Nancy's Books

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sensory Description: Sound/Calls for Submissions



If you’re a visual learner, you may find that writing what you see is easy, but you struggle with the sense of sound. If you’re an auditory learner, you may have a much easier time describing the noises of the world. The sense of sound helps the reader understand the atmosphere where the story is taking place. A tin roof intensifies the splatter of raindrops and thunder booms with danger.

Scenes are seldom silent. Noise surrounds us in almost all situations, whether we’re in a field with bees buzzing or in a city with cars horns honking. By describing the sounds surrounding the characters, the scene comes alive with action and adds depth to the story.

Picture books often use onomatopoeia [words whose sounds suggest their meanings, such as clang or hiss] to incorporate sound into a story. In my book, Happy Birthday: the Story of the World’s Most Popular Song, I used this onomatopoeia: The thump-thud-thump-thud klackety-klack of the horse and buggy passing by on the street.

As you write ask yourself what the scene sounded like?

Call for submissions for adult writers:
Knowonder! Update. After a 3-month break to get themselves repositioned, Knowonder! relaunched on June 1st with a new look and a brand new app. In addition to their daily stories, they now have seven other categories of content. They are paying $25-$50 for stories and articles.
Submission guidelines at www.knowonder.com.

Call for submissions for young writers:
Frodo’s Notebook is actively seek submissions from teens, the ages of 13 and 19. Send us your very best work, and read the guidelines thoroughly and completely before sending anything:

Poetry

Creative/Personal Essays

Articles

Fiction

Submission guidelines at http://frodosnotebook.com/submit.html

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sensory Description: Taste/New Books/Calls for Submissions



I just received copies of my three new books. Holding them for the first time made me feel like a six-year-old at Christmas. Here’s a peek.





Back to regular programming. This blog is part of a series based on sensory description.

Describing sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, hot, cold, and different textures are ways to build convincing and engaging scenes. Imagery evokes pictures in the reader’s mind. Sour pickles, sweet chocolate ice cream, and juicy, cold watermelon are sensations that readers identify with instantly.

But to really get creative, we can go beyond the usual, the ordinary. A character might taste the salty air as she walks along the beach. Or the gritty taste of a mud pie. Yes, I actually did that once. Only once.

Taste is a description that many writers struggle with. It won’t be used as often as other senses because taste simply isn’t appropriate in many stories. But in stories in which flavor or tang is suitable, this descriptor can place the reader in the middle of the action.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

THE SANTA CLAWS CONTEST is for aspiring fiction and creative non-fiction writers who have not professionally published. This contest covers TWO issues: the October Issue (horror / suspense) and the December Issue (holiday / fantasy). SUBMISSIONS for the October Issue (horror / suspense) are now open. Please wait to submit holiday / fantasy material until AFTER October 15th. Liternational Editor’s will select the semi-finalists for publication and judging begins AFTER the December Issue’s release. Winners will be announced on or before St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th). You may submit in BOTH categories. You may also make MULTIPLE submissions. However, each contestant is only eligible for ONE prize.

Details at http://www.mariealexanderseries.com/submit.shtml

Call for submissions for young writers:

Creative Kids Magazine. The most exciting aspect of Creative Kids is that it is written by kids. Students from all over the world write for the magazine, so it includes exciting examples of the most creative student work to be found in any publication.

To find out more about Creative Kids or to submit your work for publication, please visit http://www.ckmagazine.org!

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012 Sensory Description: Sight/Calls for Submissions

In describing what a character sees, color, texture, and movement are essential. An easy way to frame descriptive scenes is with the use of notes. Jot down ideas in a notebook. If you’re at a ball field, observe the actions and reactions of kids as they participate in or watch the game. At a mall notice how people interact, walk, and shop. Writing notes will make you more conscious of observing others and you can refer to the notes when writing the scene.

Describing a scene through the sense of sight places the reader inside the scene. This allows the reader to “see” what’s happening and gives color to the flower or texture to the rock wall. A phrase such as “the barn” offers only the basic visual detail to the reader. A better visual is “the tilting, red barn with a rusty tin roof.” Instantly, the reader can conjure a barn visual.

Did the rain empty a dark, fat cloud in record time or did plump raindrops splat the sidewalk one at a time? How did people and animals react to the rain?

Pump up you writing with the sense of sight and your readers will know not only where things are but also what those things look like.

