Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Writing in Rhyme

In a writing group I recently attended, one member followed up with an email to ask why editors did not like rhyming stories. I certainly can’t answer for editors, and since I don’t (and can’t) write in rhyme, my reply is based on the information I’ve heard in workshops and discussions with several editors.

Rhyme does not work when the rhyme is the most important factor. The story reigns supreme and should have an arc with a beginning, middle, and ending, as with non-rhyming stories. The words should read well and be fun to say, and the rhyming words should be exact rhymes. Near-rhymes don’t cut it.

The strength of the story comes from the voice, emotion, plot, character, and resolution/change at the end of the story, not from the rhyme. It’s easy to write bad rhyme (I know because the rhyme I’ve written is not contract worthy), and good rhyme is extremely difficult to master.  

Editors often steer away from rhyme since it is difficult to translate into other languages, making the sales market smaller. 

The manuscript must tell a good story. If you can do that and follow the rules of rhyme, give it a try. Many authors do and are successful.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Chicken Soup. Christmas and Holiday Collection – 2018. Our next holiday collection will not be released until 2018 but we are already collecting stories for it. People love reading about the winter holidays – from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s Day. We want to hear about your traditions and how they came to be. We want to hear about your holiday memories and the rituals that create the foundation of your life. We love to hear about the funny things too: the ugly holiday sweaters, the gingerbread house that kept falling down, the re-gifting embarrassments and the fruit cake disasters. Please be sure your stories are “Santa safe” so we don’t spoil the magic for any precocious young readers. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is October 31, 2017.

 Submission guidelines at http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topicsSubmission guidelines at

 Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK. Check out her blog at www.nancykellyallen.com

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Writing with Kid Appeal

          Kid appeal is a must in writing articles for children’s magazines.

If you include a kid in an article, you’re much more likely to sell it. For example, when writing an article about football training, the text will be more appealing if you write about a specific kid in training, rather than an article about football training, in general. The same is true for an article on all subjects, such as the importance of recycling. Writing about a kid who is involved with a recycling project will resonate more with the reader than an article about the need to recycle plastic.

          To catch and hold a reader’s attention, write about kids who are near the reader’s age. Most teen magazine articles approach all subjects with specific kids sharing their own stories and experiences.                                       

Visuals are a necessity, too. Some magazines may require you to provide photos, and others may use stock photos, which are provided by the magazine. Photos are important to the story because they place the reader directly in the subject area. Visuals and text are equally important. Not only do kids want to read information, they want to see the pictures, too.
 
The common denominator in writing that all kids enjoy is humor. Add humor to lessen the didactic prose. If you’re writing a quiz for the readers, try spicing it up with a touch of fun and funny. Kids enjoy puns and other forms of wordplay (I was told I had Type A blood, but it was a typo.)
Write about subjects that are of high importance to the reader: boy/girl relationships, parent guidelines, friendships…
Will kids want to read the article? Check it out with some kids before you ship it out to a publisher. Ask for feedback from those readers.
Up your chances of getting a contract by adding kid appeal. Your editor will thank you for it.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
FUN FOR KIDZ: Ages 6-13, with emphasis on ages 8-10. Each issue has a specific theme. See guidelines for theme list. Fiction and Nonfiction: 500 words or fewer. Focus is on activities and promoting positive values. Articles with photos are more likely to be accepted.
Submission guidelines at http://funforkidzmagazines.com/writers

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Picture Book Revision, part 3

Tips on picture book revision, continued:

Kid appeal. Children experience the world differently than adults. What adults take for granted is a first-time experience for a child, making the event more exciting, challenging, amazing. The world of a child is filled with wonder.
Consider the age of the target audience before writing the first word. Word choice, sentence length, plot, and theme have to work together to produce a story that appeals to a child’s sensibilities. Generally, books for younger children have fewer words. The story doesn’t preach; it educates, entertains, and explores.
Gatekeeper appeal. Adults decide which books young children will hold in their hands and enjoy. They want picture books that offer something of value, a story that reveals timeless truths. The simple structure, beautiful illustrations, and economy of words create a theme that connects with the child and the adult. I always review my polished draft and ask, will this book be enjoyable on a second reading? Is there an underlying universal theme that the parent and child can discuss? If I don’t ask it, an editor certainly will. Editors often refer to books without a universal theme as “slight.”
Marketability. One more important aspect of revision is the marketability of the story. Are other similar books in the marketplace? How is my book different? What does my book offer that is different from the others?
Just write. We can’t control the market, so write from the heart and tell the story you want to tell.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Babble is an ever-evolving collection of wisdom and perspective and humor. It brings together unique voices that foster refreshing conversations. Real parents sharing real moments that help you think, help you learn, help you laugh, and help you be a better you.

Indicate in the subject line of your email what section of Babble your piece would run: Mom, Pregnancy, Baby, Toddler, Kid, Body + Mind, Work + Money, Home, Relationships, Entertainment, Beauty, Food, or Travel.

Submission guidelines at http://www.babble.com/write-for-babble/