Aug 21

Writing a Book – 6 Tips to Hiring a Freelance Editor

Six tips to hiring a freelance editor for your manuscriptWill hiring a freelance editor ensure you pitch the perfect game? In writing terms, will it ensure you get published? Do you need an editor?

There are a number of pros and cons related to whether you should hire a freelance editor. Some writers benefit greatly from the experience while others have a difficult time and may even get insulted.

Six Points to Examine Before Hiring a Freelance Editor

1. Can you handle it?

One of the most important aspects of hiring someone to critique or edit your work is to be open to criticism. If you do not have the personality to handle constructive criticism, suggestions, and/or edits, then you shouldn’t hire a freelance editor.

2. Learn the craft.

Before you contemplate hiring a freelance editor, get your manuscript in the best shape possible by learning the writing craft.

What this means is you should know your craft or be engaged in learning it. You should obviously belong to a critique group that focuses on the genre you write. This group should have new and experienced/published authors in it. This will help you to hone your craft through the critiques you receive and the critiques you give.

There are also a number of fantastic free online writers’ conferences that will help you hone your craft. There are usually workshops offered covering just about every writing genre, plus freelance writing and marketing. AND, at some of them, you will have the opportunity to pitch to publishers. Between the networking and learning, it’s not something you should lightly pass on.

Next up on the road to learning your craft is to join a couple of writing groups – again be sure they have new and experienced writers. You can even look into a writing coach or instructor.

3. Self-edit, self-edit, self-edit.

Before you pass your manuscript off, be sure you’ve gone over it meticulously. Make sure you’ve gone over all the tips and tricks to have your manuscript in ‘good’ showing form.

Editors frown upon authors who send sloppy, error-filled manuscripts.

4. There are NO guarantees.

Hiring a freelance editor to go over your manuscript will not guarantee it will get published, even the best in the field can’t promise this. What they will do is help you to get it in the best shape possible. But, whether or not you take their advice is another story. And, again, even if you do, there are no guarantees.

This holds true everywhere in the writing world. After your manuscript is polished, you may send it to forty publishers and agents, and get forty rejections. Then, you send it to one more and it happens, this publisher was looking for just what you’re offering. They were looking for your story. Time and chance, my friends . . . and more importantly, perseverance.

But, it’s a sure bet if you’re manuscript isn’t polished you won’t ever get that far.

5. Ask around.

If you did your best to get your manuscript into what you think is publishable shape and you
want an editor to give it a final once over, be sure to ask for recommendations from other writers.

6. It ain’t over till it’s over.
Although you may spend money to get your manuscript edited before submitting it to publishers or agents, once it’s given a contract, it’ll be back to editing again – this time with the agency or publishing house.

Keep this in mind, so when it happens you’re not taken aback. It’s just the way it works.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing a Book – To Traditionally Publish or To Self-Publish
The Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?
How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable and saleable book – into a book you’ll be proud of.

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

Jul 31

Writing – Trimming The Fat

Writing tips on writing tightGuest Post by Penny Lockwood (Ehrenkranz)

If you check market resources both for printed and on-line publications [picture books], you’ll find a number whose word limit is below 1,000 words. How do you trim the fat from your manuscript to fit within the tight confines of those word limits?

First, check your manuscript for “weak” modifiers. These are the words which writers hoping to strengthen another word. The two most commonly used words are “very” and “really.” Removing these words from your sentences will give them more impact.

Other weak, modifying words to watch for are: some, just, so, such, even, certainly, definitely, exactly, and that (when overused).

Second, check your manuscript for “wishy-washy” words. You’ll recognize them by their lack of clear definition. Words which fall into this category are: somewhat, sort of, rather, a little, perhaps, seem, and words with “ish” on the end, such as “shortish,” “tallish,” and “brownish.”

In an effort to create realistic dialogue, some writers insert “well” and “oh” into their sentences. Be sure to eliminate these from your manuscript. If a writer were to capture true dialogue, there would be pages and pages of “um,” “uh,” “well,” and “er.” Fortunately, as writers, that’s not our job. We need to create an illusion of reality, not play back word-for-word a “real” conversation. An occasional spattering of the interjections “oh,” “well,” and “um,” is sufficient.

Although adjectives and adverbs have a clear place in our writing, there isn’t an adjective or adverb that can strengthen a weak noun or verb. If you’re looking for variety in your writing, use a thesaurus instead. Go through your manuscript and highlight where you’ve used these modifiers to fatten up and strengthen ineffective words. Go back to the highlighted areas and replace those weak words with strong, descriptive nouns and verbs.

