Jan 16

You Are Never Too Old to be a Writer

You can start your writing career today.
I jumped into a writing career in my mid-40s. I was an assistant controller for a manufacturing company before that.

With my accounting background, writing about business and marketing was a natural fit… or so it seemed at the time.
My first gig as a freelance writer was for a company that offered human resources solutions. They had two related (sister) sites and I wrote articles for one site and rewrote them for the other.

Rewriting can be fun, but is also challenging as it’s important to have the new content pass a duplicate content checker.  

The reason for this is Google doesn’t like duplicate content on your website or your related sites.
Heath writing was soon added to the mix and it was more lucrative than the business and marketing writing. 

I supplied an allergy site with about 100 articles per month. I had to hire subcontractors to help with this project.
I also did academic rewriting and editing for health professionals.
Then I decided to add on writing for children.

It seemed like a natural addition as I had written a bedtime lullaby when my first daughter was a baby – to help her fall asleep. I turned it into a children’s bedtime picture book in 2008. 

Soon though, I was stretching myself too thin as you can imagine. That’s never a good thing for a number of reasons.

-You can’t devote the time and focus needed to a particular genre.
-You don’t have a strong platform or brand.
-And, you know the saying: Jack of all trades, master of none. This is definitely not a good thing. It should always be quality over quantity.

I had to decide what genre I would focus on. 

Focus is essential to success.

As the children’s writing really took off and grew each year, and I love to bring children on journeys, that’s the genre I chose.

And that’s how my children’s writing career got started.
Another example of never being too old to follow your dreams is a 92 client I worked with about a year ago.

I got a query from a woman who had a children’s picture book published in by Houghton Mifflin in 1988.

She had a 25,000-word middle grade story she had been submitting to agents but wasn’t getting any interest. She asked if I’d review it. After a few emails, I learned she was 92 years old! 

Ninety-two! And she was following her dream!

She inspired me.

Working and raising seven children on her own during most of their growing-up years didn’t leave room for writing, especially as she had to work. Once she was able, she got back to it, though. She wanted to publish more stories. 

After consulting with this client, she turned her middle grade into a chapter book, and I edited for her. She then self-published. I went on to review and edit several shorter stories for her. 
And there are lots of other late bloomers. 
The very successful authors listed below also started their writing careers later in life:

Toni Morrison - Age 40
Mark Twain - Age 41
J.R.R. Tolkien - Age 45
Raymond Chandler - Age 51
Annie Proulx - Age 57
Laura Ingalls Wilder - Age 65
Frank McCourt - Age 66 (1)
So, if you’re wondering if it’s too late to start writing, IT’S NOT.

If you have the desire and haven’t gotten started writing for children yet, GET STARTED TODAY!
Reference:
(1) https://bookstr.com/article/10-hugely-successful-authors-who-got-their-start-later-in-life/
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. 
Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.
Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!
Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
3 Fiction Writing Mistakes to Avoid

The Writing for Children Ropes - 8 Tips

Story, Plot, and Arcs
Like this post? Please share it!
Jan 09

The Domino Chain Reaction and Your Words

The Writing Chain Reaction
So many things inspire me; the most recent is a video I saw on LinkedIn.

It’s about chain reactions, and I immediately thought of writing.

I found the original video on YouTube and have it here. It’s only 2 ½ minutes and super-interesting.

As the demonstrator (Stephen Morris) mentioned, if he had 29 dominos, the last one would be as tall as the Empire State Building!

WOW!

It’s minding boggling thinking about the actual size of the initial domino that caused such a powerful chain reaction.

So how does this relate to writing?
As writers, what we write matters. 

Words matter.

You trigger the initial event by writing your story. Once it’s released into the world, it creates energy; and each time a reader reads it, more and more energy is released. The domino chain reaction is underway.

This is the superpower writers have.
As a children’s writer, you never know how your story will spark something in a child. 

It could be sparking an interest in the environment, maybe in history, or astronomy, or kindness, or even peace. 

It’s that initial event or trigger than can lead that reader on to greater things.

Or, it may be a nonfiction book on creating a better life, or a better world.

Again, your words can become the trigger that sparks better things.

That’s the power of a story. 

The possibilities are limitless, so use your superpower wisely!
Want to be that spark in a child’s imagination or life?
Become the author of your own children’s book.

Be the trigger in a writing-reading domino chain reaction.
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
3 Fiction Writing Mistakes to Avoid

The Writing for Children Ropes - 8 Tips

Are You Overthinking Your Story?

