Cover image for Story sparkers : a creativity guide for children's writers
Story sparkers : a creativity guide for children's writers
Dadey, Debbie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cincinnati, Ohio : Writer's Digest Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
216 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN147.5 .D33 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This book shows children's writers how to generate, assess, and apply ideas for fiction as well as nonfiction, short projects as well as long ones. They'll find exercises, worksheets, and guidelines that will enable them to apply what they learn to on-going projects - or to help them begin new projects. The authors begin with an overview of how to write for children then move into the specifics of idea generation. Readers will learn creativity techniques, where to find ideas, how to assess each idea's potential and which form will suite the idea best - picture book, chapter book or nonfiction article. Marcia Thronton Jones and Debbie Dadey are the authors of the bestselling Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series, Triplet Trouble series, and the Bailey City Monsters series, all published by Scholastic. Both speak at writer's conferences across the country. Children's writers will recognize the names of these authors and want to find out their formula for success. There is no other book like this one for children's writers.

Author Notes

Marcia Thornton Jones was born in Joliet, Illinois on July 15, 1958. After graduating with high distinction from the University of Kentucky, she became an elementary-school teacher. She received a Master's degree in 1987 from Georgetown College.

She is known for co-authoring the Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series. Her co-author Debbie Dadey was the head librarian at the same elementary school when they started writing together. The first title they wrote together was Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots and from this emerged The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series.

Even though they no longer live near each other they are still collaborating on titles. They are also authors of several series including The Triplet Trouble series, the Bailey City Monsters series, and Keyholders series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Writers Don't Run Out of Ideasp. 1
Chapter 1 Get Sparkingp. 5
How to Use This Bookp. 5
Where to Writep. 6
The Marketsp. 8
Picture Books
Easy Readers
Chapter Books
Middle-Grade Novels
Young-Adult Novels
Poetry and Verse
Which Genre Should You Choose?p. 20
What's Hotp. 21
What's Goodp. 25
Summaryp. 27
Chapter 2 The Blank Pagep. 29
Brainstormingp. 31
Webbingp. 33
Freewritingp. 35
Listingp. 37
Questioningp. 38
Researchingp. 39
The Five Sensesp. 40
Overheard Conversationsp. 42
Dialoguesp. 43
Lettersp. 44
Real Letters
Fictional Letters
The Big Ideap. 47
What If?p. 48
Thinking Smallp. 49
Picturesp. 51
Pet Peevesp. 51
Readingp. 52
Forced Relationshipsp. 53
Time Linesp. 55
Possessionsp. 57
Doodlingp. 58
In My Shoesp. 59
Musical Musep. 60
Summaryp. 61
Chapter 3 A Famous Author Once Saidp. 63
Experiences and Memoriesp. 64
The Great Big Worldp. 66
Things Kids Care Aboutp. 68
The School Connection (Curriculum-Based Ideas)p. 69
Writing to Rememberp. 71
Where Did They Get Their Ideas?p. 72
Editors' Advicep. 87
Summaryp. 88
Chapter 4 Igniting the Sparksp. 89
Fiction Elementsp. 90
Character Activities
Story Climax
Nonfiction Elementsp. 101
Nonfiction Beginnings
Nonfiction Middles
Nonfiction Endings
Summaryp. 106
Chapter 5 The Writing Processp. 107
Thinkingp. 107
Draftingp. 109
Rewritingp. 110
Editingp. 114
Publishingp. 115
Our Writing Processp. 117
Summaryp. 118
Chapter 6 Sculpting Your Ideasp. 119
Point of Viewp. 120
First Person
Third Person
Third-Person Omniscient
Third-Person Limited Omniscient
Third-Person Objective
Voicep. 123
Word Choice (or the Art of Being Specific)p. 125
Verbs and Adverbs
Present Tense vs. Past Tense
Active Verbs vs. Passive Verbs
Verb Choice
Nouns and Adjectives
Noun Choice
Rhythmp. 129
Rhythm in Poetry and Verse
Hooksp. 131
One-line Summaryp. 133
Themep. 134
Dialoguep. 135
Show, Don't Tellp. 137
Figurative Languagep. 137
Summaryp. 138
Chapter 7 A Firm Foundationp. 141
Outlinesp. 141
Listingp. 143
Subtopicp. 143
Synopses of Sectionsp. 144
Story Elementsp. 144
Plot Eventsp. 146
Fiction-Book Plannersp. 146
Assessing Audience and Appropriate Genresp. 149
Summaryp. 151
Chapter 8 When Your Battery Diesp. 153
Writing Through Writer's Blockp. 153
Research to Enrich Ideasp. 154
Write Out of Sequencep. 156
Give Yourself Permission to Failp. 156
Recognize Your Distractions and Excusesp. 157
Set Page or Word Quotasp. 158
Enroll in a Writing Class or Workshopp. 159
Collaborate With a Friendp. 160
Join a Writers Groupp. 161
Read a Classicp. 165
Review the Previous Day's Workp. 166
Write a Letter to Your Audiencep. 167
Keep an Open Mindp. 167
Set Attainable Goalsp. 168
Summaryp. 169
Chapter 9 A Leap of Faithp. 171
Castles, Gazebos, and Mudroomsp. 171
Golden Opportunitiesp. 174
Panning for Gold: Choosing the Ideas to Pursuep. 176
Jump In!p. 179
Preparing Manuscriptsp. 179
Keeping Up With It Allp. 181
Summaryp. 183
Appendix A Awards and Honorsp. 187
Appendix B Organizationsp. 188
Appendix C Booksp. 188
Appendix D Publicationsp. 190
Appendix E Web Sitesp. 190
Appendix F Writer's Lingop. 191
Appendix G Plannersp. 193
Appendix H 100 Quick Story Sparksp. 204
Indexp. 209