It’s not easy to trim the fat whether eliminating those yummy chocolate truffles from our diets or cutting out the weak modifiers, “wishy-washy” words, extra “wells,” “ums,” “ers,” and “ohs” from our dialogues, and replacing adjectives and adverbs with strong nouns and verbs. But if we want our human body or our body of work to be fit and desirable, we must trim the fat to achieve tight, firm writing or a lean physique.

While working on my latest release Ghostly Visions, I had a lot of help from my editors in trimming back the “fat.” This middle grade novel is comprised of two books published as one: Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch.

Children's middle grade book

In Ghost for Rent, Wendy Wiles attracts ghosts when her parents separate and she, her brother, and mother move into a haunted house. The story begins in Portland, Oregon and quickly moves to small town, Scappoose, Oregon. Miserable at leaving her friends and beloved Portland behind, Wendy meets her neighbor Jennifer who tells her the house Wendy’s mom rented is haunted. After two of them appear to Wendy, the girls find themselves tracking down the mystery of who the ghosts are and why they “live” in the Wiles’ home.

In Ghost for Lunch, Wendy’s friend, Jennifer, moves away, leaving Wendy sad until new neighbors and their restaurant in St. Helens bring ghosts back into Wendy’s life. She, her brother, and their new friend discover the two cases are connected. Once again, the young sleuths use clues and lots of brainstorming to figure out who is haunting the restaurant.

While on the surface, these two stories appear to be about ghosts and the mystery of solving them, they are also about the importance of family and friends and working together to solve a problem.

Ghostly Visions is available direct from the publisher 4RV Publishing LLC for $15.99 including shipping and handling. It can also be ordered from your local bookstore with the following ISBN numbers: ISBN-10: 0982642326, ISBN-13: 978-0982642320, or through Amazon.

About the Author

Author of Ghostly VisionsPenny Lockwood (Ehrenkranz) has published over 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She is a former editor for MuseItUp Publishing, 4RV Publishing, and Damnation Books. Visit her web site at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com and her writing blog at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/.

4RV Publishing has joined her two middle grade novels (Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch) as Ghostly Visions. She recently released Boo’s Bad Day with 4RV Publishing and has one other children’s picture book under contract with them: Many Colored Coats. She has three romances published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror. Her short story collection, A Past and A Future, is available through Alban Lake Publishing and Smashwords.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

How Do You Make a Good Story Worthy of Getting Past the Gatekeeper?
Focus, Determination, and Perseverance = Writing Success
Writing a Fiction Story – Walking Through Walls Backstory  

Jul 10

Writing with Clarity

Writing needs clarity.

Writing with clarity can be a difficult aspect of writing. There isn’t a GPS for clarity. And, no matter how clear we think we are conveying a particular sentence, paragraph, or theme, we may not be able to see that we’ve missed the clarity mark.

How does this happen?

Missing the clarity mark may happen even if you have clearness of thought; if that clearness of thought or intent doesn’t translate onto paper, you’ve missed the mark.

As the author, we know what we’re thinking, what motives are involved, what we assume the reader should be seeing, or understanding—this knowledge may cloud our perception of what we are actually conveying. This clarity cloud can at times create a gap between what we think we’re saying and what we actually say. This happens because we are too close to our own writing.

Think of a color. Now, think of a very specific hue or shade within that color. Now, try to write what you see or explain it.

This is what can happen with our story. We can see what’s unfolding clear as day, the scene, the characters . . . the intent. But, our vision may not translate with clarity onto paper. We may think it has because of our preconception, but that doesn’t mean it actually has.

An example of this is a children’s picture book I reviewed. The content and illustrations were well done, but there was one problem. The story ultimately was about the main character having to go through a metamorphosis in order to be accepted by others. This is what a reader, a child, might take away from the story. While the story had a number of good points, this one flaw was problematic. The authors knew what they intended, but that intent didn’t show through. And, because they were so sure of their intent, they couldn’t see that the take away value of the story could be anything but what they intended.

Fortunately, there is help in this area: a critique group. Every writer who is writing a manuscript should belong to a critique group. Having three, six, or ten other writers, who write in the same genre, will help you find many of the pitfalls in your story. They are the unknowing audience. They have no perceived conception of your story, so they will be able to see where it goes astray and where it lacks clarity.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing Rhyme in Children’s Stories
The Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?
Getting to Know Your Characters

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

This article was originally published by Karen Cioffi at:
http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2010/11/writing-with-clarity.html

Jun 26

The Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?