Please Share!
Dec 26

3 Absolute Must-Nots in Writing for Children

It seems there are still new children’s authors or wannabe authors who don’t take the time to learn about how to write for children… at least to learn the basics.

The absolute must-nots when writing for children:

The Picture Book Cliffhanger

A recent client of mine was for a picture book rewrite project with the ending missing, so there was a bit of ghosting involved. The intended age group was four to eight.

I rewrote the story and added a ‘satisfying’ ending with a takeaway only to learn the client wanted it to be a cliffhanger and didn’t want a takeaway.

Well, kind of a cliffhanger. The client wanted the ending missing.

No loose ends tied up. No satisfying ending. No full character arc. No full story arc.

This was a first for me.

Not wanting a takeaway is one thing, but not wanting a satisfying ending for a young children’s book doesn’t make sense.

The story was to leave the reader to guess what the author had in mind for the ending or create their own. 

The author’s intent was to create a series of cliffhangers motivating the reader to purchase the next picture book.

I’m not sure if the author intended to abruptly end the next book in the series, but I think so.

I tried my best to help the client understand that a young children’s book needs all the elements of a ‘good’ story, especially when seeking a traditional publishing contract.

I get that in self-publishing a lot of new authors do whatever they want (even though they should produce a quality book), but it’s a different ball game when going the traditional route.

The Perfect Story World

I don’t get too many of this type of author, but it came up in another recent project.

This scenario is when the author doesn’t want any significant conflict in the story. No real stakes involved.

-No swarm of bees to block a path the protagonist must get through.
-No ferocious fire breathing dragon blocking the entrance to a cave the protagonist must get into.
-No dangling from a cliff before being rescued.

The author also doesn’t want the characters, even the villain, to have any bad traits.

-No evil Professor Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes nemesis).
-No evil Joker or the Penguin (Batman’s nemesis).
-No evil Lex Luthor (Superman’s nemesis).

This type of story is sugar-coated.

Instead of a roller coaster that goes up and down, where the rider has to hold on tight, this type of story is the stationary horse on the carousel, no holding on needed, no real movement involved.

You always want your story to be the one that the reader is motivated to hold onto, motivated to turn the pages. You want your story to go up and down.

Hitting the Reader Over the Head

Most of my clients have a specific goal for their story. They want to send a message to a child. They know exactly what they want the takeaway to be. 

A number of stories have the bullying theme, but interestingly that’s eased off. Now I get more requests for the inclusion theme, the standing up for yourself theme, and the being kind theme.

Some new authors think they have to hit the reader over the head with their message. They blatantly want to tell the reader how the main character grew because he was kind, or stood up for himself, or included someone different into her group.

Hitting the reader over the head with the story’s message is frowned upon. The story should convey the message subtly. The reader will pick up on it.

I hope these three absolute must-nots in kid’s writing help you on your children’s writing journey.
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.

Please Share
Dec 12

What’s Your Takeaway?

The children's writing takeaway.
Most of my clients know what they want the takeaway of their book to be. 

It may be to demonstrate kindness, overcoming fear, being a good friend, learning responsibility, learning about conservation, becoming self-confident, learning coping strategies, realizing the importance of family…

Now and then, though, I still get clients who think a list of events constitutes a good story. And they have a tough time understanding the elements that need to go into making a story work, such as character arc, story arc, and plot. They also don’t understand that a children’s book should have a takeaway.

What is a book’s takeaway?

According to Merriam Webster, a takeaway is “a main point or key message to be learned or understood from something experienced or observed.”

With this in mind, the takeaway is what’s valuable in the book – the message it conveys. It’s what the reader will find memorable or worthy of remembering. 

This is important when writing for children because you want the reader to leave the book learning something, even if subconsciously. 

Examples.

Using my middle-grade fantasy, “Walking Through Walls,” the protagonist, Wang, begins as a selfish and lazy kid. His journey to become a Master Eternal, in order to become powerful and wealthy, changes him for the better.

Along with Wang becoming more than he was or better than he was, the reader can see how it came about and the value in those changes.

By the way, "Walking Through Walls" is a cross between a chapter book and a middle-grade and is a great book for the reluctant reader.

Another example is “Stephanie’s Ponytail” by Robert Munsch. 

The kids in Stephanie’s class copy every hairdo she creates. Finally, she outwits them and they never copy her hairdo again. 

