Ask Eric

Eric enjoys answering questions from his readers. Submit a question and it might even be posted here on his website.

Ms. Shetka and her class from New Prague, Minnesota ask: I am a second grade teacher in Minnesota, who has read all of your ‘Anansi’ the spider books to my students. We absolutely love those books, and have become very attached and interested in the characters! We were wondering if you have any new Anansi books coming out anytime soon?

Eric answers:  I wish I had good news for you. There aren’t go to be any more Anansi stories at this point. My artist friend, Janet Stevens, is busy with other projects. Our publisher, Holiday House, has been sold to a Chinese publishing company. I don’t know if they or any other publisher is going to publish more Anansi stories. I’ve asked. So far I haven’t seen much interest. That’s the way it goes.

But don’t sit around moping. You know the characters and what they’re like. Why not write some of your own stories about Anansi the Spider? You could illustrate them, too. Send me copies. I’d love to see them.

Elli from Maryland asks: I was wondering how you get all of these ideas. They’re so creative and interesting.

Eric answers: Thank you for the compliment, Elli. There’s no magic trick or special place I visit to get ideas. It’s mostly a matter of starting out with an image and working with it until a story develops. That’s the most exciting and most challenging part of writing. In the case of my newest book, Rattlestiltskin, which will be published in May, I wanted to tell the story of Rumplestiltskin with a Texas twist. The original story in Grimm’s Fairy Tales is magnificent, but it’s also dark and creepy. I wanted to soften that and make it lighter. I also wanted my heroine to have some spirit. She’s a doormat in the original tale. She spends her time crying and weeping. My heroine, Rosalia, is not going to stick around and become a victim. Check out the story HERE. I hope you’ll like it.

One more thing, Elli. Would you and your friends make sure the email address works for me to write back to you? I get lots of emails from children all the time who give me a school address. Most school email filters will not accept mail from an outside, unapproved address. This is a good idea to keep children safe. But it also means I can’t write back and I have no way of contacting them. That’s what happened with your email. I hope you find my answer on the website. It’s the only way I have of contacting you. Please spread the word.  I hope children don’t think I ignore their emails. I answer every one. 

Luna from Manila asks: Is there any time you are writing, you get ‘writer’s block’ [ losing your inspiration] ? If  so, how do you recover from it? If not, do you have any advice if it does happen?

Eric answers: Writer’s block is real. I’ve experienced it lots of times. It’s a form of depression. You feel as if nothing you’re writing is worthwhile. You just don’t want to do it. You feel as if you have nothing to write about and never will. Mark Twain used to call it “draining the well.” Your well of ideas is dry. There’s nothing to do but wait for it to fill up again. When I feel like that I know that it’s time to stay away from my desk and do something else that I enjoy. I might go for a long bike ride or practice my banjo. I might not attempt to write something for several weeks. Slowly but surely, I’ll start to miss it. Some ideas will form. Before too long, I feel that it’s time to get back to work. I have something to write about.

On the other hand, I find that most students who think they have writer’s block have something else going on. In most cases they haven’t given their stories enough thought. They get a good idea and start writing without knowing where the story is going or how it will end. They’re not blocked. They haven’t spent enough time thinking before they began writing. I spend a lot of time thinking about a story before I write the first word. Who are the characters? What are they like? What’s the problem that they have to solve. How do they solve it? What’s in their way? How does the story end? I can always change my mind later on as new ideas form. However, I have a strong sense of where I’m going before I begin. 

Other students get “blocked” because they don’t trust themselves enough or value their own ideas. They’re looking for the teacher to tell them what to write. They want the teacher to suggest ideas. Students like that have to develop the confidence that what they have to say is worthwhile. You know what you want to write about. You know which story you want to tell. Write about something that really happened. You don’t have to make up stories all the time. The teacher’s job is to give you the skills of writing. The content has to come from you. It had to be about people, things, ideas you care about.  If you don’t really care about what you write, no one else will care about it either. If it isn’t meaningful to you, it will never mean much to others.

Pia from Manila asks: My students in my 7th grade English class in Manila enjoyed reading Matajuro’s Training. We loved his transformation. What inspired you to write this story? What would you like young people to know about writing?

