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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How to get rejected…in 8 easy steps!

As authors, we are used to rejection. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to us is to get feedback from an agent or publisher that we’ve queried, but most of the time we don’t receive a response if it’s a rejection. Often we’re left wondering what we’ve done wrong or even worse, we keep doing things incorrectly without knowing anything is amiss. Here are some tips on how to get rejected! Read this list carefully…it could be a game changer in your writing life.

  1. Offer the agent or publisher advice on how to market your book-Umm, no. Just…no. How would you like it if someone told you how to do YOUR job? You wouldn’t and you’d be insulted.
  2. Say that you’ve, “tested” your manuscript on young readers-No one cares what your kids or nephew or family members think. If your book is bad no one you know is going to tell you.
  3. Your story doesn’t meet basic requirements such as length-This is so important to know! Read my previous posts about Writing for Kids and find out what the requirements are for each type of book. Don’t send a 3,000 word manuscript to a publisher that publishes YA unless you want to get rejected.
  4. Your story is poorly written-Self explanatory!  Your grammar is poor, your spelling is bad etc.
  5. Your story LACKS ORIGINALITY!-THIS IS HUGE! If your story is the same as everything out there in the market, you’ll be rejected. Publishers are looking for NEW, FRESH,  and ORIGINAL ideas that are exciting!
  6. The hero of your story is passive-Make your hero awesome! No parents should swoop in and save the day.The hero must ALWAYS be the one who solves the problem in your book.
  7. Your story offers an adult perspective-Kids don’t want to read a book that is from an adults point of view, they want someone they can relate to.
  8. You’re condescending-Don’t talk down to kids. Period. They’re intelligent and they should be written that way.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting about how to potentially get published! Look for the list and follow the steps for insight into the minds of publishers and agents.

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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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