As well as being a fun read, the takeaway in this book is teaching children about creativity, independence, self-confidence, imagination, and being daring. It could very well inspire them to the same actions.

So, as you’re writing your children’s story, think of the takeaway. What message do you want to instill in the reader?
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
  
Please Share!
Nov 21

Writing Opportunities and Inspiration Through Television and News

Writing inspiration is all around us

By Regina Montana

I consider myself an animal lover which is why they often find their way into my stories and poems as main characters.

Then, I read a newspaper headline “Animals rescued from California fires.” I knew that this had real potential for a poem or picture book. It was filled with emotion for me.

I never realized how many animals could be affected by wildfires until I read this article. Bears often get burned since their instinct tells them to climb trees when there is danger. Many of the injuries are the same: burns, dehydration, respiratory problems, traumatic lesions, and starvation.

I’m always amazed at the brilliant work that scientists and veterinarians do to care for all creatures, great and small. Maybe I could in some way figure out a way to bring this story to light. I had already written a free verse poem called “A Giant Turtle Rescue” about the rescue of sea turtles in south Texas early this year when the waters turned frigid and the people of South Padre Island all came together to rescue the turtles. I also did a sketch of the turtles saluting the people who saved them.

At one point, my mentor and children’s book author Randi Mrvos suggested I try to write a non-fiction article for a children’s magazine.

Listening to the local news one night, I heard about The Hudson River Eel Project. This was a type of citizen scientist project designed to involve adults and college students in local environmental work. The project had been in existence for about 10 years, and the purpose was to track the migration pattern of the American Eel which then helped scientists study the health of the Hudson River.

I was never really enamored of eels. Until, that is, I heard about their amazing journey. They ride ocean currents as tiny larvae born in the middle of the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of North America.

This motivated me. I was determined to write an article that would change kids’ minds about this creepy creature that has been around for millions of years. Once complete, I submitted it.

Recently a major newspaper wrote to me saying my article is still with the editorial department which may consider publishing it in the coming months. I remain ever hopeful that this story will amaze young readers as it did this 72-year-old grandmother (at the time.)

Did I mention I had to hike down a fairly steep embankment with a torn meniscus in my left knee, fearful that at any minute I could fall into the fairly frigid water of this Hudson River tributary? Thankfully, I did not fall, but kept a tight grip on a rope that helped us get down into the water.

We counted baby larvae that got trapped in nets called fykes. They were subsequently carried in a pail as we walked past a damn and released them into the tributary. Now they were ready to swim upstream and grow into adult eels, many 3-4 feet in length. Then they swim back out to the Sargasso Sea, the only place where they spawn and die.

So always keep an open mind when you read the news, in print or online, or turn on the television. The main character for your next picture book, magazine article, or poem may be waiting. It might even be the story of tiny larvae riding the currents of the Atlantic Ocean, then heading up and down North American rivers and growing into adult eels. And they’ve been doing this for millions of years.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributor to Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi

Regina is a children’s literature writer of poems and picture books. She has written for the ezine Kids Imagination Train, and is a member of Children’s Book Insider where she contributed two articles to, as well as a member of SCBWI. Regina is also a teacher with a Master of Education Degree. She has raised two children of her own and is now a grandmother of 5 who give her lots of ideas when she listens carefully.

Need help with your story?

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

5 Must-Know Tips to Help Revise Your Story

Writing for Children: Enjoy the Journey

Scenes and How to Make Them Work

Like this post? Please share it!
Oct 10

Writing for Children: Enjoy the Journey

Tips on your writing for children journey

Contributed by Regina Montana

Writing for children can be a wild ride. It is full of ups and downs, but success will depend on your tenacity to stay on that bucking bronco. Remember those scenes of cowboys holding on for dear life and then getting thrown off if the bronco was too hot to handle? Maybe this analogy is a slight exaggeration but in some ways it is not.