Eric answers: The story is from my collection of samurai stories from Japan: Sword of the Samurai. I became interested in samurai culture after spending three weeks in Japan, speaking at international schools in Tokyo and Osaka. Matajuro’s Training is one of my favorite stories because of what it says about education. Nobody really teaches us anything; we teach ourselves. A teacher can open a door, but you’re the one who has to walk through it. The ancient Greeks put it another way: “The mind is not a jug to be filled; it is a fire to be kindled.” Another important lesson comes at the end of the story: “Before you can master any art, you must first learn to master yourself.”

You, as a student, can do anything. Don’t blame others or make excuses. If you need to work harder, work harder. Do whatever it takes to accomplish the task. Success or failure are in your hand. 

If I can tell you one thing about writing, it would be this. Writing is hard work. It’s twice as hard when you’re writing something you don’t care about. Don’t worry about pleasing the teacher. Write about things you know about; things that mean something to you. Write about people you know. Write about things that happened to you or to someone you know. You’re not bound by the truth when you write a story. If you’d like to throw in some of your imagination, go ahead. If you like to go fishing, write about the time you caught a sea serpent. Who cares if it’s true as long as it’s a good story.

Another thought to keep in mind is that writing is mostly rewriting. Don’t expect to write a story once and have it be any good. Some of my best ideas come when I revise or when I read stories to my writer friends. They often suggest lots of good ideas that I can put into my next draft. Good writing doesn’t happen in five minutes. It takes more time than most people imagine. Give yourself time to think; time to write; time to thoughtfully read what you’ve written; and time to revise. If you can think of a way to make your story better, make it better. 

Restaurant chefs have a saying: Do you want it good or do you want it fast? When it comes to writing, I want it as good as I can make it.

Giovana from Maryland asks: Why do you like reading books?

Eric answers: What other activity can you do any time, anywhere, that doesn’t require batteries or special equipment? 

Sadie from Oregon asks: When I was little, my favorite book was Anansi and the talking melon. In second grade, my class went and saw the play of it at the Oregon Children’s Theatre. My favorite part of the play was when we sang along with the Anansi in the melon. Now, I’m almost 16, and sometimes I remember bits and pieces of the song, but I can never remember the whole thing! I don’t know why, but this is really important to me. Do you know where I could find that song?

Eric answers: Sadie, you made my day. It really is true that our favorite books stay with us our whole lives long. I’m glad one of mine did that for you. I don’t recall the Oregon Children’s Theater dramatizing that story. The Tears of Joy Puppet Theater definitely did. They’ve performed it many, many times over the years. I remember at least the last lines of the song you’re talking about: “We’ll see the king. The king will sing. The praises of this melon.” Am I right?

Here’s a link to Tears of Joy. Click HERE. They should be able to find the complete lyrics to the song for you. I know they’ll be as thrilled about that as I am.

Postscript: Sadie was able to track down the song. She wrote back: 

Hello it’s Sadie! I just wanted to thank you because you found the song!  I feel like my life is complete now 🙂 Thank you so much!!!

Nasim from Houston asks: What should I do so when I grow up I can be a good author like you?

Eric answers: That’s quite a compliment, Nasim. Thank you! The best advice I can give you is to be a good reader. I don’t know a single author who doesn’t love books and reading. Reading good books gives you a sense of what makes a good story. By reading you see how other authors go about putting words together to tell their stories. Is there anything you can learn for your own writing? When you read a book, always ask yourself what the author is doing to make you want to keep turning the pages until you get to the end. It works the other way, too. When you read a book that you don’t enjoy, ask yourself what the author is not doing to make the book work for you. Read books that will challenge you, so that your vocabulary and imagination will grow. Visit the library. Librarians always have good recommendations for books to read.

Another thing to remember is that writers write. Give yourself plenty of writing opportunities. Keep a journal. Write letters and email. Have a notebook or a computer file where you write down ideas and try them out. Writers don’t just write stories. There are all kinds of writing: movie and TV scripts, graphic novels, nonfiction, poetry, plays. Just keep writing. Try everything. Explore. Have adventures and write about them. Writing should be fun. It is for me. If a story or an idea isn’t working, set it aside and try something else. You don’t have to finish everything you start. I don’t. (But you should finish some!)

Also remember that the famous writers of tomorrow are kids today. Who knows? One of them may be you! 

Meredith from Pearland asks: How are you so good at drawing the pictures?

