Feb 14

Believe in Yourself as a Writer

Contributed by Suzanne Lieurance

Are you struggling with a writing project that seems overwhelming?

All writers go through this at one time or another.

Usually it means that YOU—the writer—are not quite convinced you can pull off this particular book, article, novel, or whatever the project may be.

In fact, you probably spend precious energy second-guessing yourself thinking, What in the world did I get myself into this time?

But here’s the rub.

The project will only start to fall into place once YOU are convinced you can complete it.

So take a deep breath and relax.

Figure out why you’re struggling with this project and write down the problem(s).

For example—Do you have a too-tight deadline?

Does the project require intensive research and you’re overwhelmed with all the facts and figures you’ll need?

Are you spinning your wheels just trying to figure out how to get started?

Once you’ve figured out the real problems behind your struggle, take some steps to solve them.

For example, if you’re on a too-tight deadline, contact your editor right away and ask for more time.

Your editor wants quality work, and if you contact her now, rather than at the last minute, more than likely she won’t be upset about giving you more time.

Editors usually allow a little wiggle room for all projects anyway.

If your project requires intensive research, make a list of the source materials and experts you wish to use for this project.

Then, BEFORE you contact the experts, do enough research about the topic to develop a structure for the book or article you are trying to write.

You’ll have to do enough research to develop the topic headings, or chapter titles for your work.

But, once you’ve done that, THEN contact the experts with questions that relate to each of your topic or chapter titles.

That way, you’ll get quotes that relate closely to the material you already have for the project instead of lots of other material and quotes that will be difficult to work into your chapters or subtopics.

If you’re stuck at a point in your novel and you just can’t get your characters to move the story along, you probably don’t know the characters well enough and you’re trying to get them to do something they don’t want to do—or wouldn’t do if they were actual people.

Take one or two of the main characters and ask them some questions (yeah, this sounds crazy to people who aren’t writers, but I know YOU know what I mean).

Find out more about their backgrounds and you’ll learn more about their passions, desires, and fears, which will translate into motives and actions that will come naturally for these characters—and will be easier for you to write.

You really CAN complete that writing project that seems overwhelming.

YOU just have to believe it first.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, writing coach, and the author of over 35 published books. She offers more tips and resources for writers at writebythesea.com.

For more tips, resources, and other helpful information about writing and the business of writing, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or 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 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 Reasons Editing Should Come Before Self-Publishing

Writing Success – Do You Really Have the Power?

Children’s Writing – Creating your Main Character Part 1

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Feb 07

How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book MBR Review

Book reviews help sell books.

They should be a part of every author’s marketing toolbox.

I’ve been fortunate to have a review of my book on Midwest Book Review Book Watch January 2021.

If you’re not familiar with them, they were established in 1976 and are committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. Their publications are specifically designed for community and academic librarians, booksellers, and the general reading public.

Okay, on to the MBR review.

How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book
Karen Cioffi
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com
Privately Published
9780999294918 $14.95 paperback, 262 pages
B0891PHML4, $6.99 Kindle

Children’s books are more complicated to write than they first appear. This practical and well-organized book has explanations and formulas for writing them, with examples. There is an assignment for each of the eight sections. An entire book may be written by consulting this text. Children’s target audiences and genres are included. If you need story ideas, the first chapter covers that right away. Cioffi shares that character and dialogue are significant as these must be convincing to the child. Language must be authentic with age-appropriate words. Plot, theme, the craft of writing, hiring help, researching publishers, self-publishing, marketing, and working with editors are covered. An extensive list of resources is provided. Cioffi’s comprehensive book is a must for children’s book authors.

Carolyn Wilhelm, Reviewer
Wise Owl Factory LLC
http://www.midwestbookreview.com/rbw/jan_21.htm#carolynwilhelm

Here’s another review.

This one by children’s author, Linda Wilson

A comprehensive guide that offers a step-by-step approach

Anyone wondering how to write for children and where to begin would benefit from Karen Cioffi’s book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book. A thorough reading of Cioffi’s book cover-to-cover would be an excellent way to begin the path to publication.

