Writing Prompt…

Sometimes it’s fun to think out of the box. For today’s writing prompt we’ll explore writing for a different genre: mid grade. Use the prompt and the image below to write a short, action packed story. Have fun and be fearless!

Joey stood at the bottom of the tree house, his head turned frantically. His best friend Kyle Mitchell was late again. The air was thick with afternoon heat and the humidity was over a hundred. Joey heard the buzzing of mosquitoes and slapped his arm when one landed; a sticky mess of insect guts mixed with blood smeared his arm.  He heard branches crack in the distance and quickly hid behind a large bush. Based on the circumstances, and what the boys had found, it was a wise move for him to hide; he crouched close to the ground and held his breath, he could only see part of a shoe but wasn’t sure it was Kyle’s.

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Advice….Learn as much as possible…

This weekend I am fortunate enough to be attending a two day workshop at the College I attended a million years ago. It’s another writing for children course and I’m very excited to attend; it’s great to meet new authors, have your work critiqued and of course network with like minded people who understand the hurdles of the industry.

I really recommend that aspiring AND published authors take advantage of such programs in their city/community because they’re  an excellent source of ideas, education and fun. At the last workshop I attended I was reminded of so many things that had sort of fallen by the wayside and this caused me to write much more diligently. Sometimes we all need to brush up on our skills a little bit even if we’ve been doing this for years.

I’ll report back  about what I’ve learned over the weekend and share some tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration with you to help you become the best writer that you can be!

So take advantage of courses, workshops, free events, classes, talks and meetings in your area…it might lead you to exactly what you need to know or to an idea for your next best seller! Happy Writing!

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All About Books for Kids…Part 2

Yesterday’s post ended with us chatting about chapter books. Here is the continued list and information about books for kids.

  • Middle Grade-For kids in grades 4, 5 and 6 (ages 9, 10 and 11) and these break into diverse age groups. The groups are Younger Middle Grade and Older Middle Grade. Younger middle grade books are usually 20,000-25,000 words, while older middle grade books are 35,000-40,000 words. They are usually large print and a fast read.
  • Middle graders are particularly interested in their Peers, their Family (be careful with this one this one though-everything revolves around the main character child and how they see the world eg. divorce through their eyes), Who Am I? is a big concept and How do I belong? Puberty issues, their Looks and Development as well as opposite/same sex Relationships are things that start to come to the surface as well as the future and that means, who does the future depend on when it comes to your middle grade novel? The future depends on the main character.
  • Young Adult-For kids 12-17 years old, again these are divided into sub categories of younger YA and older YA. The younger ones are 12, 13, and 14 years old  and the older ones are 15, 16 and 17 years old.The length of YA novels is usually from 40,000 to 75,000 words. Here’s where the subject matter gets sticky. In the older YA, there are books that include sex, drugs, and alcohol. These books are issue oriented, they perhaps deal with body image or cutting or eating disorders etc.  The priorities change for this group as well-it’s Puberty, Looks and Relationships, Peers, Family, Self-Concept as in who they are or who they are going to be as an adult, Romance is usually a big factor and finally the Future.
  • Some of the problems in children’s literature are pleasing the parents AND the reader…until you get to the YA market that is! Young adults usually have their own money to spend on whatever books they want and they don’t really care what their parents think. Of course there is YA cross over and a fantastic example is Twilight. It’s a YA novel but a lot of adults read it. If you can write a novel that falls into this category, you will be HUGELY successful.

So there you have it! I hope this list was helpful and that you can use it to your advantage, happy writing.

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All About Books for Kids…Part 1

So what makes kid’s books kid’s books? Well for one thing they’re not for adults;) Books for kids are shorter, they are relevant to their interests and the book is portrayed through the child’s eyes in the way that they see the world. Kids grow quickly but luckily there is always a market for them. Let’s start with the different types:

  • Board Books-“Chewables” is essentially what they’re called. They usually have one word per page and that are the lines of, “Dog,” “Cat,” etc. These books don’t have a lot for a writer to do and are really based on illustrations.
  • Picture Books- 32 pages, 4 of them blank, first page is for a single illustration, 13 double illustrations and then a single illustration on the last page. These books typically start with the writer and then the publisher picks the illustrator.
  • Easy Reader- Teaches the child to read with around 23 words that are very repetitious. These books have the 3 R’s-Rhyme, Rhythm and Repetition! Children will be reading these books, not adults so keep the words easy and the syntax simple!
  • Chapter Books-Ah! Finally we get into the big little kids;) Grades 1-3, these kids are usually learning to read or already know how, but are not experienced. This type of book needs to be fairly simple and short. It is around 6,000 words total and consists of 10 chapters at 600 words each. All of the chapters need to be ACTION PACKED, with cliff hangers and NO BACK STORY! Leave out excessive description, leave out complexity and leave out too many characters. You need a VERY strong narrator. Leave Mom and Dad out of this and let the character be the hero of the story. Kids at this age are searching for independence and make sure you write things that they care about!

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of All About Books for Kids!

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