Monday, March 14, 2022

Picture Book Writer Addresses Diversity and Inclusion to Inspire and Empower Children to Success

Sherri T. Mercer is a writer and student of writing who is passionate about children's literature. Sherri also participates in the Black Creatives Mentorship Program and is a recipient of a BIPOC Scholarship Award to attend the 2022 SCBWI Winter Conference. Here, Sherri answers questions on her current writing projects and future goals and plans.

In what genre(s) do you write?
Currently, I am writing fictional picture books, both Christian and mainstream. I also enjoy writing Young Adult Sunday School curricula and devotionals for kids and adults.

Describe a current project.
I have several picture book manuscripts at varying levels of completion. Most of my manuscripts address diversity and inclusion, written with the underrepresented in mind, characters who are not represented, who are too small or unfairly judged. I hope children will feel empowered to overcome the barriers and distractions impeding their success. In addition, I have two manuscripts based on Christian principles—those in God's creation are enough to overcome what others perceive as hindrances.

What are your goals for your projects and in general?
I hope my stories are acquired by an agent/editor this year for traditional publication. And I plan to read 500 picture books by December 31.

Are you facing any obstacles with your projects? If so, how are you working through them?
I am not facing any obstacles, but I am working within the constraints of traditional publishing. It's a subjective process with many unwritten rules. Publishing traditionally takes patience, timing, and connecting with the right people. Through classes, webinars, and conferences, I am honing my skills. Once I complete the tasks I can control, I'll begin looking for an editor/agent who is receptive to my work and willing to position it rightly in the industry.

What are your writing goals overall?
My lifetime writing goals are: to publish children's books that foster hope and empower,  to publish devotionals to encourage the brokenhearted and discouraged to look beyond their daily struggles because DAY 41 IS COMING, and to write a novel based on childhood memories of my father—BIBLICAL TRUTHS FROM A DADDY'S GIRL.

What are your biggest challenges as a writer?
My biggest challenges as a writer are letting go of my work and remaining focused. It's easy to get caught up in honing your skills, lose focus, and not apply the skills you have learned. There will always be a great webinar, conference, or new way of breaking into the industry. But, it's essential to get what you need, then write—application results in an end product. I also struggle with "making my work perfect." I want to be sure I'm putting out fun and entertaining stories/materials that offer healing and help build (empowering) and rebuilding (offering hope) the lives of my readers.

What might you want other writers and/or writing students to know?
Writing is not easy. It carries with it responsibility. Even the most humorous and entertaining story should positively impact the reader's life. If you wish to publish traditionally, invest time learning the industry and becoming your best writer. Be patient and stay the course. Until your book publishes, do as our fore-parents did: Tell your story orally. It's more about the message than the platform.

What else might you want to add?
I am thankful to the writing community, especially the KidLit community. It's such a giving and supportive body of people. I am here answering questions on your blog because of your generosity. Return the generosity shown, reach back, and lift another—wait! Your day is coming.

Sherri T. Mercer is a retired educator (30+ years) passionate about children's literature. She is especially drawn to stories that inspire hope and give voice to what matters to children. She has a work-for-hire leveled reader that will publish with Benchmark Education and a young adult Sunday School curriculum in September 2022 with the Sunday School Publishing Board—National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Sherri is also a wife, mother of adult children, a writer and caregiver who resides in South Fulton, TN. Sherri is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Black Creatives Mentorship Program. She is honored to work with Natasha Tarpley as a 2022 mentee and to be a recipient of a BIPOC Scholarship Award to attend the SCBWI Winter Conference 2022.

Contact Sherri at, or follow her on Twitter: @sherritmercer and Instagram: @sherritmercer_sincerelyyours.

Monday, March 7, 2022

How to Create Compelling Scenes in Fiction - Seminar

Scene by Scene: How to Create Compelling Scenes in Fiction
With Adele Annesi

Manhattanville College
March 12 
 Via Zoom
From 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Registration $45

Scene by Scene: How to Create Compelling Scenes in Fiction with Adele Annesi 

Scenes are the building blocks of fiction, but what makes a scene strong, fully realized and effective, and why do some scenes fall short? This Manhattanville College seminar-workshop via Zoom explores all these aspects and more. We’ll consider such key elements as backstory, interior and exterior dialogue, the role of setting, and how to develop character and advance plot at the same time. We also examine how to structure scenes in a section or chapter to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. The workshop is suitable for short and long-form fiction of all genres. We’ll also explore aspects of scene revision so writers should bring their current projects to share and for Q&A, examples and discussion.

The registration fee is $45. 

Scene by Scene: How to Create Compelling Scenes in Fiction with Adele Annesi