I started from scratch not knowing anything about writing for children and recently finished my first children’s book, the first in a series for young children. A lot of time—years—and effort would have been saved if I’d had this guide to follow.

Cioffi’s book begins with the most important aspects every children’s author needs to know, including how to choose your target audience, genre differences, and ten basic rules for writing for young children. The book then goes into detail, such as how to create a story, the use of dialogue, action, and imagery; and the all-important skill of showing vs. telling. Also, how to revise, edit and research; how to find a publisher; understanding contracts, and how to locate marketing resources.

The first draft of book two in my series is done, and even after studying children’s literature for many years, I have found that there’s no end to learning the craft. I made a major change in my draft due to advice I read in Cioffi’s book. So, even experienced authors can find reminders of the goals they’re striving for.

Cioffi’s book would be an excellent resource for any children’s author.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

CHECK OUT ALL HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK HAS TO OFFER: CLICK HERE!

Jan 17

Children’s Ghostwriting and Momentum

When writing a children’s story, or any story for that matter, there’s a certain momentum you get into. A work flow or groove.

You become absorbed in your writing.

There are times when the story just flows and you up your pace. Then other times you need to work a little harder and the work pace may slow down.

But you can go at your own pace. You’re in control.

As a ghostwriter, though, you can’t always go at your own pace. I’ve had a few clients who took long pauses in their projects.

Interestingly, all of these projects had nothing to do with payments because in each case the projects were up to date.

It seems that client pauses can happen for various reasons: sickness, life, or work.

No matter what the reasons, when a client takes a long pause, it can create at least two problems for the children’s ghostwriter.

  1. As the writer, you lose your momentum.

Mentioned above, when your momentum is interrupted, you lose it. The rhythm, the flow is gone.

And depending on how long the pause it, that momentum can need serious revival when the project moves forward again.

What this means is when the project is picked up again, you need to become reacquainted with the story. Depending on how complicated the story is, the longer it will take to get up to speed.

I’m currently working on a rewrite of a very complicated young adult story that’s over 100,000 words. The author took a long pause, revising the latter part of the story before sending it to me.

The project should be starting up again very soon and I’ll have to get back into the story to be able to build up the momentum again.

This adds more time and work into the project that wasn’t accounted for.

Another aspect of losing momentum, is the story itself.

If I’m in that flow and it’s stopped, will the remainder of the story be the same. Will I find that ‘groove’ again and tell the best story possible?

So far, I think I’ve been able to. But I can see how the story could be affected. Long pauses aren’t a good thing.

  1. The writer’s workload can be challenged.

As a working children’s ghostwriter, you get new projects that need to be scheduled into your workload.

When a client pauses a project and then picks up in a month of two, you’re already into those other projects. You’ve developed a momentum for each of them.

If you only have one or two other projects going on, it’s not that difficult to include the paused project.

But if you have four or five projects going on, and one is a middle grade or young adult, being able to juggle a paused project back into the mix can be challenging.

You don’t want to take time and attention away from current projects.

So, what’s the ghostwriter to do?

The answer to this question depends on the writer.

I always work the paused project back into my workload. I keep my current projects in the forefront, though.

Fortunately, long pauses on projects don’t happen to me often, especially very long ones. Although, in 2020 I had three projects paused. It could be due to the year, or possibly it was a coincidence.

Whatever the reason, from experience I now have a clause in my freelance agreement that allows for a fee to resume a project after a two-week pause. I do of course take into consideration the circumstances involved.

So, if you’re working with a ghostwriter, be aware that there is a writing momentum. And it’s important to keep that momentum going for the story and for the ghostwriter’s time and workload.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or 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 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

Chapter Book Guidelines

Get Your Self-Published Books Into Libraries – 6 Must Know Tips

Tips on Polishing Your Novel

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Dec 27

Writing First Paragraphs

Contributed by Linda Wilson

How many times have you written and rewritten the first paragraph of your first chapter?

Ten, twenty, fifty times?

Stephen King has said he words and rewords his opening paragraphs over weeks, months, and even years: “If I can get that first paragraph right, I’ll know I can do the book.” What are the essentials of the first line and first paragraph that will entice your reader to want more?

