere

I will write anywhere. You never know when inspiration will strike.I usually carry a little notebook with me and I always have my phone and my laptop. I used to have a small bluetooth keyboard by Zagg that made it easy for me to type on my phone fast. It was wonderful for when I was somewhere with small surfaces. I could also type without pulling out my giant laptop, so it didn’t attract as much attention. It died, so I got a new one. My middle and my youngest are in writing club this winter and they want to work on their stories at random times. My middle likes to type right before bed. The youngest recently worked on his story using my mini-keyboard while we were waiting for our food at Chili’s.

When you’re a writer, you write anywhere, any way you can.

 

Writer – Fiction and Non-Fiction

creative children's writer

Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan, Writer

Fiction, non-fiction, crafts, and more.

Magazines:

  • Highlights for Children
  • Cricket
  • Muse
  • Family Fun
  • Smartypants Magazine for Kids
  • Roar Kids Magazine

Educational Publishing: 

  • Heinemann Literacy Project, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom (upper middle school)
  • Capstone
  • Social Studies School Service (Nystrom Education)
  • KPS Storybook Project, (PK-2)
  • Name That Text Structure
  • ABC-CLIO

More on my biography and my writing samples.

Business Services including editing, ghostwriting, biographies, and e-books.

Awards:

Contact me at 412.837.9499 or by email.

Grab a book below!

Rejections and Acceptances in Writing 2018

I like to keep track of my writing rejections and acceptances by year. Sometimes when I’m feeling frustrated, just knowing I have submitted ideas, stories, and projects gives me a boost.

I use Numbers to track my submissions, but I also use an old-fashioned paper notebook. The paper notebook might be my good luck charm, like an athlete who won’t change socks after a winning game.

My submissions are usually a mix of old ideas and new ones. I like to have a big fat pipeline of stories in production and swirling around in the publishing universe. I really believe you can’t sell if you’re not submitting.

Submissions

Let’s take a look at my submissions for 2018.

A grand total of 126 submissions is pretty good! I had the chance to work on a project for teachers that totaled 11 different submissions, so that boosted the number. Also, I pitched a bunch of greeting card ideas this year, I think about a dozen. But I only counted each email as one pitch. So the number could go even higher.

If you add the rejections and acceptances, you might notice it doesn’t equal 126. That’s because most of the time, I just don’t hear back from places. I could assume those are rejections, but one time I received an acceptance over a year after I had submitted something! So I usually just leave it blank until I hear back.

I also completed one ghostwriting project in 2018 and will complete another in 2019. I could count those as “acceptances.”

In total last year, I had a 20% acceptance rate. That feels very good. I feel very confident when I send some stories out to my favorite magazines. But I also signed a deal for my first non-fiction book that will come out in fall 2019. That felt amazing.

A Busy Year

Here’s how my work looked month to month.


My busiest month in 2018 was November, and I didn’t submit anything in February or June.

I’d like to change that this year and try to submit something every month, even if it’s only one thing. So far, so good on that goal in 2019. I already have 21 submissions. I’m bummed to report I also already have six rejections. But that also means I have six stories that could work somewhere else! Revise! Repurpose! Resubmit!

 

Do you keep track of your submissions? Rejections? Acceptances?

You can see my other yearly recap here.

 

Children’s Illustration Class

I’m taking a children’s illustration class and it’s scary.

It’s class hosted by our local arts center, the North Hills Center for the Arts.

The teacher isn’t scary.

Our instructor is Jeanine Murch and she does some lovely work! I’m especially excited to learn about lettering from her.

The other people in the class aren’t scary. In fact, my friends Beth and Jessica are in the class.

What’s scary is that I don’t have any confidence in myself as an illustrator. I love to doodle and draw and feel I’ve painted and sketched a few nice things lately. But I haven’t achieved something that feels like an illustration to me. I want to create something COOL.

What if I can’t do it?

Do It Anyway

Our homework for next week is to bring in a two page spread that illustrates either a story from a list Jeanine provided, or illustrates something of our own. I have an idea of a story of my own that I might tackle, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it looks better in my mind than it will on the page.

A lot the art I create feels very static, like a photograph capturing an image. But for illustration, I want there to be action and emotion. I want an illustration that tells a story.

I’m pretty confident about my writing. When I go into workshops, I feel connected with words and my ability to craft a sentence that evokes emotions and tells a story. But can I do this with art? I’m just not sure.

It’s ok to be scared, though. Taking this class will be good for me, because if you don’t ask questions, you can’t learn new things.

I’m glad that in addition to this class, I’m also doing #kidlitart28 because having the daily task to create some art is keeping me honest.

In addition to me learning about illustration for myself, I do hope that this class will help me as RA for our SCBWI region. I want to do my best to support all of our members, not just writers.

It’s scary trying something new like this, but I’m going through with it because I know it won’t hurt me. I know I will learn a ton. I may even find that I can create something I’m proud of in the end!