Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Writing a Chapter Book, part 8/Calls for Submissions

     This article is the eighth in the series: Writing a Chapter Book.

Try these tips:

Humor reigns supreme. The humor doesn’t have to occur on each page or paragraph. Text that is scattered with bits of humor surprises the readers and holds their attention. If you make the readers laugh, they’ll keep turning the pages and want another book just like it. Comical characters are a hit as are funny situations and witty dialog. Humor makes the book fun to read and hooks a kid into a lifelong passion for reading.

Conveying humor through text on a page can be challenging. What’s funny to one person is just plain silly to another so how does a writer deliver a humorous story to the readers?

Chapter book readers find mixed-up language funny. They love jokes, riddles, and puns. These kids are independent readers. They are developing a good grasp of the language and enjoy the wordplay.

If a character has lost his/her two front teeth and talks with a lisp, this age group will enjoy the strange sounding speech.
 
Always keep the audience in mind when writing humor. What works for a seven-year-old may fall flat for a ten-year-old. 

Call for submissions for young writers:

Zamoof! Hey, everyone! This is Oay here at Z! Headquarters. How would you like to be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine? It is easy to do and a lot of fun. I'll give you some ideas of what you could do, and you might even ask a parent, older brother or sister, or even your teacher to help you! Submissions are welcome from youth readers or their parents/care givers.

Submission guidelines at http://zamoofmag.com/for-grown-ups.php?bp=3165

Call for submissions for adult writers:
 
Timeless Tales is an ezine that exclusively publishes retellings of fairy tales and classic myths.


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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Writing a Chapter Book, part 7/Calls for Submissions

           This article is the seventh in the series: Writing a Chapter Book.

 Try these tips: 

Avoid the sagging middle. When we begin a chapter book, we usually have a definite beginning and ending in mind. We want the ending to solve the problem or reach the goal that the character confronts at the beginning of the story. But by chapter three, the story begins to slowly fizzle out. What can we do to keep the excitement of the beginning as we develop chapter after chapter?
 
Offer new insights into the character. What does the reader learn about the character that had not been revealed earlier? Maybe s/he has a learning problem or a phobia that comes into play at this point. 

Introduce a new character that will add a new problem or cause greater conflict. I once heard a speaker in a workshop describe it this way: treat your character badly; then treat your character worse. Add more conflict. Conflict is story and without conflict there is no story. Add barriers to prevent the character from achieving the goal or solving the problem during the middle of the story. Conflict is the motivation that keeps the character plugging along. 

Move the plot along. Don’t dwell too long on one scene. By adding conflict and depth to characters, the plot moves forward. Allow the characters to learn new bits of information that alters their viewpoints or decisions.

Next week, I’ll continue with chapter book tips.  
 
Call for submissions for young writers:

Writing at Sea Competition. Enter the Marine Society and Nautilus Telegraph’s new creative writing competition and you could walk away with a £1000 or a Kobo Aura and Kobo gift vouchers. The competition is open to serving and non-serving seafarers and is free to enter. The competition theme is Life at Sea and you can enter your poem (maximum word limit 80 lines) or short story (maximum length 3,000 words). Deadline December 31, 2013. The Marine Society Prize will have a sole winner. The Short Story and Poetry Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Seafarers, Non-seafarers, Under 18’s.

Details at http://www.marine-society.org/writingatsea

Call for submissions for adult writers:

   Ask. ePals Media, 70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601. Ask is the Cricket Magazine Group’s magazine of nature, science, the arts, and the world at large for ages six to nine. Each issue focuses on a designated concept, question, or theme related to the natural, physical, or social sciences, technology, math, history, or the arts. It is published nine times a year and has a circulation of 36,000.

    The nonfiction in Ask is always engaging, and not overtly educational or textbook-like in tone or perspective. Articles should be concrete but narrative, and relevant to the interests of the young readers.

    Query according to theme by email to ask@caruspub.com, with Submissions in the subject line, or use Submittable, at https://cricketmag.submittable.com/submit/20689. Include an article overview, including scope and treatment, references/resources, an opening paragraph, and for writers new to Ask, a résumé, and an unedited nonfiction writing sample of at least 200 words. Articles, 1,200 to 1,600 words, including sidebar. Photoessays, 400 to 600 words. Humor, profiles of people, inventions, events, the arts, 200 to 400 words. Upcoming themes: Dropping Things or gravity (September 2014 issue), query by December 15, 2013; Fairy Tale Science (October 2014 issue), query by February 1, 2014; Chemist in My Kitchen (November/ December 2014 issue), query by March 15.
Details at www.askkidsmag.com

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Writing a Chapter Book, part 6/Calls for Submissions


      This article is the sixth in the series: Writing a Chapter Book.