An Opening Checklist

The opening of a novel must accomplish a lot in as few words as possible. When I’m starting a new book, I prop before me Linda Sue Park’s book, When My Name was Keoko, to use as a model. Of course, my book is completely different from hers, but the stage is set for her entire book by the middle of page two, and I work to accomplish this as early as possible in my book, following her example.

Park’s book is told in alternating sections by Sun-hee and her brother, Tae-yul.

  • Consider the first line: “It’s only a rumor,” Abuji said as I cleared the table. “They’ll never carry it out.” Are you in? This first line makes you wonder: Who is Abuji? What is the rumor? Who is ‘they’? And what won’t they carry out? Without a doubt, trouble is brewing.
  • Consider the second line: “My father wasn’t talking to me, of course. He was talking to Uncle and my brother, Tae-yul, as they sat around the low table after dinner, drinking tea.” The main characters are introduced simply and succinctly. Page 1 to middle of page 2 add more information to explain what the book is about. In the middle of page 2, the main character’s problem is expressed in plain language: “Nobody ever told me anything. I always had to find out for myself. But at least I was good at it. You had to do two opposite things: be quiet and ask questions. And you had to know when to be quiet and who to ask.”
  • By the end of this first section, on page 4, the problem that the book addresses is explained. From page 1-4, the story is told by Sun-hee but her name is given only once, as a kind of chapter heading: 1. Sun-hee (1940), and once is enough. Numbering the chapters alternately, first Sun-hee talks, then Tae-yul, is unique and a great way to tell the story.
  • The setting is established early and by the middle of page 2 the reader cares about Sun-hee.

Sage Advice from Stephen King

When Stephen King writes a first draft, he just writes. So, I understand this to mean that crafting comes with revision. And to draw your reader in, your opening line “should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know this.”

He doesn’t necessarily agree with advice many hear: to open a book in the middle of “a dramatic or compelling situation, because right away you engage the reader’s interest.”–called the “hook”. He says that’s true to a point. But the opening needs to accomplish more with few words, as Linda Sue Park’s opening first line did. The opening introduces the writer’s style, and more important, the writer’s voice. King thinks readers “come for the voice.” To find out more of Stephen King’s advice and many examples that he offers on first paragraphs that he thinks are great, please go to: A July, 2013 article in The Atlantic.

A Personal Note

I started this post believing that the first paragraph of my WIP was finished. I began reading it and, a la Stephen King, wasn’t happy. It is now revised for the umpteenth time. Was this the last revision? I can’t say. But I must keep working until “I can get that first paragraph right.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Wilson, is a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate. She has published over 150 articles for children and adults, and several short stories for children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com and on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

This article was first published at: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/10/writers-first-paragraph-essentials.html

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or 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 story today!

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 Rules to Writing a Children’s Book

16 Reasons Why You Should Publish a Book

Your Children’s Fiction Manuscript and a Ghostwriter

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Dec 20

A Children’s Writing Coach – Do You Need One?

Writing for children.

25 Reasons You May Need Help Writing Your Own Children’s Book

I’ve been a children’s ghostwriter and rewriter (book doctor) for many years.

Now and then, though, I’ll get someone who comes to me for help, but they want to write the book themselves.

This is great. I encourage wannabe authors to go for it.

The problem, though, is when they’re done and give me their draft to edit, I end up having to rewrite the story.

The reason for this is they don’t take the time to at least learn the basics of writing. They have no idea about story structure, plot, themes, memorable characters, the basic writing elements, and so on.

So …

I decided to offer children’s writing coaching for those who want to write their own children’s story, but don’t know how, or aren’t sure how to go about it, or don’t have the confidence to go it alone and need some hand-holding.

If you think you can just jump in, there’s nothing to it, I created a checklist for you to ponder over.

It’s also a list for those wannabe authors who aren’t quite sure if they should go it alone or take the plunge with some help.

