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Children's Author Dianne Ochiltree Talks Tips

On November 1, children's author Dianne Ochiltree shared several of her writing tips with the Sarasota Fiction Writers group.

Dianne is a nationally recognized author of books for the very young. Her books have appeared on numerous recommended reading lists, classroom desks, and library shelves. Her bedtime book, LULL-A-BYE, LITTLE ONE, was selected for the Dollywood Foundation's childhood literacy initiative, Imagination Library in 2007. Her picture book, MOLLY BY GOLLY! THE LEGEND OF MOLLY WILLIAMS, AMERICA'S FIRST FEMALE FIREFIGHTER, received the Florida Book Awards (FBA) Bronze Medal in the Children's Literature category in 2012 and was chosen for the ALA's Amelia Bloomer list of feminist literature for girls. Her picture book, IT'S A FIREFLY NIGHT, won the FBA Silver Medal in 2013. Her 2015 title, IT'S A SEASHELL DAY, was given the FBA Gold Medal/Gwen Reichert Award as well as the Gold Medal for Florida picture book from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

Her tips at the meeting included capturing and vetting your creative ideas, determining the appropriate audience and point of view, structuring the story well, and using the five senses. Dianne also emphasized the importance of reading, revising, and keeping the faith. This was capped by her final, bonus tip: Give yourself permission to write a bad first draft. The meeting concluded with a workshop to inspire and exercise observational skills, and led to the presentation of several on-the-spot poetry readings by members.

Learn more about Dianne and her books at

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