Eric answers: Your question made me laugh. How am I so good at drawing the pictures? I’m not! You can draw better than I can. My part of the book is writing the story. That’s what the author does. The illustrator draws pictures to go with it. Sometimes the author and the illustrator are the same person. Not in my case. I can’t draw to save my life. I need the help of talented artists to create pictures to go with my story. That’s why my books always have a different look. 

Did you think I was really that clever? Thank you, but I’m not.


Bella from Georgia asks: Why do you think young children enjoy your books so much? 

Eric answers: I think children enjoy my books because I know how to tell a good story. I was a storyteller before I was a writer. I quickly learned how to tell a story that children would enjoy. I worked mostly in the parks. If I wasn’t any good, the kids would get up and leave. They weren’t in school. Nobody could force them to stay. I had to work fro my audience. I think that was great preparation for being a writer.

 Another thing to consider is that words have sounds. The best way to tell good writing is to read a story aloud. The words should have rhythms. Bad writing always sounds flat. Good writing sings, like a song. One of the best compliments people have given me is to tell me how much they enjoy listening to my stories. When I hear that, I know I’ve done a good job.

Ann-Marie from Round Rock asks: Are your books fractured fairy tales?

Eric answers: Not all my books are fractured fairy tales. I write them because they’re fun and I enjoy the challenge. Any retelling is hard to do well. First, I have to ask myself, what can I create that hasn’t already been done? You have to tell the story with wit and style. Check out my latest book, Little Red Hot. I start with Little Red Riding Hood. Then I add some chili peppers.

Jaden from ??? asks: How do you feel when you write a book? How do you feel when kids read your books? Happy or nervous? How do you feel when you are done with your book? ?o you feel nervous or happy. When you write  books, do you like writing them or does it make you feel nervous? When you write a book, do you get easily distracted or you are always focusing on writing your books?  Do you want to be the best writer of the world or do you just want to be a writer for fun? When you write a book, do you feel like you want to stop or keep on writing more? Are you going to write another funny books because I really like the books you write?

Eric answers: Wow! That’s a lot of questions. And they’re all good ones. I think I can answer them together. Being a writer isn’t like being a contestant on American Idol. There are no winners or losers. I try to write the best book I can. I try to tell the characters’s story in the best possible way. If I can do that, I’m satisfied. As for the rest, what will be, will be. I hope readers will like what I’ve done. However, I have no control over that. What matters is whether or not I like what I’ve done. The world falls away when I’m writing. I enter into the story with my characters. Nothing else matters. I don’t feel nervous at all. Instead, I feel calm and excited at the same time. What’s going to happen next? As for being “the best writer in the world,” I don’t think about that at all. It’s a meaningless phrase. Everybody has their favorite writers. There are best-selling authors of fifty years ago who are totally forgotten today. At the same time there are authors who thought they were failures (Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald) who are regarded as being among literature’s finest writers. You bet I’m going to keep writing more books. It’s what I like to do best. And a lot of them are going to be funny because I like to laugh.

Hailey from Portland asks: What were your favorite Greek Mythology books as a kid? Do you know of any other good Greek Mythology books besides yours? I am really hooked on Greek Mythology.

Eric answers: My favorite and first mythology book was not for the average reader. It was Thomas Bulfinch’s The Age of Fable or The Beauties of Mythology. My Uncle Milton gave it to me as a present. I enjoyed the 19th century pictures even though I couldn’t read all of it right away. I grew into it over the years. Other collections that I loved were the D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths and anything by Padraic Colum. You should be able to find all of these in the library.

I admire Rick Riordan’s books too, although they weren’t around when I was a kid. They can be a great introduction to the myths. You’ve enjoyed the adventures. Now savor the stories behind them.

Nikki from San Francisco asks: What were your reasons for ending the Three Little Tamales the way you did? Why did you have Señor Lobo escape?

Eric answers: Originally, I didn’t. Letting him go was my editor’s idea. When I first wrote the story, the three little tamales cooked him in that big pot and made wolf tamales out of him. That’s what they were serving at their party. My editor was horrified. “Don’t kill the wolf! You’ll give kids nightmares.” I thought about it and decided she was right. So I let him jump back up the chimney and get away.

He shows up again in my latest book, Little Red Hot. The Three Little Tamales make a cameo appearance.

Anu from Beaverton asks: Does your snake bite?

