Nancy's Books

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fishing for a Contract, Part III, The Pedestal Magazine, Boodle: By Kids, For Kids

Here more ways to cast a hook to catch an editor’s attention:

Humor. Keep them laughing and you’ll keep them reading. Whether you write picture books, chapter books, or children’s novels, humor is in demand. Dav Pilky’s Captain Underpants and Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones are series that play up the funny from page one, paragraph one, and sentence one.

Strong setting. In Coraline by Neil Gaiman, kids are scared, but not too scared. A haunted house or a dark cave sets the mood for intriguing reading. Thunderstorms and cold, dark basements can immediately conjure up eerie situations.

Foreshadowing. Drop hints of the problems that lie ahead to keep the interest high. Patricia Polacco’s Just Plain Fancy or E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web provide clues to build reader expectation and create suspense and a sense of wonder.

Surprise ending. Snag a surprise ending with a hook. In my book, On the Banks of the Amazon, two young hunters are on a safari. I saved the biggest hook for the last line, “The wildlife hunters pick up their camera, aim and shoot again.” Eve Bunting did the same with her book, Wednesday Surprise. The surprise is saved for the last page.

Use these hooks or a combination of two or more to develop strong beginnings and endings for your stories. If you cast a hook or two, you’ll give an editor reasons to keep on reading and up your chances of reeling in a contract.

Next week, I’ll discuss story endings.

The Pedestal Magazine.
"Re: fiction for the April 2011 issue (reading cycle February 28-April 14): we will
be accepting flash fiction up to 1,200 words. Theme will be 'Husbands and
Wives.' Writers may submit up to three (3) pieces. Please do not submit work
intended to be considered for the April 2011 issue prior to February 28." Pays:
$.08/word.

Boodle: By Kids, For Kids Audience: children ages 6-12. Publishes stories, articles, poems, mazes, puzzles, etc.
P.O. Box 1049, Portland, IN 47371. Ph. (219) 726-8141. Published quarterly. 100% of magazine is written by children.

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