I’ve been on this bronco ride for about eleven years now. As I write about what it takes to stay on this amazing journey and hopefully become a published author, a few essentials come to mind:

  1. Believe in the message of your story. And not just believe, but be passionate about children reading this very unique book.
  2. Remain positive and don’t get bogged down with the rejections that inevitably will come. It’s all part of becoming a good writer. Be your own best friend. Talk kindly to yourself and celebrate small steps along the way.
  3. Read as many books as possible in the genre you want to write in. You can often find picture books read aloud on YouTube so a trip to your local library is not necessary.
  4. Attend webinars and join the many online writing groups and magazines including SCBWI and CBI. They will help you navigate the world of children’s literature. Find a mentor or critique group to bounce ideas off of.
  5. Write for at least a half hour every day. Keep a journal and write whatever comes into your head without editing. Feed your soul often by taking a walk alone and allow your imagination to wander. You might just get inspired and meet your main characters along the way. Remember: Ideas are everywhere. You must remain open.
  6. When your manuscript is finished, have it professionally critiqued by at least 4 people or services. There are many to be recommended. Develop a thick skin since it’s in your own best interest to have multiple sets of eyes reading your story.
  7. Try to find joy along the way. This journey is not for the faint of heart. If your expectations are not too many out of the gate, you can take your time, learn to write well and accept professional advice. You might just become a published author one day. The emphasis is on “one day.”
  8. Keep some inspiring words, figures or sources of inspiration nearby to look at. A figurine of my main character Sophie, a rescued tortoise, sits on my table as I write her story.

Below are my favorite books for beginning writers:

The Artist’s Way- Julia Cameron
Take Joy – Jane Yolen
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
Writing Picture Books – Ann Whitford Paul

Hope you find them helpful too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributor to Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi

Regina Montana is a children’s literature writer of poems and picture books. She has written for the ezine Kids Imagination Train, and is a member of Children’s Book Insider where she contributed two articles to, as well as a member of SCBWI. Regina is also a teacher with a Master of Education Degree. She has raised two children of her own and is now a grandmother of 5 who give her lots of ideas when she listens carefully.

Children's ghostwriter

Check out my 200+ page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent and marketing your books.

Articles on writing for children

Working with a Children’s Ghostwriter – The Process


Book Marketing – The Foundation

How to Write a Story



Oct 03

Scenes and How to Make Them Work

Writing powerful scenes

One of the best descriptions I’ve read on what a scene is, comes from James Scott Bell’s blog, Kill Zone. In an article on strengthening scenes, Bell explains that “scenes are the bricks that build the fiction house. The better the bricks, the better the house.” (1)

This gives a visual of how scenes work. Building one on top of the other to create a strong story.

Masterclass describes a scene as, “a section of a story that has its own unique combination of setting, character, dialogue, and sphere of activity.” (2)

This description gives more details, but I like Bell’s visual better.

The Masterclass article also explains that scenes are one of the “most valuable writing skills an author can possess.”

This makes scenes even clearer. They’re essential to a ‘good’ book. Going back to the brick house, the better (stronger) the brick, the stronger the house.

A scene has a beginning, middle, and end, just like the story.

When the location changes, or another character enters the scene, or something else significant changes within the scene, that’s usually an indication that it’s the end of that scene and the beginning of the next.

An example of this is from my middle grade book, Walking Through Walls.

The protagonist Wang, is trying to walk through a wall, but just can’t do it. He’s fearful of getting hurt. It takes him ten tries.

Finally, he passes through it. That’s the end of that scene.

The next scene has Wang ecstatic. He’s thrilled. He can’t contain himself.

So, how do you make scenes work?

  1. The first thing a scene needs to do is achieve something.

Think of the brick. It’s solid. It’s its own entity.

Each scene has a story to tell.

The scene may be a chase scene, a fight scene, the inciting incident, a romantic scene, or a scene establishing the setting.

Using Walking Through Walls again, in the beginning of the story, Wang is seen sweating and complaining while working in the wheat fields. This scene establishes the type of work Wang is doing and also establishes his attitude toward it.

  1. A scene should be the foundation for the next scene.

Scenes are like building blocks. They provide information the reader should know to move forward in the story.

Going back to Wang and his attitude toward hard work, it allows the reader to understand why he desperately wants a way out of his life.

The scene can also provide more information, such as backstory, or a look into the character’s family life, friendships, strengths, weaknesses, and so on.

It can be anything of value that helps move the story and characters forward.

  1. Every scene should have a point of view.

As a children’s ghostwriter, the majority of the stories I write have one point of view.

But also work on upper middle-grade where there can be two points of view and young adult where there can be multiple points of view.

When working with more than one point of view, each scene should be specific to only one, otherwise it can get confusing and weaken the strength of that brick.

  1. Each scene should contribute to the world you’re creating.

In Walking Through Walls, the time period is 16th century China. This meant a lot of research.