Eric answers: My snake Pirate, who inspired my book Hiss-s-s-s!, has never bitten me. He has never tried to bite me or anyone else in all the year’s I’ve had him. My cat will bite you. That’s why I say the snake is the best behaved animal in the house.

Taylor from Warrenton asks: Why do you never draw and always write?

Eric answers: I never illustrate my own books because I have absolutely no artistic skill. You can draw better than I can. I stick to writing, which is what I do best.

Skyler from Pipersville asks: When you visited my school, Groveland Elementary, you talked about your book The Fisherman and the Turtle. You asked the question, “Are they poor?,” and by they I mean the fisherman and his wife. They were actually rich already in family. So my question is why did you ask that question?

Eric answers: That’s a good question. Let’s talk about. Are the fisherman and his wife “rich in family?” What is the evidence for that in the book? They have no children. They have no friends or neighbors. They’re very poor, living day to day. The wife is angry, abusive, and greedy. Does she ever say one kind word to her husband? No matter what he does, it’s never enough.

Just because you have a family doesn’t mean you’re “rich in family.” Some families are toxic.

That’s how I understand the story and that’s why I asked the question. I wanted readers to understand what these two people are like by showing them instead of telling about them. It’s a good technique. Try it with your own writing.

Thanks for being a thoughtful reader.

Liz from Philadelphia asks: How many books have you written and what inspired you to write these books? Are any related to your life?

Eric answers: Librarian friends who have done the count tell me I’ve written over 100 books. I don’t keep track. As far as I’m concerned, the only important book is the one I’m working on now. As for inspiration, I always tell myself, “Writers write. That’s their job, so write something.” There’s usually no earth-shattering inspiration. Something catches my attention; a folktale, a character, an idea. I run it around in my mind until a coherent story comes out. I write it down quickly to catch the idea. Then I revise, revise, revise. The only books really related to my life are the last two chapter books I’ve written. Hiss-s-s-s! is set in Oregon where I live. It’s about a boy, Omar, who wants a pet snake. I have a pet snake. Writing the book began as a way to get myself a pet snake. I could call it “research.” Then I became intrigued by the characters and the story and the book took off. Ghostboarders, which is still a manuscript that my agent is currently sending around to publishers, is mostly set in my neighborhood, on my street. It’s about skateboards, although you wouldn’t get me on one of those things. I’m too old. I can handle snakes. Not skateboards. Ghostboarder is a YA book, a big change from what I usually do. It turned out really well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will become a book some day.

Kate from Doylestown asks: How do authors publish their writing and get it made into a book?

Eric answers: That’s a good question. The process can be complicated. In it’s simplest form it works like this. An author writes a story and sends it to an editor. Editors work for a company called a publisher whose business it is to make and sell books. Editors choose the stories get made into books. Several editors may work for a publisher. The editors get together in what’s called an acquisition meeting. They talk about their favorite stories and decide which ones the publisher will publish as books. Generally, publishers want to publish books they think people will want to buy.

The author’s job is to write the story. The publisher takes care of everything else.

The digital age has made self-publishing available to authors at a fairly cheap price. You can create a digital version of your story and sell it over the internet. You don’t have to print books and store them in your garage. I can create an e-book using the software on my laptop. I can do it at my dining room table. E-books have changed the whole publishing field.

Nicholas from New Hope asks: I am part Russian. Have you ever been to Russia?

Eric answers: Yes. I’ve been to Russia twice. Several years ago I visited the Anglo-American School in Moscow. We were there for nine days. I had a wonderful time. We hired a terrific guide who took us all over. My favorite places were the Tretyakov Gallery and the Kremlin museums. I especially loved visiting churches. They were spectacular.

I also visited St. Petersburg when my wife and I took a cruise around the Baltic Sea. What a beautiful city! I enjoyed visiting many of the historical places I’d read about. We also traveled outside the city to visit some of the spectacular palaces of the tsars. My favorite was the Peterhof with its spectacular fountains. I was also impressed by the Catherine Palace, where I could imagine Catherine the Great coming out to welcome us.

We only saw a tiny fraction of what I’d love to see. I hope I have a chance to go back again.

Violet from Doylestown asks: Why do you sometimes make Spanish books?

