He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

The Blog

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    You probably already have some kind of idea of a children’s book, but even if you do, these prompts will help you refine it. Read these prompts to get a sense of the possibilities of children’s picture book fiction! And who knows? You might find that you want to borrow one of these ideas and […]

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  • What’s the Perfect Length for a Children’s Picture Book? image of tag icon

    As a children’s book editor, I often get asked about the ideal length for a picture book. Luckily for you, I’ve answered this so many times that I have the best answer you’ll find online. Most of the time, authors write children’s picture books that are too long. I’ve worked with probably a hundred manuscripts […]

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  • Including (and Excluding) Parents in Children’s Books image of tag icon

    Let’s dive into a topic that’s crucial for children’s authors, parents, and young readers alike: the role of parents in children’s literature. If you haven’t thought about this, you’re not alone: most authors spend most of their time focusing on their child character, and on the world or theme, and never actually think about the […]

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  • 6 Ways to Name your Children’s Book Characters image of tag icon

    Naming a character, especially for a children’s book, isn’t just a matter of whimsy. It’s an art and a science combined, a delicate dance that can ignite imagination or leave your story flat. This might sound like a tall order, but don’t worry. With the right approach, you can find the perfect name that resonates […]

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  • 23 Ways to Title Your Children’s Book image of tag icon

    So you’ve gone and done it. You’ve crafted a world filled with whimsy, wonder, and wild adventures, and all that’s left is giving it a name. No big deal, right? Wrong! Titling your children’s book is like putting the cherry on top of a sundae. You wouldn’t toss just any old cherry up there, would […]

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  • 7 Steps to Writing Animals in Your Children’s Book image of tag icon

    When you think back to some of the most enchanting children’s picture books, what comes to mind? I’ll bet it’s the whimsical animals that prance and dance through the pages, capturing the hearts of young readers. Animals as protagonists? It’s pure genius, and it’s about time someone spilled the beans on how to nail it […]

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  • How to Write a Children’s Book Bio image of tag icon

    Oh, a children’s book author bio! Now, we’re talking about a real art form here. Unlike those run-of-the-mill professional bios you see on LinkedIn or corporate websites, writing a children’s book author bio is a whole different ball game. It’s all about grabbing attention without being stodgy, but let’s get one thing clear right away: […]

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  • How to Write a Children’s Book When You Can’t Draw image of tag icon

    Oh, you want to write a children’s book? You’ve got that magical tale bubbling up inside you? Fantastic! But you can’t draw? Hold on, who ever said you needed to? Listen up, dear aspiring children’s author. Here’s the honest truth: You DO NOT need to draw if you want to write a children’s book. In […]

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  • How to Write a Kid’s Book Based on Myths or Fairy Tales image of tag icon

    As an editor I’ve worked with a huge number of children’s books based on myths and fairy tales. They’re fun to read and authors love to reimagine these new stories for a new generation. Bookfox Press also helps authors with publishing these types of books, and the illustrations are often a ton of fun to […]

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