Pam’s Blog

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read my musings about writing, fiction, children’s literacy and many other things I love. If you like what see, please feel free to let me know. Thank you!

Slang, texting-codes and YA/kids’ books Those of us who write for children and teens (esp. those of us who have long since left teenhood in the dust) have what I’ll call the slang issue. Slang changes every two minutes; you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t use it. One resource I’ve found helpful: Also, as I’ve blogged about before, I use a ... Read more

Swearing and YA/kids’ books     Kids speak their own language, and it’s not always polite. Parents and teachers may need to exercise discipline, but young adult and children’s authors have to walk a fine line between capturing the real life of their demographic (or risking their readers tossing the book away), and not getting their book banned or snubbed by the powers-that-be. When I launched my career ... Read more

Hello, Missouri educators! Educators! Time to save the date for the Write to Learn Conference: Feb. 15-17, 2018. It’s at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri, and I will be offering two seminars there on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. That also makes me available for school and library talks in the region and it’s not too early to book those. Of course, ... Read more

Novel complete, vacation overdue! On the wings of having just completed a new young-adult adventure novel, I joined my husband for a vacation hiking the Joshua Tree National Park, California for several days. The cacti were in full bloom, the temperatures were perfect and it was my first time visiting this amazing place. Read more

Finishing a novel What do I do when I finish a novel (as I just have)? 1. Clean my office. 2. Do all the chores that have piled up  as I wrote my last few chapters (during that last dash to the finish line, I am aware of very little else around me!). 3. Conduct a final polishing of my draft from start to finish and ... Read more

Writing a novel, Stage II I used to have a roommate who was a “colorist”; as a young artist intern, she colored-in the black and white artwork of a senior artist. Recently, it occurred to me that Stage II of writing a novel is kind of like that, at least for me. When I finish a first draft, I make sure the plot is working. Then ... Read more

Learning a new language = insight into encouraging… I often joke that I like to learn foreign languages because it feels so good when I stop. It’s not a process that comes easily to me; whatever side of the brain it requires isn’t my strongest. But I recently came across a website that offers tips on learning a language, and it occurred to me that many of these apply ... Read more

Writing “in the zone” Doesn’t happen often, but isn’t it a thrill when your writing goes “into the zone.” What does that mean? For me, it means inspiration is flowing like water through a fire hose, and I resent making time for eating, sleeping or socializing. It means that when I do take a break, I feel guilty because I “feel” my characters waiting impatiently ... Read more

“Never make reading a chore” by James McCann, former reluctant reader, former bookseller, now library digital services technician and author of teen books. Excerpted from Jump-Starting Boys by Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill (Viva Editions). Reading is important because it opens up your mind to new possibilities. The imagination allows us to think outside the box. If I had been an avid reader as a kid, ... Read more

A parent’s greatest gift What’s the greatest gift parents can give their child? Taking care of their own emotional health. When a parent struggles with anxiety, depression or anger issues, there is a hundred percent chance the children will be affected by it. On the other hand, when parents choose to deal with their own internal “stuff,” they become more able to guide their children to emotional ... Read more

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