I incorporated tools of the time period, clothing, and even food within in the scenes to build the world the characters lived in.

I also used dialogue to build the world. I eliminated contractions and flavored the dialogue and actions with respect, especially toward elders.

  1. As your story should be shown and not told, so should your scenes.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new writer of an experienced writer, it’s easy to fall into the ‘telling’ mode when writing.

Showing a scene means to use dialogue and action, along with sensory details, and internal thoughts.

Using showing allows the reader to be absorbed in the story. It allows the reader to connect to the character, and brings the reader into the story.

Telling keeps the reader at arms-length. The reader won’t be able to make as strong a connection to the character or the story.

Hope these five tips to writing a good scene help you strengthen your own story’s scenes.

References

(1) https://killzoneblog.com/2021/08/three-easy-ways-to-strengthen-a-scene.html

(2) https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-the-perfect-scene#quiz-0

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

Articles on writing for children

Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing – The Differences

6 Power-Tips to Writing a Memorable Protagonist for Your Children’s Story

Secondary Characters – Are They Important?


Sep 26

Word Constraints, a Bet, and Dr. Suess

Who would think that a random bet and constraints could lead to a book that sold 8 million copies as of 2019, and would become the best-selling book of the Dr. Seuss series?

When most people think of the word ‘constraint’, it invokes a negative feeling or idea.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of constraint is “something that controls what you do by keeping you within particular limits.”

This is where the negative idea comes from.

Children’s writers of picture books are bound by the amount of words that can be used to create a grabbing, engaging, and page turning story. This means TIGHT writing.

It makes sense that something that limits you, controls you, isn’t a good thing.

Well, according to James Clear, constraints are our friend. Constraints foster creativity and motivate us to work within those limits to accomplish what we need to.

What I found exceptionally interesting is that “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss came about through a bet and constraints.

In 1960, Bennett Cerf, the founder of Random House, bet Theo Geisel that he couldn’t write a children’s book with only 50 words or less.

The bet was for $50.

Imagine if Dr. Seuss, balked at the idea of writing a story of only 50 words for a bet of a measly $50.

I’m sure you’ll find the rest of Clear’s article as interesting as I did:
The Weird Strategy Dr. Seuss Used to Create His Greatest Work

Do you desire to become a children’s author?

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

Send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

Articles on writing for children

Writers – 4 Power Tips to Breaking a Bad Habit

Writing Workshops – Getting the Most out of Them

Create a Believable Protagonist with Realistic Characteristics


Sep 19

Do Your Characters’ Descriptions Matter?

Character descriptions are super important.

To answer the title question, character descriptions are essential.

It’s these descriptions that give the reader insight into the character, and let the reader know:

-What type of person she is
-What his family is like
-What his education status is
-What her hobbies are
-What she’s passionate about
-What she’s afraid of
-What his physical details are
-What his social standing is
-Where she lives

The list can go on to include talents, sports, beliefs, and so much more if the story calls for it.

Just a simple description of a character drawing tells the reader about him. It’s possible he’s artistic. Whether he’s talented at it or not will give another element of his personality.

Suppose he’s terrible at drawing but does it anyway. What can that tell the reader about him? Possibly he’s determined. He may march to his own drum, or he just likes it and doesn’t care about excelling in it.

Maybe another character studies all the time and gets all As. Maybe the character studies all the time and barely passes. This gives a big clue as to the ‘character’ of these characters. The one who gets all As is driven. The one who barely passes may not be driven but knows without the struggling, she’ll fail. Possibly character isn’t as intelligent as the first.

What if a character is always yelled at and put down by his father? Might that help the reader understand the character’s behavioral issues?

EXAMPLES

-In the first couple of pages of middle grade Walking Through Walls, the main character Wang, is described as being disgruntled. He doesn’t like hard work. He’s impatient, and he fights with his sister.

Right off the bat, the reader knows a lot about this character. The reader may even be able to see himself in the character. This makes a connection.

What if a description shows that a character is disabled and in a wheelchair but strives to do everything she physically can do, even playing sports? What does this tell you about the character?

How about a description of a teen character lifting weights? This simple activity, combined with a couple of other details, can tell you a lot about his physical and emotional state.

Maybe he wants to be strong and look good. Maybe he’s physically on the weak side and is being bullied – he may want to be able to protect himself, take care of himself. It could even be the emotional side of it, he doesn’t want to appear weak.

How about a cross country runner or competitive swimmer? The first thing the reader may think of is that the character has physical stamina.