Try these tips:
 
Spend time with kids who are the age of the characters and listen to how they speak. Reflect their language in your writing. A rich, lively language with expanded vocabulary makes the storytelling seem real. Action verbs depict a specific image. The boy ran is not as specific as the boy dashed. Dashed indicates a faster pace than ran; thus, more specific. Create an image with words so the reader can better imagine the action. Sensory language—using see, hear, touch, taste, and smell—create vivid scenes that take the reader along on the journey as though s/he is in the midst of the action.

Capture the interest of the reader at the beginning of the story with immediate action, where something important is happening to the main character. Hook the reader by focusing on the protagonist. Begin with a scene that mirrors the overall conflict in some way. If the story involves a ghost, you might choose to open with a scene in which the protagonist sees a ghost or finds something that make the character suspect a ghost is creating havoc. Conflict should be evident from the beginning. Avoid a long build up with backstory that will have readers moaning booooorrrring.  

Call for submissions for young writers:

Parallel Ink is your friendly, neighborhood e-magazine publishing writing by students around the world in grades 6-12*. Aside from super-imaginative sci-fi serials and epic fantasy tales, we welcome poignant poetry, quirky rants/personal essays, discarded love letters, and offbeat text exchanges with open arms (among many other countless gems of literature teenagers write). Anything goes if it's well-written, captivating, and ready for sending out into the world wide web!

Submission guidelines at http://parallel-ink.webs.com/

Call for submissions for adult writers:

MUSE Literary Journal Seeks Poetry and Creative Nonfiction. Send up to 3 poems (all styles welcome) or one piece of creative nonfiction (1500 word maximum) to be considered for Spring 2014 issue. Most recent edition includes work from new and established writers, including BZ Niditch, Donna Hilbert, Allison Whittenberg, Lloyd Aquino, Robert Cooperman, Irving Gaeta, Michael H. Winn, Candace Mayo, and Tina Holden Burroughs. Previously unpublished work only; simultaneous submissions okay if notified upon acceptance elsewhere. Include separate cover letter with full contact information, 5-7 line bio, and SASE. Mail to: MUSE Literary Journal, Riverside City College, 4800 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA, 92506.

Submission deadline: February 15, 2014
 
Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Writing a Chapter Book, part 5/Calls for Submissions


This article is the fifth  in the series: Writing a Chapter Book.

Try these tips:

Voice. If the characters are kids, they should sound like kids. Make the dialog authentic and age appropriate. Chapter books use lots of dialog to show character development. One character may stutter or have a lisp. The other may talk in a way that is easy to identify, such as ending sentences with a question. Let’s go for a walk, okay? Each character needs to have a distinct way of talking. These identifying markers—unique speech patterns and phrasing—make them seem real. Capture the reader’s imagination with action verbs and specific descriptors. The squirrel climbed up the tree is okay but The squirrel scampered is better.

Active voice usually works better than passive voice because the reader “sees” the action as it takes place. Example: The bicycle was ridden by the boy is passive. In passive voice the action is performed upon the subject. In active voice the subject performs the action, as in The boy rode the bicycle. Sentences with active voice are more concise and use fewer words to describe the action and express the idea.

Call for submissions for young writers:

TEEN INK, a national teen magazine, book series, and website is devoted entirely to teenage writing, art, photos and forums. Students must be age 13-19 to participate, register and/or submit work. Distributed through classrooms by English teachers, Creative Writing teachers, Journalism teachers and art teachers around the country, Teen Ink magazine offers some of the most thoughtful and creative work generated by teens and has the largest distribution of any publication of its kind. We have no staff writers or artists; we depend completely on submissions from teenagers nationwide for our content. We offer teenagers the opportunity to publish their creative work and opinions on the issues that affect their lives - everything from love and family to teen smoking and community service.

 Submission guidelines at http://www.teenink.com/About

Call for submissions for adult writers:

FrostFire Worlds is a new quarterly science fiction and fantasy adventures print magazine for young readers (ages 8-17) from Alban Lake Publishing. The first issue will be released on August 1, 2013.
Submission guidelines at http://albanlake.com/guidelines-frostfire/

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