Anastasia Suen

Developmental Editor

Category: creativity (Page 2 of 13)

Failure is an Event

“Failure is an event — it is not a person.” Zig Ziglar

Failure is part of the creative process, but that doesn’t make it easy.

When something doesn’t work, you have to start over (and over and over).

The flip side of failure, the other side of that coin, is the fact that we all experience it.

As a developmental editor I often read early drafts of stories without any real problems for the main character. A story starts when something changes, when the main character suddenly has a problem to solve.

Without a problem, the story doesn’t feel real to us. It is not our truth.

Another common early draft scenario I encounter is a story with a problem that is quickly solved.

Stories with problems that are easily solved don’t feel quite real either. Where are the failures? Where is the struggle that we all experience?

The stories that satisfy are the ones where the main character fights an uphill battle as things continue to go wrong. The situation gets worse as the story continues.

Despite all of the problems, we keep reading because we have been there too. Even in fantasy story that takes place somewhere we have never been, we identify with the main character because we have been there on an emotional level. We have lived that experience in some way. It is our truth.

This is why we keep reading until the story reaches the final battle in Act 3 and at long last, the main character finally figures out what to do.

You have to pick yourself up and keep going.

Creating isn’t easy. It is hard.

But after all of that failure, success feels so very good.

Failure is an event–

in the stories we write

and the stories we live.

Will you make time to create
and fail –and then keep creating this week?

P.S. On Sundays I have been sharing quotes about the creative process on another site, but now that the posts have evolved into writing about my day job as a developmental editor, it makes more sense for me to share these posts here with the #amwriting #kidlit hashtags. Enjoy!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

NEW Naturally Creative blog

After we moved back to California last fall, I promised myself that I would work on my own creative projects but unless I schedule it,


I know I am not the only one . . .

. . . so this summer I am using my site (renamed Naturally Creative) in a new way — to send a quote with a short creativity prompt each day (in the wee hours of the morning so my writers in Europe, Africa, and Asia can see it on the same day I send it).

If you want to play along, feel free to add a comment each day saying that you worked on your creative project 30 minutes that day as well.

The quote above was posted yesterday. Today’s quote is:

Happy creating!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Write a Children’s Book


Q. I want to write my own children’s book. Where do I start?
Start by reading, reading, reading! The children’s books on the shelves will help you write your book, revise your book, and sell your book!

Q. How can reading children’s books help me write my own book?
Reading recently published books like the ones that you want to write can help you see how other authors handled your topic or theme. These books can help you learn your craft.

Reading new books will also help you see what editors are buying. Editors look at other books on your topic or theme to help them decide if they will buy your book or not. If that’s what the agents and editors do, then you need to do it too!

This is why I post a new booktalk Monday through Saturday!

Q. How long should my children’s book manuscript be?
The length of the book depends on the age of the child who will be reading it. The older the child is, the longer the book will be. Check the word count guides at:

Q. Do I need an agent to sell my book? Or do I send it to editors?
If you send your book to editors first (and don’t sell it) most agents will NOT want to handle that book later because the book has already been shopped. If you think you might want to work with an agent, start that search first.

Q. What do agents charge?
A. Reputable agents do NOT charge a fee
to read your work or to send it out. The agent is paid on commission, so no money changes hands until the book sells–and it is the publisher who pays the agent, not the writer. Most agents take a 15% commission, so they earn 15% of all funds paid for the sales they make.

Q. Why should I pay an agent 15%?
An agent can send your book to publishers that are “closed” to submissions.

FYI: When you send your book to an editor that you have never met at a “closed” publishing house, your work will not be read. Some send it back to you while others toss it in the trash. Delete!

Q. How can I find an agent?
Follow the directions on my How to Find a Literary Agent page.

Of course, none of this will happen if you don’t write the book first! So begin at the beginning. Start reading, reading, reading–and then start writing!

Are you ready to work with a writing mentor?

The author of 275 books for children, teens, and adults, I have been working as a developmental editor with writers from all levels of the continuum (beginner to already published) since 1999. Some of my writers sold the books they wrote or revised in the critiques while others continued to master their craft and sold their first book later.

  1. If you want guidance as you write your first draft, sign up for the Intensive Picture Book Workshop or the Children’s Novel Workshop.
  2. If you want guidance to take your completed children’s book manuscript to the next level, sign up for a Picture Book WIP Critique or a Children’s Novel WIP Critique via email or phone.

Let’s start working together!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Page 2 of 13

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