Eric answers: It isn’t my decision. My editor decides that certain books are popular enough to bring out a Spanish edition. Why? A lot of adults and children in the United States and throughout the world speak Spanish. The more readers, the better. I wish my Spanish were good enough for me to do the translations myself, but I enjoy reading my words in Spanish. Do you know Spanish or any other languages? I speak four besides English—badly!

Bruce from ??? asks: Have any of your Hanukkah stories been translated into Hebrew?

Eric answers: To date, none of my Hanukkah stories or any of my other books has been translated into Hebrew. I don’t know why not. I’d certainly love to see it happen. Maybe it will someday.

Sierra from Newtown asks: Why do you repeat the last line on every page of your book, The Erie Canal Pirates?

Eric answers: That’s a good question. That’s because it’s not a story to be read; it’s a song to be sung. I modeled my words on an old Erie Canal song that goes back before the Civil War. Click HERE if you’d like to hear how it goes. This is a great version sung by the Weavers with Pete Seeger on the banjo.

Erika from Bucyrus asks: Why did you mix tortillas and tamales in your book, The Three Little Tamales?

Eric answers: The Three Little Tamales began as a sequel to an earlier book, The Runaway Tortilla. If you compare the two books, you’ll see that they both begin the same way with a description of Tia Lupe and Tio José. Since I began the story with tortillas, I decided that I ought to end with them. That’s why I mixed them.

Dallas from Bridgeport asks: In your book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins what is the setting of the story? I am trying to figure out if it takes place during the colonial times?

Eric answers: Hershel was a real person, although a lot of the stories told about him are probably folklore. He lived in Russia during the first part of the 19th century. You’re looking at a period roughly between 1820 and 1840. That’s about twenty years after the Colonial period in U.S. history, which is mostly in the 18th century.

On the other hand, life didn’t change much in Eastern Europe until the late 19th century. People wore the same clothes and lived in the same kinds of houses that they had lived in for centuries. They still believed in evil spirits. So I guess you might say the story takes place in a time similar to our Colonial period.

Kristie from Pendleton asks: Do you write chapter books or mystery books? Have you met Kevin Henkes or E.B. White?

Eric answers: I’ve written several chapter books over the years, although none has been what I’d call a mystery. I don’t read mysteries myself because I have the bad habit of turning to the last chapter to find out who did it. Then there’s no point in reading the book because I know how it will end.

I’m finishing up a ghost story which is kind of a mystery. The title for now is Ghostboarders. Maybe it will be a book for people to read one day. I certainly hope so.

I never met E.B. White, though I would have liked to. I often went by the building in New York where he worked. I met Kevin once at a conference. All I could do was shake his hand. There were so many people who wanted to talk to him. He must have millions of fans. He deserves them.

Lulu from ??? asks: How would you react if someone wanted to turn one of your books into a feature length movie?

Eric answers: I would be very pleased.

Ellie from Fairview asks: Have any of your books ever been made into a movie?

Eric answers: Only one has come close. It’s one of my best, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. A film maker friend is working on the possibility of turning it into an animated feature. It’s hard to say if it will ever become a movie. So much goes into making one and you also need a lot of money to do it. We’ll see. As far as I know, things are moving ahead.

Travis from Athens asks: Are you planning on putting your books on Kindle by chance? I read The Tartar’s Sword when I was a kid (just ordered the hard copy via Amazon), but would love to have it on Kindle also. It’s a book that has stuck with me for a long time.

Eric answers: Wow, Travis! The Tartar’s Sword was my first published book. It’s been out-of-print since 1976. I’m amazed that anyone still remembers it. Still, I must have done something right if it made such a strong impression on you. I’m honored. That’s the best compliment an author could ever get. It’s not currently available on Kindle as an e-book. Maybe I should think about doing something about that.

Vaso from Doylestown asks: What is your best-selling book?

Eric answers: I’d have to look over the sales figures to give you an accurate answer. I believe Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins and Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock have done the best. They’ve both sold over 100,000 copies in twenty years. The Book of Greek Myths is also doing well. It’s now in its seventh printing.

Tom from Doylestown asks: Have you ever gotten noticed when you were out shopping?

Eric answers: Maybe once or twice in thirty years. It isn’t as if I were Justin Bieber.

Samuela from Doylestown asks: What did you like best about your story Jack and the Giant Barbecue?

Eric answers: What I like best about Jack and the Giant Barbecue is that it was such fun to write. I was laughing the whole time I was working on it. That giant really is awful!

