Children’s book editors don’t walk the red carpet at the Oscars. They don’t have to dodge paparazzi or use an alias to make a dinner reservation. They don’t have internet fan clubs and I’m pretty sure they don’t receive fan mail.

After just three weeks of an eight-week Writer’s Digest online class with Arthur Levine Executive Editor Cheryl Klein, I’m convinced that some of that should change. So…

Dear Ms. Cheryl Klein:

I am a big fan. HUGE. You speak about stories in such a natural, clear manner. Your points regarding plot and character are fresh and insightful.

I recently found one sentence especially enlightening. You wrote, “Readers buy books for their stories, but they love them for their characters.” I’ve spent several days going through my personal library only to find that you are, of course, exactly right. My worn-out books are the ones with memorable characters I relate to or admire (Scout, Harry, Anne). Other books may have intrigued me with complex plots, but I reread to reconnect with old friends. Your lectures, like that sentence, are driving me in a way I have not felt since my time at Vermont College. I have also found your book, Second Sight, to be a helpful guide.

Perhaps one day we can meet in person at a professional venue. I’ve included a lock of my hair so you’ll recognize me. (Just kidding. I’m not that kind of fan.)


Jen Schmidt

If you too want to be a Cheryl Klein fan, follow her blog here: Brooklyn Arden. And keep an eye out for her class on plot. Other than being offered online, she also presents in a one-day format to SCBWI chapters and other like organizations.