Elements in writing.Writing can be thought of as a recipe, a handful of plot, a quarter cup of setting, a half cup of dialogue, and a half cup of action and forward movement. Then you also need to add just the right amount of theme, character, setting, and style. Stir it all together and bake for several months (might be longer, depending on your oven), and that’s it.

Ah, if it were only that simple.

Today, there are a number of rules to writing that didn’t plague writers years ago when the world was slower and people actually had time to sit and read at a leisurely pace. Writers had the luxury of setting scenes in detail and didn’t have to worry about ‘telling’ too much.

Now, publishers want your story to begin with a BAM. Grab the reader right away or you’ll lose her. And, it’s important that setting and telling are limited. In addition, don’t forget to magically weave backstory for your characters seamlessly into the mix.

So, what is the right balance of writing elements that will create a successful story?

Well, there really isn’t a pat formula. Each story will call for its own particular amounts of elements, and each publisher will have her own set of rules that the author must adhere to. But there are certain basics that all stories must contain.

The five basic elements of a story are:

Plot: The arrangement of circumstances and/or events in the story, including conflicts and resolution.

Character: Without the main character and supporting characters the plot is useless. It is the character’s struggle to overcome the conflicts or obstacles in his path that gives the plot life.

Setting: This element includes the physical backdrop of the story, the time period and location.

Atmosphere or Tone: The mood, including the setting, characters and their clothing, weather, and other elements within the story, determines the tone of the story.

Style: The author’s way of expressing herself is the style. Sentence structure, diction, choice of words, point of view, imagery, and symbols are all means of conveying a story that is unique to the author.

In regard to the amounts or balance of each element, the objective is to create a story that continually moves forward toward a satisfying conclusion while holding the reader’s attention. You can have a plot driven story or a character driven story. You can also have a story with a lot of dialogue, but you need to be sure the story is focused, coherent, and engaging.

Often, as you self-edit your own work, you won’t be able to see if the elements are just right; you should have it critiqued and have an editor take a look at it to see if you’re on the mark. And, then after all that, it will be up to the publisher’s acquisition editor to give the final say on whether you have just the right balance of writing elements for a successful story.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Getting to Know Your Characters
Plot and Your Story – Four Formats
Make Your Children’s Writing Website Focused – 3 Must-Haves, 6 Tips

Jun 19

Be a Better Writer by Writing More

Want to be a better writer?

Do you write everyday?

Do you make sure you get some writing time in each week, if not daily?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should have noticed an improvement in your writing, and possibly an improvement in the speed at which you are able to write. But, that’s not all. You will also find it easier to think of topics to write about. And, you’ll be building your writing skills and confidence.

This is true whether you’re writing books, booklets, blog posts, or articles. And, it’s true whether you’re writing for yourself or if you’re a ghostwriter for individuals or businesses. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it. The more writing of any type you do, the better you’ll get, just like the adage, ‘practice makes perfect.’

But, what does it mean to get better at writing?

Structure

One aspect of writing improvement is the ability to create a well structured article or story. It should begin with an interesting or hooking introduction. The beginning lets the reader know what the piece will be about. And, it should move smoothly into the middle. You might think of the beginning as the appetizer to a meal.

The middle is the content substance. You let the reader know what the story will be about in the beginning, the middle follows through and embellishes on the topic. The middle is the meat and potatoes of the story or article, and it should move smoothly into the ending, or conclusion.

The ending wraps things up. It should wrap up any loose ends and tie the piece up into a nice package. It needs to leave the reader satisfied. You can think of the ending as the dessert.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is well structured and smooth.

Focus

Another aspect writers strive for in their writing is clarity. Along with a well structure piece, you need it to be clear, easily understood. It needs to have focus.

Think of your story as having a road map. You need to get from point A to point C (beginning, middle, and end) with as little deviation as possible. Your reader is following you down the road and you don’t want to lose him.

If you give your reader any reason to pause or divert his attention from the main point of your story, you’ll lose him. People have a short attention span today; they want the information as quickly as possible and with as little effort as possible.

If you write non-fiction and your topic is about health, don’t go off on a tangent about today’s political climate, unless it’s in regard to the stress it adds to your everyday life, and thus the harmful effects it has on your health.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is focused and lean.

