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!


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

Outlining a novel with math When I was struggling with math in high school, I decided it was no big deal because I was going to be an author, and why would an author need math?! Ha! Big mistake. Let me tell you all the ways. Yes, you can use Word to do word-counts as you write,  but there are book advances and royalties, and all ... Read more

A week in Toronto: from book signing to visiting m… Just wrapped up a week in Toronto, Ontario, where at the Ontario Librarians Association Super Conference, I autographed copies of my middle-grade novel Bungee Jump for Orca Books, met Dundurn Press publicist Jaclyn Hodsdon and marketing coordinator Kyle Gray, and lunched with my literary agent, Lynn Bennett of Transatlantic Literary Agency. Also spent some time with my favorite editor, Allyson ... Read more

Who reads what? Male vs female tastes Nonfiction books checked out at primary school libraries: 75% cent to boys, 25% to girls. Book readers overall: men, 46%; women 54%. Literary readers: men, 37%; women, 63%. Heavy readers: men, 29%; women, 71%. Readers of science fiction and horror: men, 17%; women, 8%. Readers of mystery and suspense: men, 14%; women, 24%. Readers of history and war: men, 9%; women, negligible. Readers of science and technology: ... Read more

Writing toolbox for kids Tools such as storyboards, writing frames, scaffolds, and templates allow kids to use their analytical skills. For instance, if your child can remember the acronym POWER, it will help get him started: P is for plan, O is for organize, W is for write, E is for edit, and R is for revise. Another visual prompt: Draw a hamburger and then ... Read more

Happy new year 2017 (polar bear swim) I wanted to prove that turning 60 hasn’t made me into an unadventurous bore. So I took on a dare to do the New Year’s Day 2017 polar bear swim. It was hovering below zero  but my young friend Bella and I took the plunge anyway. (No, I didn’t get my hair wet.) Okay, whatever I think I proved is now ... Read more

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      A great success. The students were engaged and inspired. I particularly appreciated your explanation that the editing and refining of writing goes on even when you are a published author.

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