You Think it Can’t Happen? How My Two Picture Books Were Stolen by a Major Publisher

Open Mind

When I was in eighth grade I wrote two short stories for our English teacher, Mr. Mortem, a malevolent-looking man with a low brow and small beady eyes. We joked that he moonlighted as an axe murderer. But he was even scarier as an English teacher. He snapped girls’ bras in the hallway and terrorized us with menacing-sounding exams called “evaluations,” which turned out to be ordinary multiple-choice tests. When we turned in our stories, Mr. Mortem said he didn’t believe I’d written mine. How would he know? All he’d ever seen of my writing were checkmarks on his “evaluations.”  He also didn’t know how disenchanted I was in school, or how passionate I was about writing. “I’m going to keep this story so you won’t try to use it again in high school,” he said. My stories, according to Mr. Mortem, were too good for me to have written.Inside, I was seething.Just wait. Someday I’ll be a real writer. … Read on

Pamela Jane is the author of over thirty books from board books to memoir. She is also a writing coach, freelance writer, and public speaker. Learn more about her by booking a school visit, perusing her blog, or reading her memoir, An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer's Story.

I’m Not Panicking – This is Just My Writing Process!

Little Elfie One by Pamela Jane

Years ago I took a weekend seminar with renowned screenwriting teacher, Bob McKee.  The large auditorium was packed.  Screenwriters, novelists, children’s authors, and editors of all genres had come to hear McKee talk about the art of writing and storytelling.  I could hardly wait for the seminar to start. McKee walked out on stage and stood for a moment, looking out at the audience.  Everyone was silent, waiting for him to begin. “Writing,” he said finally, his intense gaze scanning the audience, “is not about the words.” Yes! I thought, someone finally said it!  I had always felt that words were merely messengers of a deeper truth concealed behind or beneath them. Writing, McKee went on to say, is about characters, meaning, and emotional impact.  Recently I rediscovered the truth of McKee’s statement when I sat down to write Little Elfie One, a Christmas sequel to my rhyming Halloween book Little Goblins Ten, which had been published the year before.  … Read on

Pamela Jane is the author of over thirty books from board books to memoir. She is also a writing coach, freelance writer, and public speaker. Learn more about her by booking a school visit, perusing her blog, or reading her memoir, An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer's Story.

How I Broke Into Publishing – Literally!

broken china

Years ago, when I was struggling to write my first children’s book, a noted writing teacher and expert in the field of children’s literature, offered some advice. “If you want to get published,” she said, “don’t write fantasy, don’t write seasonal material and for heaven’s sake, don’t write about dolls!” She suggested instead that I wrote about “real life”-my own authentic childhood experience. This was sound advice, as far as it went. The trouble was, my idea for a Christmas story about an ambitious ballerina doll was my authentic childhood experience. As a little girl, I had been deeply impressed by the seeming dedication and discipline of a lovely ballerina doll sent by a favorite aunt. When I explained this, my teacher shook her head, “It’ll never sell.” I went home and told my husband about what happened. To my surprise, my usually kind and supportive spouse said something so infuriating and outrageous that I hurled a china vase against … Read on

Pamela Jane is the author of over thirty books from board books to memoir. She is also a writing coach, freelance writer, and public speaker. Learn more about her by booking a school visit, perusing her blog, or reading her memoir, An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer's Story.