Call for submissions for adult writers:
WOLFoundation Prose Competition. "WOLFoundation runs an annual competition looking for the best non-technical, English language writing on any subject related to environmental issues. Entries will be judged by the members of our Advisory Board. The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $1,500. A further $500 will be awarded to the second placed entry. The shortlisted entries will be published as a book of collected essays." NB: "Entries should be written in prose in the English language. You can submit essays or short stories, factual commentary or fiction - whichever way and whichever writing style you choose to communicate your ideas. Just make it compelling." (Thanks to Adrienne R. Scanlan, http://www.shewrites.com/profile/AdrienneRossScanlan, for pointing me to this competition.)
Deadline: September 30, 2012
Details at http://wolfoundation.org/competition

Call for submissions for young writers:
STARSONGS
is a magazine for kids by kids ages 9-19. Our tag line is "voices of the future" and our goal is to inspire youth. Starsongs accepts original short stories, poetry, essays, photography, and art work by young people in the above mentioned age group. Full manuscript accepted from youth. Our next issue will focus on veterans, orphans, and loss. Each issue of Starsongs contains a mentoring article about writing submitted by an adult writer. If interested in writing for this feature, please query your idea first. Starsongs also features an interview with an extraordinary young person, which is usually conducted via email by Starsongs staff. We are always open to referrals of youth who have accomplished an extraordinary goal at a young age or impacted their community in some positive manner. For guidelines and further information about Starsongs, go to http://kidspublished.blogspot.com or contact Executive Editor Patti Shene at starsongs.mag@gmail.com.

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sensory Description: Sight/Calls for Submissions

In describing what a character sees, color, texture, and movement are essential. One of the best ways to frame descriptive scenes is to be observant to the things around you. Keep a notebook to jot down ideas. If you’re at the mall, notice how people walk, shop, and communicate. Write notes about similar situations in which you will place your characters. If a boy is at a bus stop, observe and make notes about kids waiting for the bus and how they act. Writing notes will make you more conscious of observing others and you can refer to the notes when writing the scene.

Describing a scene through the sense of sight places the reader inside the scene. This allows the reader to “see” what’s happening and gives color to the mountains or bloom to the flowers. Seeing “the cat” is a visual detail, but the detail can be improved upon with “the calico cat.” Instantly, the reader can visualize a specific color of cat.

Did the rain plummet in a blurry haze or did fat raindrops splatter one at a time on the sidewalk? How did people and animals react to the rain?

Pump up you writing with the sense of sight and your readers will know not only where things are but what those things look like.

Call for submissions for adult writers:
WOLFoundation Prose Competition. "WOLFoundation runs an annual competition looking for the best non-technical, English language writing on any subject related to environmental issues. Entries will be judged by the members of our Advisory Board. The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $1,500. A further $500 will be awarded to the second placed entry. The shortlisted entries will be published as a book of collected essays." NB: "Entries should be written in prose in the English language. You can submit essays or short stories, factual commentary or fiction - whichever way and whichever writing style you choose to communicate your ideas. Just make it compelling." (Thanks to Adrienne R. Scanlan, http://www.shewrites.com/profile/AdrienneRossScanlan, for pointing me to this competition.)
Deadline: September 30, 2012
Details at http://wolfoundation.org/competition

Call for submissions for young writers:
STARSONGS is a magazine for kids by kids ages 9-19. Our tag line is "voices of the future" and our goal is to inspire youth. Starsongs accepts original short stories, poetry, essays, photography, and art work by young people in the above mentioned age group. Full manuscript accepted from youth. Our next issue will focus on veterans, orphans, and loss. Each issue of Starsongs contains a mentoring article about writing submitted by an adult writer. If interested in writing for this feature, please query your idea first. Starsongs also features an interview with an extraordinary young person, which is usually conducted via email by Starsongs staff. We are always open to referrals of youth who have accomplished an extraordinary goal at a young age or impacted their community in some positive manner. For guidelines and further information about Starsongs, go to http://kidspublished.blogspot.com or contact Executive Editor Patti Shene at starsongs.mag@gmail.com.

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sensory Description: Touch/ Call For Submissions


Today, I’m beginning a series based on Sensory Description. Also, from September through May in each blog, I’ll continue to list a market that accept manuscripts from adult writers and will add a market for young writers. Happy writing.

Sensory Description: Touch

Action and dialog are important elements in storytelling. Just as important are sensory details. Descriptive writing allows us to paint pictures with words. In the next few blogs, I’ll discuss the use of senses in writing, beginning with the sense of touch.

Tactile descriptions are sometimes overlooked in unfolding a narrative, but the sensation of touch can make a scene more vivid. The character might stick her hand in a bucket of wet, cool slime. She jerks and slings her hand but the slime sticks. Kids will identify with the sensation of slime on their hands. Explaining how something feels adds another dimension to the story.

Tactile sensations can be used to up the tension in stories for older readers. Imagine a drip plop-plop-plopping onto a floor in a on a dark, cold winter night. The character slides his finger through the puddle and is surprised the liquid is warm. He turns on a light to discover blood trickling down his hand. The warm blood launches cold chills down his spine.

Consider the textures surrounding the characters. Describing the smoothness of the water or the roughness of the tree bark, allows readers to enter the fictional world.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

New themes for Calliope are here: http://www.cobblestonepub.com/guides_CAL.html.

Call for submissions for young writers:
AK eZine! We are looking for writers
Details: http://www.amazing-kids.org/old/ezine_12/ez.html

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/