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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    Ah, bilingual books! They’ve been some of the most challenging yet rewarding projects I’ve been fortunate to work on during my career as an editor. One of my first experiences was with a beautiful story that intertwined Spanish and English. One challenge was ensuring that the translation wasn’t just literal. A simple translation might miss […]

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    I’ve edited more than a thousand children’s books, but never edited one without any words at all. This is probably because most beginning writers think textually. They aren’t illustrators, so they tend to emphasize words as conveying the lion’s share of meaning in their story. However, if you look at published children’s books, there’s an […]

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    Ever thought about writing a children’s book with your child? Picture this: you, snuggled up with your kiddo, brainstorming plot twists and creating new worlds together. I’ve edited a couple dozen books written by parent/kid combos, and here’s what I’ve learned through working with them. (and I will say that I’ve really enjoyed the process […]

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  • 12 Ways to Write a Hilarious Children’s Book image of tag icon

    You’ve been there: curled up on the couch, reading a children’s book to a giggling kiddo, and thinking, “Wow, I wish I could write something this funny.” Good news – you absolutely can! And with a dollop of humor and a dash of creativity, you’ll soon be on your way. Here are ten chuckle-worthy strategies, […]

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    The most common comment I make as a children’s book editor is: children won’t understand this word. On average, I make this comment about two to three times per manuscript, which doesn’t seem like too much, but when you consider the books are only 500 – 1000 words, it’s quite a lot! I’m constantly thinking […]

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    As an editor of children’s books, I’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of authors, each with a unique story, vision, and journey. Of course, not all authors are doing this only because of an artistic impulse. They also want to make $$$$. I can’t blame them. Writing a children’s book is a big […]

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    As an editor, I’ve helped a couple hundred authors with children’s book picture series. What I do is give them advice about the series as a whole, and I also edit each book individually. So if you’re looking for an expert on this topic, you’re not going to find anyone better than me (okay, humble […]

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  • Should My Children’s Book Rhyme? image of tag icon

    Ah, the age-old debate for budding children’s book authors: to rhyme or not to rhyme. Most beginning writers think children’s books have to rhyme. This is probably because when they were young, they were brought up reading books like Dr. Seuss and were conditioned to believe. But the surprising thing is that most children’s books […]

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