Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Imitation and learning from the experience of others is, as the old proverb says, the most sincere form of flattery. Learning from experienced writers and studying their habits is good training, and, complementary. Hopefully what we work away on and produce will be well-received so that important writers are pleased and flattered.

Recently I was viewing writers' websites and was fascinated with Jane Yolen's. As an author of over 300 books and noted as one of the best children's authors of our time, Jane noted on her journal/blog that she was currently working on at least six WIPs, at the same time. Wow - busy, prolific and hard working. What an example.

Jane's writing is also an inspiration for me - her style and mastery of poetry and sense of imagination of children. Look at the wonder of Owl Moon. With her smooth ease and expertise of language coupled with her love of nature and the environment, Jane brings adventure to the life for children. Her work day is committed, too - committing to and controlling five to seven WIPs with different manuscript lives at the same time.

Who are your favorite children's authors - past or present - and how do they inspire you to imitate them? Reading about Jane has re-inspired me to really commit the time as she does and to get to concentrated work - on a number of my WIPs. Maybe someday some one will be flattering us through imitation.


  1. I could not agree with you more about Jane Yolen. She is both aspirational and inspirational.

  2. For me, it's Kevin Henkes. What talent!

  3. Neil Gaiman has an incredible imagination and a wonderful way of stringing together words...and he's hot (see picture below).

  4. I can be as inspired by a debut author as I am from prolific authors like Jane Yolen. I've read some books over the past month that have opened doors for me -- and all for different reasons. Authors like Sarah Zarr and Natalie Standiford who give voice to complex teen-age relationships. Or Louis Sachar who makes a teen-aged boy's new found passion for bridge so fully believable and yes, exciting. I've found myself gobling up books this summer, reading for pure pleasure and then kicking back and considering just how these authors created their worlds.

  5. I can't say I have a favorite author, but there are individual books I find inspiring:

    Jandy Nelson's debut novel, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, is a gripping story of grief, beautifully told, and wonderfully crafted.

    But my all time favorite is Markus Zusak's THE BOOK THIEF. Every time I read it (and I just re-read it for the fourth time in a year) I find something else inspirational.

  6. Judy Blume. Are You There God, It's Me Margaret spoke to me in a way that no book ever had. Margaret's struggles were my struggles and reading it made me feel less alone during that awkward, pre-pubescent age. After that, I read all of Ms. Blume's books voraciously. I love her voice and her ability to turn every day life into an interesting drama.