The Writing Time Issue

There are a number of writers who give themselves daily writing quotas. Some may choose thirty minutes a day, others 500 to 1000 words per day. There are also those writers who feel too pressured having to fulfill a daily writing quota, so they choose to create weekly quotas, or just set time aside for writing.

One problem just about every writer faces is time. Even if you work from home, by the time you read and respond to your emails, keep up with your blogs, do your social networking, and keep up your family and household duties, the day can just slip away. That’s why it’s so important to have some kind of weekly writing plan or schedule in place and do your best to stick to it.

Bottom line, if you’re a writer it’s important to write regularly, if not every day, as often as you can. As with any craft, the more you practice or work at it, the better you’ll get.

MORE ON WRITING

Writing, Submissions, and Working with Editors
The One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript
Ingredients for a Perfect Picture Book

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

Jun 05

The Path to Writing Success – Focus, Determination, and Perseverance

Writing Path to SuccessFocus, determination, and perseverance are essential to just about every aspect of your life. Each characteristic is unique and together create a powerful synergy.

Focus is one’s ability to concentrate exclusively on a particular thing through effort or attention.

Determination is an unchanging intention to achieve a goal or desired end.

Perseverance takes determination a step beyond by using steady and ongoing actions over a long period of time to ensure its intention is accomplished. It continues on through ups and downs.

These elements combined with positive thinking and projection can be an unstoppable force.

I’m a huge fan of positive thinking and projection. I believe our mind has a great influence over our well-being and the direction our life can take. Granted, it’s not always easy to harness that influence, but there is enough content out there, including The Secret, to at least strive to think positive and project.

For example, Jack Canfield and co-creator Mark Victor Hansen, of Chicken Soup for the Soul, were rejected 144 times from publishers. Finally, in 1993, their book was accepted. Since they were in debt and couldn’t afford a publicist, they did their own promotion. In 1995, they won the Abby Award and the Southern California Publicist Award.

In a teleconference I attended with Jack Canfield as the speaker, he said he and his co-author created vision boards of what they wanted. They even took a copy of the New York Times Best Selling Page, whited out the #1 spot, and replaced it with Chicken Soup for the Soul. They put copies of it everywhere, even in the toilet. They had focus, determination, perseverance, and they envisioned and projected success. The rest is history.

On a much smaller scale, my daughter Robyn, practices the philosophy of The Secret. For ten years she dreamed of being in the audience of the Oprah show. She actually got tickets twice, but for one reason or another she was unable to attend. It didn’t stop her though; she persevered and kept trying. She knew one day she’d accomplish her goal and she did. She attended O’s 10 Anniversary celebration in New York City.

She even got her picture taken. You can check it out at (she’s on the right):
http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Photos-from-O-Magazines-Live-Your-Best-Life-Weekend/5#slide

So, what has this to do with you as a writer? Plenty.

The elements for obtaining your goals are the same whether for business, marketing, life, or writing. Just about every writer has heard the adage: it’s not necessarily the best writers who succeed, it’s the writers who persevere.

Be focused and determined on your writing goals. Have a ‘success’ mindset. This means to project success, along with taking all the necessary steps to becoming a successful and effective writer. And, don’t let rejection stop you – persevere.

To reinforce the need for perseverance, here’s a great article from LitHub that lists a number of other famous authors who had their share of rejection: The Most Rejected Books of All Time

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

4 Realities New Writers Need to Face
Writing for Children – Character Believability and Conflict
What Makes a Good Story? Plot Driven vs. Character Driven

Need help with your story?

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable book you’ll be proud to be the author of.

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

May 29

Want to Self-Publish a Rhyming Children’s Book? Read This First

Not all rhyme works in children's books.

As a ghostwriter I deal with lots of new ‘authors.’ One scenario I come across now and then is when someone sends me a story with rhyme in it.

When this happens, it’s never done right and it’s my job to guide these authors to the path of ‘doing it right.’

A recent manuscript I received had rhyming here and there throughout the story. And, some of the rhyming words were forced. This means in order to  to make two words rhyme, the sentence is put together awkwardly (unnaturally) or one of the rhyming words is used unnaturally just to make it rhyme.

Two examples of awkward rhyme:

Whenever I go to the park,
I run around and sing like a lark.

The forced rhyme below is from The Turtles’ “Happy Together” (1967):
“So happy together. And how is the weather?”

Notice the unnatural way these sentences sound.  They don’t make sense. It’s easy to see that they’re put together simply to rhyme the last two words. This causes the reader to pause. Pausing is never a good thing, especially in children’s books.

