Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Writing Children’s Books with Child Appeal, Part 2

Fictional picture books often deal with the character solving a problem, and in doing so, the writer’s job is to show the character’s emotional state. A character’s feelings are the gateway into the story.  Emotions make readers feel, make them hunger for the character to overcome the obstacles, and cheer for the victory. Without the emotional stakes, readers are not drawn into the character’s world, so they don’t care. Make readers feel. Make them care. With each scene, consider how the reader will react. Is the event something in which the child can identify? If children see themselves in a story, they identify with it and request it for storytime, over and over. 

Mountains of children’s books have been written on every subject that interest children of every age. Making a book different in some way so it can compete in a highly competitive market is necessary. One way to do this is to write about some thing or experience in which a child is familiar and flip it to present the information or story in a fresh and engaging way. A retelling of a fairy tale from the voice of a minor character: Example: Cinderella as told by the pumpkin or the glass slipper.  

Page turns are fun for the readers and add a ton of child appeal. This approach keeps adding surprises as the story unfolds. Here are three ways to add page turns.

1.      Stop in the middle of a sentence and complete it on the following page. Readers enjoy this because it allows them to predict what my happen next. The more a reader is engaged in a story, the more appeal it has.

2.      Use part of a compound word on one page and the remainder on the next. Example: He found a rattle…snake in the grass.

3.      Transitions words are fun to heighten the interest of turning a page: then, when, but, etc. 

In my next blog, I’ll continue with more ideas for writing books with child appeal.

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 

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
KidSpirit accepts submissions of poetry, artwork, and nonfiction articles from 11- to 17-year-olds everywhere. Except for artwork, all work should be related to the following themes:
Unity and Division (Fall 2017)
Creation and Destruction (Winter 2017/18)
Submission guidelines at https://kidspiritonline.com/get-involved/ 

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

One Teen Story is a literary magazine for teens and adults who read young adult fiction. They publish 12 issues a year digitally and in print. Each issue contains only one story.

They pay their authors $500 dollars and 25 contributor copies for first North American serial rights. The rights revert back to the author after publication.

Submission guidelines at http://www.authorspublish.com/one-teen-story-now-open-to-submissions/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, October 8, 2017

Writing Children's Books with Child Appeal

One popular request by editors is the need for books with child appeal. So what can we do to add child appeal to a manuscript? 

Remember, the first person to whom the book must appeal is an adult—the editor. If an editor doesn’t like a manuscript, it doesn’t become a book with a traditional publisher. A parent, teacher, librarian, gift shop manager etc. must also find it interesting and worthy. 

Universal emotions, such as anger, taps into feelings everyone understands and deals with.

Consider the age of the audience. What are the interests of a two-year-old? This age group knows about family, pets, food… When choosing a topic, think about the child’s world and experiences they embrace. A simple walk down a lane is a learning experience for a toddler. They enjoy watching bugs, picking a flower, and blowing a dandelion. Colors and the many hue variations found in nature fascinate them. Shapes and sounds are part of their world. Stay within the child’s experiences and interest. 

Always reflect events that are age appropriate for the intended audience. The theme, subject matter, and events in the story should interest and be appropriate for the reader’s age group. Engaging a particular group of readers directly is the goal. A book that fits “all age groups” is usually too broad in scope for the picture book crowd. Narrowly focus the theme, with one theme carrying the book.

 
In my next blog, I’ll continue with more ideas for writing books with child appeal.

 
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:

Magic Dragon, a quarterly publication, presents writing and art created by children in the elementary school grades in a magazine of quality four-color printing and graphic display. We believe that our objectives are special – to encourage the development of creativity in children and to provide a medium to share their creative efforts. 

Submission guidelines at http://www.magicdragonmagazine.com/ 

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

GLASS & GARDENS: SOLARPUNK SUMMERS

Solarpunk is a type of eco-conscious science fiction that imagines an optimistic future founded on renewable energies. It might take place in a wind-powered skyscraper or on a solar-powered robotic farm, in a bustling green-roofed metropolis or in a small but tech-saavy desert village. Often coupled with an art nouveau aesthetic, and always inclusive and diverse, solarpunk stories show the ways we have adapted to climate change, or the ways we have overcome it.

Submission guidelines at http://www.worldweaverpress.com/submit-anthologies.html

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