Here is the checklist with twenty-five questions that will help you determine if you’re ready and able to write a children’s story on your own:

  1. Do you know how to start a story to grab the reader’s attention?
  2. Do you know about protagonists? How many can you have?
  3. Do you know the children’s writing genre differences?
  4. Do you know the word counts for each?
  5. Do you know about conflict? Is it age-appropriate?
  6. Do you know about the story arc?
  7. Do you know about the character arc?
  8. Do you know the protagonist should resolve the conflict?
  9. Do you know the protagonist should grow in some way?
  10. Do you know to write dialogue?
  11. Do you know about punctuation?
  12. Do you know about story structure?
  13. Do you know what the take-away value is?
  14. Do you know your story should have age-appropriate words?
  15. Do you know your story should have age-appropriate topics?
  16. Do you know that even the sentence structure and word count matter?
  17. Do you know how to format your story?
  18. Do you know that with picture books the illustrations help tell the story?
  19. Do you know how to pace your story, especially if it’s an MG or YA?
  20. Do you know how to move your story forward?
  21. Do you know what subplots are?
  22. Do you know that all loose ends need to be tied up.
  23. Bonus question – Do you know how to write a satisfying ending?
  24. Do you know about revisions and editing?
  25. Do you know what to do once you finish your draft?

There’s also showing versus telling, information dump, and more, but I think twenty-five questions to think about should give you an idea of whether or not you’ll need help.

A professional children’s writer knows about all these things. She can guide you to a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

So, what do you think? Do you need a children’s writing coach?

If you think you need more than guidance, feedback, and hand-holding, you might need a children’s ghostwriter.

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 story today!

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Dec 13

Writing and the Imposter Syndrome

How confident of your writing skills are you?

I watched an amazing Zoom webinar with Carolyn Howard-Johnson and her publisher Victor Volkman. It was from the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association Writing Conference – they did it virtually rather than in-person.

Carolyn is an award-winning author and an expert book marketer, so when she has something to share, I listen.

A small part of her talk was about the imposter syndrome.

Making it easier to understand, it’s the ‘I’m not good enough,’ syndrome.

According to Wikipedia, the “imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”

So, what has this to do with writers?

Well, once we feel we’re not really a good writer, we begin to underestimate our ability and our value.

Unfortunately, this syndrome seeps its way into new and even seasoned writers and it can cause consequences.

The ‘I’m not a good enough writer’ syndrome or I’m a fraud and sooner or later everyone will know.

Have you ever felt like this?

Once a writer has these feelings, it can stop her from moving forward.

Maybe she’s been thinking of seeking an agent’s representation.

Maybe he’s thought of submitting to traditional publishers.

Maybe he’s wanted to get article published in magazines, like Writer’s Digest or the Writer. Or, maybe there’s another magazine they’d love to write for.

BUT …

She doesn’t think she’s good enough so doesn’t even try.

There’s an expression I love: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

You don’t have to be the best writer on Earth.

It’s not the best writer who succeeds, it’s the write who perseveres. Part of perseverance is to actually submit your work.

It’s about writing the book you want to write and self-publishing if that’s the route you want to go.

It’s about submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers.

With that said, it is important to make sure you at least know how to write.

  • Read a lot.
  • Read books the agent has represented if that’s what you want to do.
  • Read books that the publisher has published if that your dream.
  • Read ‘good’ books in the genre you want to write.
  • And, take the time to learn how to write, if you haven’t yet. There are amazing online classes that can help you with this.

Another problem is if a writer with this syndrome offers services, like editing or ghostwriting.

If you’re offering writing services and don’t really believe you’re qualified enough to offer these services, you’re in trouble.

  • The first thing that will happen is you won’t charge what you’re worth. This can cause a domino effect.
  • Your lower prices will have some potential clients believing you’re not as good as other services are charging more.
  • You may let clients tell you how to write. Or, you may not be confident to explain to your client that what he has done or wants to do won’t work.
  • You’ll second guess most everything you do.

If you have these feelings, it might be helpful to create a vision board.

Put a few quotes or saying that will help you believe in yourself. Be sure to keep it where you’ll see it every day!

And another good idea is to keep learning your craft.

This also goes for wannabe authors. Learn about write by reading books in the genre you want to write and then go for it.