One of the important things that happens when a story’s rhyme is off is it causes the reader to pause. It can even cause confusion. When a child gets the rhyme hook, she will be anticipating that rhythm and pattern throughout the story. At the first spot when it’s not there, you’ve caused a PAUSE. And, if you’ve got rhyme awkwardly here and there, you’ve lost the focus of the story. You’ve lost the message you were trying to convey.

You never-ever want to cause a pause or confusion in a story, especially a children’s story.

But, if you REALLY want to rhyme.

Below is a slightly more natural way to do this:

“Now it’s time to close your eyes my dear. (8 syllables)
Beside you lies your favorite bear.” (8 syllables if you say favorite as fav-rite)
(From “Day’s End Lullaby.”)

Keep in mind that even this verse has its problems. For one thing, ‘favorite’ is used with two syllables in that verse: fav rit. Technically, ‘favorite’ has three syllables: fav or ite.

So, you can see that while getting two words to rhyme isn’t that difficult, there’s lots more involved in rhyming ‘right.’

The bare-bottom elements of children’s rhyme:

•    Each sentence needs to be relevant to the story and move the story forward.
•    There needs to be a continuing rhythm or beat to the sentences. This has to do with the stressed and unstressed syllables of each word used.
•    There needs to be a pattern throughout the story.
•    It should be written without forcing words – without using unnatural sounding sentences or unnatural meanings.
•    And, it should all be wrapped up in a great story.

Bottom line.

Taking all this into account, if you’re thinking of writing a rhyming children’s book, read lots and lots of traditionally published rhyming books. And, read those from the major publishers. Analyze how they’re written. Break them down.

You might even take an offline or online course on rhyming for children.

You can also check out Dori Chaconas’ website. She has an example of a syllable template you can use. Find it at: Icing the Cake (it’s at the bottom of the page).

Rhyming can be fun and kids LOVE it, but please take care to do it right.

Sources:
http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6214232/20-most-forced-rhymes-music-ariana-grande-break-free
http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-rhyme.html

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

The Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components
Finding Age Appropriate Words When Writing For Children
Ingredients for a Perfect Picture Book

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

May 15

4 Realities New Writers Need to Face

Writing tips for new writers.Writing can be a tough field to be in. Some authors seem to make it overnight, while others struggle on for years with not much success.

There are at least four must-know tips that every writer should be aware of to help get over the bumps in the road.

1. It’s going to take time to write your story.

It’s important for new writers to know writing a story can take a while – if you want to get it as ‘right’ as possible.

One reason for this is you should occasionally take a break from your story to look at it again with fresh eyes. Maybe in a week or so.

Another reason is as you’re going along then reread your story, you’ll no doubt find things here and there that you want to change or that doesn’t read right.

And, often, writers don’t know when enough is enough. You keep trying to tweak the story until it’s ready to go,’ at least in your eyes.

While there are events like ‘Novel in a Month,” most of those who participate create a draft in 30 days, not a ready to submit manuscript.

So, expect it to take a while to write a story you will be proud of. And, don’t try to rush the process. If you get done sooner than expected, it’s icing on the cake.

2. Don’t expect your first story to make it.

Your very first attempt at writing a book may not be the one that actually gets published. In fact, chances are it won’t be.

It may be that the story just sits in your computer, in a file somewhere. Or, you may occasionally work on it, never being quite satisfied with it. Or, you may keep submitting it, but it never finds a home.

What do you do in the meantime? Keep writing. Get another story started and keep honing your craft. Don’t be discouraged.

3. You need a critique group or a critique partner.

New and seasoned writers can benefit from critique groups or having a critique partner. It’s almost impossible for a writer to see her own work with fresh eyes. You know what you intended to say, so even if it’s not really there, you will see it. You won’t know if you’re missing clarity or possibly a blatant grammatical error.

And, there are all the other writing pitfalls, like character development, plot, story arc, and so on, that you may glaze over.

Another writer, particularly one who writes in your genre, will be able to spot what you may be missing. Or, at the very least, give you some insights.

4. Don’t compare yourself to other writers (at least try not to).

Writers can feel insecure in their abilities, their progress, and their successes. This one goes for authors and freelance writers.

You may feel other writers you know are getting publishing contracts while you’re not. Maybe you’re a freelance writer and don’t feel you have enough credits. You may feel you’re not as good a writer as others.

It may be hard to do, but DON’T go there.

If you think you need to hone your writing skills, take classes and hire a writing coach. Instead of feeling unworthy or discouraged, take steps to move forward.