Another layer of the character could be the reason why he does such strenuous activity. Does he simply love it? Or, does he have ADHD or a depressive personality, and the rigorous routine helps him?

Providing character descriptions will help the reader connect to the character. Hopefully it will help create a strong connection. It will help the reader form a vested interest in what happens to the character. It will make the reader root for the character and keep turning the pages.

So, the next time you’re creating your character, be sure to think about how you can add descriptions to create a multi-dimensional character that will bring that character to life.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book. HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

Articles on writing for children

Children’s Books and Back Matter

The Secret of Getting Ahead

Creating Story Characters – Avoid These Common Mistakes

Sep 05

Writing a Marketable Children’s Book – First Four Steps

Writing children's books that sell

No matter how you look at it, writing books is a business. The same goes for writing magazine articles, copywriting, and so on.

Any time you write with the thought of selling what you’re writing, it becomes a business.

It’s not that the marketing end of your writing should put a damper on your ‘muse,’ but there are a few key marketing components that you need to keep in mind when writing.

  1. The very first component is your audience.

It’s been said over and over that you need to have a target market – a target audience for your book.

If you think about it, you’ll realize that’s true.

Imagine you wrote a story about your Alaskan adventure.

Who do you think would be interested in it? Who do you think would buy your book?

Now imagine you wrote a children’s middle-grade fantasy.

Same questions.

But the answers will be different.

In an article at Live, Write, Thrive, the author takes this a step further. She advises to analyze your ‘perfect’ reader. Find out what he likes. Does he have any pets? Does she like sports, music, art? What’s her family life like? What about school? What about friends? The deeper you go, the better.

With the answers to these questions, you can craft a story geared toward that reader. Or you can include tidbits that particular reader can relate to in a story you are already writing.

Maybe your reader is a junior lifeguard and cross-country runner. And, he has an eighty-pound, bronco-jumping Bernedoodle.

With this knowledge, you can craft a story that incorporates elements related to the readers’ age group while not taking away from the story’s creative process.

  1. Have a great theme.

First, what is theme?

One explanation of theme is from MasterClass: “In simpler stories, the theme may be a moral or message: ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ In more complex stories, the central theme is typically a more open-ended exploration of some fundamental aspect of society or humanity.”

The theme should be subtly woven into your story.

But there are occasions when you don’t know what the theme of your story is until it’s complete.

Six of the most common themes are:

-Good vs. evil
-Love
-Redemption
-Courage
-Coming of age
-Revenge

As a children’s ghostwriter, the themes I see most often from clients are:

-Be who you are
-Acceptance
-Being a good friend and making friends
-Kindness
-Bullying
-Environment

Being a children’s writer or a person who wants to be the author of their own children’s book, the themes tend to be geared toward bringing awareness to children. The themes are usually about teaching children, guiding them.

Your theme should be like a ghost, invisible. But like the wind, you can feel it. You know it’s there.

  1. Be different.

It’s challenging to come up with a unique story. Everything that can go on in life has been written about.

So, how do you keep your story fresh?

A good way to do this is to study recently published books in your genre. Make the bulk of them traditionally published as they would have had to get past the gatekeepers.

There are two reasons for researching traditionally published books:

A. As mentioned, the storyline and writing will be good…good enough to make it past the gatekeepers.

B. Publishing houses know what’s being received well and what’s not. They’re doing a lot of research that you can take advantage of.

After you research your contenders, buckle down and write a story that’s better, one that has a different spin. This may take a great deal of effort, but it will help make your story stand out; it will make your story unique.

Want to stay away from popular stuff? Think about historical fiction.

If you go this route, just keep in mind you need to have an audience who will be interested in it.

You might even get ideas from folktales. Not the ‘overly done’ ones, but older, ancient tales.

Whatever you write, make it your own.

  1. Write a good story.

You can take all the steps necessary to creating a marketable children’s book, but if the story isn’t properly written, if you don’t have a good story, those steps will be for naught.

A quick breakdown the elements needed to write a good story:

-Theme (we discussed this already)
-Plot
-Story structure
-Characters
-Setting
-Style and tone

To learn what’s involved in each of these elements, you can check out:
6 Tips to What Makes a Good Story?
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2017/06/18/what-makes-a-good-story-6-tips/

If you have any other tips on writing a marketable children’s book, please put them in the comments.

IF YOU LIKE THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE SHARE!

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.