If you’re not sure how to go about it and need some help, I’ll be happy to jump in. Whether you need ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, just send me an email and we can discuss your project.

To watch Carolyn’s talk, which has lots of book marketing tips, CLICK BELOW:

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or 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 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

Get Clear About Your Ultimate Writing Goals

Middle Grade Book Versus Young Adult Book

Supporting Characters and Your Story


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Nov 29

Don’t Give Up – Seek Inspiration

Don't Give Up

Contributed by Linda Wilson

All writers experience it: low times. A low time can rear its ugly head after a particularly painful rejection, a bad case of writer’s block, or in my current challenge, a serious case of lack of writing time. At times like these there is only one thing to do: Seek inspiration.

So before you make those New Year’s resolutions, spend a little time filling your well with inspiration. Jot down inspirational sayings and thoughts that speak to you—tack them onto your bulletin board and read them periodically throughout the New Year.

Read the Tea Leaves

During a recent visit with one of my daughters, I delighted in sharing a quiet moment with her sipping a cup of tea at the end of the day. Our favorite? Yogi Bedtime Tea (Yogi tea in its many varieties is sold at most major grocery and natural food stores). My daughter would read her saying to me and ask me what mine said, and we would revel in the simple yet profound sayings before taking our first sip.

I keep an envelope with some of my favorite inspirational sayings, many snipped from the strings on my teabags, and am considering using one of the Yogi sayings in the front pages of my WIP book. Enjoy a few from my collection:

“Oneness is achieved by recognizing your self.”
“Happiness comes from contentment.”
“Your intuition is your best friend.”
“Love, compassion and kindness are the anchors of life.”
“Let things come to you.”
“Live from your heart, you will be most effective.”
“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings. “ – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) A saying from a Good Earth teabag.

Inspirational sayings Tacked onto My Bulletin Board

“I began to wonder if this was why I’m not afraid of the work it takes to write a novel. For me, writing isn’t work. It’s fun. It’s a creative exploration into my characters, their world, the possible points of view the story could be written in, or the possible scenes that could exist. It’s about exploring how wide and deep and wonderful a story can be, rather than seeing it as a straight shot from beginning to end. It’s not time to work on this revision. It’s time to play with this revision. I’m going to open my manuscript and not work, but play.” – Ingrid’s Notes

A note about Ingrid Sundberg: I’ve been following Ingrid Sundberg’s blog for years and gain a great deal of inspiration from her. She is the author of the YA novel, All We Left Behind, critiques manuscripts, and has recently begun teaching high school. If you don’t know her, I recommend visiting her blog. I think you’ll be glad you did.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov, known to be one of the greatest short fiction writers in history.

“Art can heal anything and everything. Go and give and give and give. And when you give it all, it comes back to you.” – Ben Vereen

A note about Ben Vereen: Ben Vereen, an “accomplished and versatile” entertainer has appeared on Broadway, performed many one-man shows in the US and abroad, played Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong, has had many appearances on TV and has accomplished much more.

Vereen holds a special place in my heart because of his courage in keeping his terrific attitude after losing his 16-year-old daughter in an auto accident, and suffering critical injuries from three accidents in one day.

“You’re dealt a hand of cards. You can choose to play it out—or not. I think the game is worthwhile, I really do.” Christopher Reeve, the actor who suffered a spinal cord injury after being thrown from a horse.

Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. I’m an audiobook fan and became inspired by Cranston’s story and advice in his autobiography audiobook, read by him,:A Life in Parts.

“Learning never exhausts the mind,” Leonardo daVinci, heard on CNN Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show on Sunday morning.

Benefit from Other Writers’ Wisdom

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up too.” – Isabel Allende, the Chilean-American author of The House of the Spirits.

“Kill your darlings. Even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” Stephen King. One of the main inspirations I draw from Stephen King, and there are many, is how he gave up on his first book, Carrie, and threw it in the trash. His wife found it and advised him that it was good—keep going. When he finally finished it, it was rejected 30 times!

“Start telling the stories that only you can tell.” – Neil Gaiman, celebrated English author of American Gods, Coraline, and Sandman comics.