Keep honing your craft and persevere your way to success.

5. If you don’t go for it, it’ll never happen.

Okay, this is a bonus reality, but super-important. If you don’t submit your manuscript, it’ll never find a home.

If you don’t query magazines to get a foot in the article writing arena, you’ll never get an article in a magazine.

Don’t procrastinate and don’t think you’re not good enough. Just go for it. Do the work and SUBMIT. Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Source:
6 Hard Truths Every Writer Should Accept

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)
Learn to Write for Children – 3 Basic Tools
The Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

May 08

The 3 Levels of Picture Books

Children’s picture books have 3 levels or purposes in regard to the reader and purchaser. Think of it as the structure of a house: there’s a basement, a first floor, and often an upper floor.

Level 1: The basement, or Surface Level, is geared toward the youngest reader (or listener if too young to read). This child is able to understand what’s going on. He is engaged by the story. Using a wonderful children’s picture book, Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, the child will think it’s funny that monkeys take the peddler’s caps, put them on their heads and won’t take them off.

Level 2: The first floor, or the Underlying Meaning Level, is for the older children who can understand on a deeper level. At this age, they can realize danger, anger, and a cause and effect scenario. Again, using Caps for Sale, the children should be able to understand that the monkeys are mimicking everything the peddler does, but the peddler doesn’t realize what they’re doing. With this age child, he/she may yell out, “They’re doing what you do!” in an effort to help the peddler.

Level 3: The upper floor, or the Take Away Level, is the value the book holds for the purchaser, usually the parent, grandparent, or teacher. The adult reading the book to the child understands the meaning of the story, what value can be taken away by children. In the case of Caps for Sale, the young child is engaged and understands the monkeys took the peddler’s caps and wouldn’t give them back. The older child is engaged and understands that the peddler is causing the monkeys to act as they are. The value that might be taken away is that our actions create reactions.

I just want to point out that Caps for Sale was first copyrighted in 1940 and renewed in 1967, so there is a great deal of telling in the story. Back then, writing for children used a different structure. The stories were not geared toward today’s short attention span and need for action. But, some stories, such as this one, hold up even through change.

Keep in mind though, in today’s children’s market a writer must take into account that a child is bombarded with media and entertainment. Children’s publishers want showing rather than telling. They also want action right from the beginning of the story. In today’s market it’s the writer’s job to grab the reader quickly.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Creating Conflict in Your Story
Imagery and Your Story
10 Rules for Writing Children’s Stories  

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

May 01

Freelance Writers and Ghostwriters: 2 Super-Essential Warnings

Ghostwriting TrapI’m a working children’s ghostwriter and get a lot of queries asking about my writing service. Doing this for a number of years, I’ve come across different personalities, different requests, and a couple of ‘be careful’ moments.

The first tip is about your information and scammers.

One of the recent ‘watch it moments’ was from a woman who sounded very genuine. She had a great heart-tugging reason for wanting to have a picture book written.

I went through the process and sent her information on how I work. She agreed to use my services. BUT . . .

When I sent her an initial invoice through PayPal to get started, she told me she had a problem paying through PayPal. She went so far as to say she’d try her mother’s account.

I emailed back that if she still had a problem she could pay by check and regular mail.

She emailed back, very upbeat, that if I’d give her my banking information she’d transfer the money to me – it’d be super quick.

A light went off.

Why on earth would I give a complete stranger my banking information with all the identity theft and scams running rampant out there.

So, I politely explained that a check would be fine. I even gave her my PO Box address.

Well, I never heard back from her.

What would have happened if I didn’t think first and sent her my banking information?

It wouldn’t have been good.

The second tip is about your address.

A while ago, I got a query from a client who wanted me to read his manuscript and rewrite it. He didn’t have email and asked if he could mail it to me.

At the time, I didn’t have a PO Box, so I gave him my home address.

He mailed me the manuscript and when I read it quickly realized this guy was crazy and according to him, he was heading to prison. I politely explained that because of my work load I couldn’t take on his project.

He called me for a couple of months, all times of day and night. And, he had my address.

Fortunately, circumstances intervened and I ended up moving. I also got a different phone number. But, it was a little scary for a while.

These are two warnings to all you freelance writers and ghostwriters out there:

1. Be very careful of the information you divulge to strangers.
2. If you don’t already have a PO Box to use for queries and clients, get one today.

Remember, better safe than sorry.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

The One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript
Aim for Writing Success
How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)

Need Help With Your StoryLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can turn your story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

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