I also enjoyed working with John Manders, the illustrator. The author and artist usually never even exchange emails. John and I were able to swap ideas back and forth. It made for a much better book. I hope I’ll have the chance to work with John again.

Raeley from Salem asks: How many books have you written?

Eric answers: I never really counted. A few years ago a librarian friend in Alabama did a count and told me it was over one hundred. I can believe that. Librarians are extremely thorough. However, what matters isn’t how many books you write. It’s how good your books are. One of my heroes is the author Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s the only book she’s ever written. Write one book like that and you don’t need to write anything else.

Elif  from Turkey asks: In the story Matajuro’s Training in your book Sword of the Samurai, what is the theme and what is the type of this story?

Eric answers: There’s no one answer to the question. Here’s how I see it. The theme of the story is education. The best teacher in the world can do nothing unless the student has the desire to learn and is willing to work hard to do so. What type of story is it? Again, you have several choices. I’d say the best is nonfiction/biography because all the stories in the book are about real people; the great samurai warriors of Japan’s Middle Ages.

Nathaniel from LaCrosse asks: I love the way you retell the Anansi stories. I have read 4 Anansi stories and I am wondering if there are any more stories. We made Anansis out of paper and we are hanging them from the ceiling. I think the Anansi stories are funny and awesome. How did you find out about these African stories?

Eric answers: I’ve known Anansi stories since I was your age. A wonderful storyteller named Spencer Shaw used to come to our neighborhood library to tell stories. He told tales from Africa and the Caribbean. I loved the stories about Anansi. He did all the things I never had the nerve to do and he never felt sorry. He was deliciously wicked. Many years later I lived on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The islands were full of stories and music. I got to hear lots of Anansi stories told in West Indian dialect. Two years ago I visited Mali in West Africa. I met Madame Omou, an African griot. A griot must study for years to learn how to share the stories properly. They’re sung, not spoken. Mme. Omou sang the beginning of an Anansi story for me in Bambera, one of the many native languages of Mali. She liked my versions. That was a HUGE compliment.

Will there be more stories? I don’t think so. Janet Stevens and I have both gotten busy with other projects. I still haven’t figured how to get Anansi down from the moon. Do you have any ideas?

Alia from Egypt asks: Do you love being an author? What is your favorite book?

Eric answers: How exciting! I never got an email from Egypt before! It’s a country I’ve always wanted to visit. To answer your question, I love being an author because I’m never bored. I’m experiencing the story with the characters. Every day bring something new and interesting.

As for my favorite book, that’s hard to say. Usually my favorite is the one I’m working on now. At the moment that’s a book that will be coming out in the fall called Omar’s Snake. It’s about a boy who wants a pet snake. I have a pet snake, too. One of my favorite books is about a character from your part of the world: Joha Makes A Wish. I know that in Egypt Joha is called Goha. There are lots of funny and wise stories about him. I’ll bet you know a few. If you can think of a good one, send it to me.

Annie from ??? asks: Why do you like reading and writing? Who inspired you to become who you are today?”

Eric answers: I’ve always loved reading and writing. I imagine it’s because I’m enchanted with words and stories. Books opened up the whole world to me. If you can read, you can learn anything, go anywhere. As for writing, I loved reading stories so much that I thought a good career would be writing my own. Time proved me right. As for who inspired me, all I can say is I had great parents and great teachers who made me want to excel. They deserve the credit.

Allison from Seattle asks: “Do you brainstorm for most of your ideas?”

Eric answers: Brainstorming is one technique I use, but it’s not the only one. I get a lot of good ideas from other books. Dreams often give me ideas for stories or show me how to solve problems that develop in stories that I’m writing. I also belong to a critique group of several other writers. We meet every two weeks and share what we’re working on. We frequently get ideas and solutions from each other. There are lots of techniques for getting ideas. They all work and you should try them all for your own writing.

Nicole from San Francisco asks: “How do you write a chapter book?”

Eric answers: You do it the same way you write a picture book. First you start with a story. You need a character with a problem. How is the problem solved? Are there helpers along the way? Are there opponents who get in the way?

Once you have your story outlined—or at least once you know where you’re going—then you begin writing. It’s a matter of time and patience. Once your story is done, you go back, re-read, and revise.


Do you have a question you’d like to ask Eric? Send it in.


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