Nancy's Books

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Improving Word Choice/Contest/Call for Submissions

In children’s writing, especially picture books, every word must be necessary so the importance of word choice is paramount. How do we learn to develop a writing style in which we select the best words for the story?

Read widely. Let books by numerous authors serve as a learning experience. Notice how authors choose particular words to convey an idea.

Write in a variety of styles. Try using figurative and lyrical language in all types of writing.

Keep sentences clear. Short sentences are less confusing. If you use longer sentences, retain the meaning by writing in a direct manner. Clear, precise, detailed writing gives life to words. The goal is communication.

Avoid clichés and stereotypes. “Mad as a wet hen” is a cliché and the words don’t resonate with a fresh expression. If you write your first thoughts when describing something, you may be using clichés. Play with the words to develop your own phrases for comparison. Avoiding stereotypes isn’t easy but aim for writing original phrases and descriptions.

Vary sentence length. A paragraph composed entirely of long sentences tends to bog down a story. Varied sentence lengths adds interest to the flow and pace of the words.

Experiment. Try writing the same story using different perspectives. If the story is about a lost cat, try telling the story from the child’s point of view. Retell the story from the cat’s perspective. Which works better?

Have fun. After you get past the dreaded first draft, have fun with the words. If the story is playful, choose upbeat words. The best choice of words will reflect the tone of the story.

Contest for Adult Writers
Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest.
Write a poem, 30 lines or fewer on any subject or write a short story,
5 pages maximum length on any theme, single or double-line spacing,
neatly hand printed or typed.
Writing First Prize: $500, 2nd: $125; 3rd: $100
Poetry First Prize: $250, 2nd: $125; 3rd: $50.
Entry fees: $5 per poem, $10 per story.
Postmark deadline: December 31, 2011.
Details at

Call for Submissions for Student Writers
New Moon Magazine
34 Superior Street, Suite 200
Duluth, MN 55802
75% written by girls, ages 8-14: fiction, non-fiction,
poetry, book reviews and articles.

Check out more contests on my blog:

No comments:

Post a Comment