“Be daring, take on anything. Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.” – Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 40 novels, plays and novellas, and many volumes of poetry, short stories, and nonfiction.

As you begin the New Year, take heart. Inspiration can be found in likely places, and hidden in places you might least expect. You will feel renewed and ready to best any battle that should come along.

Linda Wilson, is a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate. She has published over 150 articles for children and adults, and several short stories for children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com and on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

This article was originally posted at: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/12/do-not-give-up-seek-inspiration.html

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or 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 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

Why Do You Want to Write a Children’s Book?

Self-Publishing a Book (1) – Formatting

When Is It Time to Let Your Manuscript Fly?

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Nov 22

Writing for Children – Know What You’re Doing

As with anything you attempt to do, it’s important to know what you’re doing.

My father was a contractor – he built homes.

How structurally sound do you think those homes would have been if he didn’t know what he’s doing.

Well, the same thing applies to writing for children.

A common problem I see with new children’s authors is that they’re not familiar with the different genres.

I’ll see 2,000-word picture book drafts or 9,000-word middle grade drafts.

I’ll also see things like an intended middle grade draft with inappropriate content for the age group.

This also goes for the words you use in your story. Everything must be age appropriate when writing for children.

And, there must be a main character (protagonist).

A story I recently reviewed had no main character. It didn’t have a story arc either.

This is common for some new authors. They have a message they want to convey, but don’t realize it needs to be within the boundaries of a good fiction story.

Another biggie I notice is middle grade stories with multiple points of view (POV), even to the point of changing POVs within a chapter.

I realize that many people think writing for children is simple.

I mean how hard can it be, right?

Well, it’s actually a tough genre.

When writing for children, you must adhere to the industry’s standard guidelines. In other words, you need to know what you’re doing … you need to play by the rules.

Some elements that pertain to playing by the rules are:

  1. Word count
  2. Sentence length
  3. Chapter length
  4. Story length
  5. Age appropriate content
  6. Age appropriate words
  7. Point of view
  8. Protagonist
  9. Character arc
  10. Story arc
  11. The protagonist must solve the problem and grow in some way as a result of his journey

While there are other factors involved, these are eleven of the most important.

So, before you jump into a children’s story, read a lot of books in the genre you want to write. Be sure they’re well written, though. A good way to do this is to read recently traditionally published books by the top publishers, such as Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

These books will be up to the current publishing guidelines and will be well edited.

I’d also suggest you take some online children’s writing courses, read books on writing for children, and possibly get a children’s writing coach to help you over the hurdles and on to writing a publishable book.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or 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 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

Writing a Fiction Story – Walking Through Walls Backstory

Learning to Write for Children – It’s More Than Just ABC

10 Rules for Writing Children’s Stories

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Oct 25

Talking Yourself Into Success or Out of It

I had a client who, after the book was almost complete, began to talk herself out of the project.

Keep in mind this had nothing to do with money – the project was already paid for. The client simply began second-guessing herself.

  • She wondered will there be a market for her story.
  • She wondered if young readers would be interested in the story.
  • She wondered if she was just wasting her time.

I was able to convince her that ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ I told her that you just never know – her book could influence children. Even if a book influences one child, that’s one child you’ve reached.

Before this client, I don’t remember ever having a client try to talk herself out of possible success. But then I came across an email from the Morning Nudge by Suzanne Lieurance.

After reading it, I realized that many people talk themselves out of success, myself included.

For years I tried to make money writing. I tried a number of different arenas, including business writing, academic writing, health writing, and children’s writing. For a long while nothing seemed to click.

And, with the ‘feast or famine’ freelance writing business, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like packing it in.

Fortunately, I kept plugging away. I didn’t talk myself out of success. I may have done other things to delay it, but now I have a successful children’s ghostwriting business and even have the need to hire subcontractors.

The point is, you never know when or where you’ll find success. You need to keep plugging away and stop talking yourself out of success.

In fact, do the opposite. Talk yourself into success!

Here’s some of what author and writing coach Lieurance says about it:

If you have trouble taking action to reach your goals, ask yourself this question, “Am I talking myself out of success?”

