Monday, July 13, 2015

Writing 101

How to be a Writer
by Victoria Anne Krol

You might ask yourself, how do I become a writer?

You might look at the book Spilling Ink for help.

You might ask other authors what they do.

Here is my article with some tips on what you need to know about writing and querying- I'd never heard of that verb.

Last day of school, helping Ms. Bennett pack up her room.
I am Box Lady, hear me roar!
To be a writer, you have to have an imagination and a good source of ideas.  A good source could be anything; a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or even a person that knows a lot of information about your topic!

You will also need a writing group.  Well, you don't always need a group, but it is easier to have others to help you think.  You should always have a pad and pencil nearby in case an idea strikes you and your computer isn't working.  I sometimes get ideas in the middle of the night, but I don't write them down because I'm sleepy, and when I wake up, I don't remember the idea.

It happens… must remember to wake up and write the ideas down on that pad.

Time and passion for your work is essential because sometimes meetings or brainstorming sessions can take up to three hours.

You will probably need an idea (duh!) for your story.  If you having a hard time coming up with an idea, you can use Mad Libs or sit somewhere where your imagination flow is the strongest.  For me, it is in my tree garden where I have a writing table or my front yard where I can set up my blanket. Sometimes, if I don't have an idea, I play with my Lego's or do arts and crafts.  Here I am making insects out of pipe cleaners.

Summer, doing absolutely nothing, on our blanket, in PJ's.
I just spotted a bird's nest above me.

You also need to be able to edit it because sometimes what you write doesn't work as well as something else.  This is when your group can really help you, if you let them. Sometimes it can be hard to let go of your writing when you edit it because you get attached to it.  It happened to my mom during the group meeting.  She didn't want to change her words.

When you edit things, it is easier to have someone else edit them for you because some things that you think are wright actually aren't and others can spot it.  If you have a group, you have to be able to trust them and their edits.  It is okay to have "stubborn characters" and "over helpful partners."  It's what makes writers, writers.

When you submit your story, you have to write a query letter (new word for me).  You first have to look up agencies on line and see if you can find ones your really like.  Then you read the rules, which are called the "submission requirements" so you do it correctly.

My mom's group was meeting to this together.  Mom spent all day on the couch with her computer reading about agencies and agents.  By the end of the night, she had picked four she thought would be good. Her writing partners, Sue and Lupe, helped her re-write her letter.  Mom got upset when they made lots and lots of changes to her letter.  And by the time they finished, Mom loved the letter.  She told me that writer's often "get attached" to their words.  She's glad she has her writing buddies to keep her on track.

Steps for a Query Letter:

1- tell them who you are and what you have written.
2- where you have submitted your work
3- then include a synopsis (really cool word) and the word count
4- and finally, make your letter succinct (another good spelling word)

I asked the group what else they thought makes a good writer.  They said-

and more editing
typing and more typing

I think I get it.

And mom added sharing and networking too.

I really, really enjoyed watching the Pen and Ink team work on query letters and support each other. Lupe lives in Northern California, so he was Skyping with us. Sue, Mommy, and I set up our large folding table in the living room and set up our computers and got to work.

Just call us the Query Ladies.
You can't see Lupe, but he's on the TV in front of us.
I was able to read Sue's book, Tasha, and too bad I am not an editor or it would already be published.  It was excellent. And I read everyone's query letters and they were very good. 

The result of the meeting? Everyone submitted to at least one agency.  


Writing is a lot of hard work and some of the work isn't even about writing your story.  I guess you have to really, really love it to do it because it's harder to do than my homework.

And I can't wait to do it more!

I took lot of notes- if I could only read my handwriting!
What are some tips you have about query letters and submitting?  Let's share!


  1. Replies
    1. uh , wow...thank you so much

  2. Victoria, I am so proud of your writing. I will get to say "I knew her when."
    This is a wonderful post I can't wait to share it. Thank you!

  3. Dear Victoria,
    "To be a writer, you have to have an imagination and a good source of ideas."

    Uh oh, I'm in trouble. Imagination, huh? I'll work on it.

    Sorry we upset your mom. She makes create great cookies.

    My tips for writing a query letter:
    1) Don't mention how much your dog, cat or alligator likes your manuscript
    2) Spell the addressee's name correctly.

    Lupe F.
    Foreign Correspondent Stationed in the Northern Hinderlands

  4. Sometimes books begin as articles....good luck!

  5. What a great post! There is excellent advice here for writers of all ages. Thanks!

  6. Wonderful article Victoria! I loved your fresh voice and unique perspective describing how the Pen and Ink team collaborated and helped each other with the query process. You are so right that we writers get "attached to our words" and that teamwork can be so helpful in opening our eyes to a new way of articulating something. I also adored your idea of picking a good writing spot which encourages imaginative information flow. I think I am going to put that good advice to use next time I have something challenging to write and pick a better, more inspiring location from which to approach my topic. Perhaps one where I can't get interrupted as much too! Carry on, talented young lady! Your future is bright! :)

    1. I ,victoria a. krol cannot express how much your words go to my heart.


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