Blog
Results for the "Writing Tips" Category

On February 6th the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) kicked off 2015 with its winter conference in New York City. This was the third conference I’ve attended, and my first as a member of the faculty.

If you’re interested in writing or illustrating children’s books, I really can’t recommend the SCBWI more highly. Writing can be a very solitary career, and it’s wonderful to come together now and again with like-minded people to discuss your shared pursuits and passion. The SCBWI brings together writers, illustrators, agents, editors, and other publishing professionals to provide what is really an unrivaled collection of talent and experience. At any given conference you’re likely to fi [...]
Read More...
Posted on Feb 28, 2015                         
   Comments (0)


BIG News!!!

I can officially share the news via Publisher's Weekly

HC Nabs Neff’s New Middle-Grade Fantasy

Henry H. Neff, author/illustrator of the bestselling fantasy series the Tapestry (Random House), sold a new middle-grade fantasy, called Impyrium, to HarperCollins Children’s Books. Antonia Markiet bought North American rights to the novel, in a three-book pre-empt, from Josh Adams at Adams Literary. The book, the first in a planned series [...]
Read More...
Posted on Aug 18, 2014                         
   Comments (6)


Henry Answers Reader Questions
Henry answers reader questions about THE RED WINTER, The Tapestry series, and his new project, "Impyrium." He also shows off his awesome summer tan.


Posted on Aug 15, 2014                         
   Comments (2)


Takeaways from SCBWI

This past week I attended the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) national conference in Los Angeles. For those unfamiliar with SCBWI, it's an organization that brings together people from all areas of children's publishing — writers, illustrators, editors, agents, art directors, publicists, etc. If you're interested in making children's books, it's an organization you really need to join.

The week was inspiring and exhausting. I can't think of another context in which one can converse with an aspiring writer, all-mighty publisher, and Newbery award winner in the space of ten minutes. Yes, that actually happened. You get to take some time and focus on your craft while gleaning [...]
Read More...
Posted on Aug 07, 2014                         
   Comments (0)


An Approach to Word Building

Every author is a world builder, an architect of settings and characters that interact in various ways. Fantasy and science-fiction writers are particularly reliant on world building because the settings, denizens, or rules by which their world(s) operate are more imaginative. The best are able to balance fantastical elements with plausibility and realize a place that has real weight and dimension — a world that the reader finds both authentic and enticing. This is easier said than done and thus I'm going to share an approach that I've found helpful.

When I tackle world building, I use an acronym from my days as a history teacher. The acronym is S.P.R.I.T.E and its letters stand for the following aspects of a civilization: Society, Politics, Religi [...]
Read More...
Posted on Jan 13, 2014                         
   Comments (2)


My Favorite Holiday Reads

The holidays are a particularly magical time of year — a stretch of quiet, lazy days with frost on the windowpanes. Perfect reading conditions. For me, the holidays are a period when I like to revisit some favorite books and stories. Here are some of my seasonal favorites:

1. The Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame - the perfect blend of coziness, humor, and adventure with snippets of lyrical, soul-stirring philosophy. Really, a perfect book and one that has influenced so many other authors (Tolkien not the least of them). Toad is one of literature's all-time great characters and the scene where Rat is comforting Mole and making him feel important will have you dabbing your eyes.

2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien - I've always felt that [...]
Read More...
Posted on Dec 18, 2013                         
   Comments (3)


Creating Compelling Characters
Henry discusses "Hook, Line, and Sinker" — his approach to developing characters for The Tapestry.


Posted on Dec 11, 2013                         
   Comments (0)


Getting Published

I receive many emails from fellow writers who want to get their work published. I’m often asked how this process works and what “secrets” I can share. While I’m short on trade secrets, I’ll address the topic as best I can. Keep in mind that my take is simply that — my limited and imperfect perspective on an involved and ever-changing process. I’m hardly an expert and I would strongly encourage you to explore what reputable sources like the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org) have to say on the subject. Also, the advice below is limited to getting your work published via a traditional publisher. I know very little about self-publishing other than that itâ [...]
Read More...
Posted on Sep 30, 2013                         
   Comments (1)


Answering Some Reader Questions
Some readers were kind enough to lob in a few questions via Facebook. Here are their answers.



Posted on Jul 28, 2013                         
   Comments (18)


Visualizing Scenes

There are times any writer hits a wall and has difficulty pushing forward. Whenever I get stuck, I'll spend some time drawing the scene I'm trying to write. This has several benefits — it keeps me engaged in The Tapestry's world, allows me to use different creative "muscles", and permits me to work on the story without necessarily spinning my wheels on the aspect that's giving me trouble. Often, when I've completed a sketch of a difficult scene, my brain has untangled some of the writing snags and I can continue on my way...

This particular sketch is from a scene in The Red Winter...a scene in which Max meets The Morrigan.
Posted on Jan 14, 2013                         
   Comments (3)