I see people do this all the time.

They say they want something, but in the next breath they start justifying why they can’t (or probably can’t) do, have, or be the very thing they want.

Sound familiar?

We all do this from time to time and most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

So, write this question on an index card and place it near your computer (or on your kitchen counter) so you can see it throughout the day—Am I talking myself out of success?

Then, if you hesitate to take action toward your goals today, look at this question.

It will help you realize the only thing keeping you from success is that you keep talking yourself out of it.

And once you realize you’re doing this, you can stop doing it.

To get your own daily nudge, subscribe to Suzanne Lieurance’s Morning Nudge!

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, 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 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

Children’s Writing – Creating your Main Character

Secondary Characters – Are They Important?

Be a Successful Writer Even if You Don’t Think You Have Enough Time

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Oct 18

Chapter Book Guidelines

I like writing chapter books. They allow the writer more freedom than picture books or early readers, but they’re not as involved as middle grade or young adult.

The chapter book is just right—at least to me.

At the moment, I’m working in three different genres: picture book, chapter book, and two young adult. And, there’s also my own middle grade story which I’ve had to put on the back burner for the time being.

Working in multiple genres I know what’s involved in each and as I mentioned in the first sentence, I like chapter books best. Picture books are a close second, though.

Chapter Books vs. Picture Books

The reason I prefer chapter books over picture books is you have more words to work with. A good length for the chapter book is 10,000 words, but it can be from 5,000 to 15,000 words.

That amount of words gives the writer freedom to provide details, description, and so on that you just can’t do in a picture book as the picture book should be 800 words or under.

You need to write tight with picture books in order to get a full story arc.

Chapter Book vs. Early Reader

Compared to the early reader, chapter books allow for a lot more freedom. While you do have to take into account the age of the reader for plot, sentence structure, paragraphs, and so on with the chapter book, it’s not as stringent as the early reader.

The early reader is geared toward the emergent reader. The words, sentences, and paragraphs have to be in accordance with educational tools like the Lexile Framework for Reading.

Chapter Books vs. Middle Grade and Young Adult

The other great thing about chapter books is they’re not as involved as the middle grade or young adult.

A middle grade book is usually anywhere from 20,000 (for a simple middle grade) to 55,000 (for upper middle grade).

The young adult books are usually 55,000 up to 80,000 words. This kind of word count calls for a lot of organization, and a lot of notes. And, a good memory helps too.

While a larger word count allows for a much more in-depth story with lots and lots of details, including subplots, and even more than one point-of-view, there’s a lot to keep track of.

To add to this, if you’re working with a client, you may encounter pauses in the writing momentum due to the client taking a long time to review what you send. This is a big deal when you’ve got a good momentum going and you have to put it on pause.

So, What Exactly Are the Guidelines of the Chapter Book?

According to editor Mary Kole, the chapter book’s key element is for the reader to have “easy wins.” (1) This means the new reader will get a sense of accomplishment for each chapter he reads. This is a huge win for a child just learning to read.

  • The age bracket varies, but the usual is seven to nine.
  • Because the child is new to reading on his own, the chapters should be 500-700 words. Short and sweet. This helps with the ‘easy wins.’
  • Considering the word count per chapter, having 10-15 chapters is a good amount.
  • The book should have a full character arc as well as a full story (narrative) arc.
  • There should be one point-of-view, that of the protagonist.
  • The word count can be 5,000 to 15,000, but the sweet spot is around 10,000.
  • It can have 64-128 pages.
  • It should have illustrations here and there. The beginning of each chapter is a good place, and where you want to ‘show’ the reader what’s going on. Most chapter books have black and white illustrations rather than full color like picture books.

This is the basics of a chapter book. If you’re a children’s writer and haven’t written one yet, give it a try!

References:

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngDXXlVrL1U&feature=youtu.be

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-are-the-elements-of-a-narrative-arc-and-how-do-you-create-one-in-writing#quiz-0

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, 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 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

Writing Dialogue? Try These 5 Top Tips

Creating Your Main Character – Hit a Home Run

Your Children’s Fiction Manuscript and a Ghostwriter

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