Nancy's Books

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Win a book. A picture book. My latest picture book, FIRST FIRE—A CHEROKEE FOLKTALE. 

Sign up for a chance to win. Tell others. Tell others to tell others. 

My publisher, Sylvan Dell, is giving away 5 copies. Here is the Goodreads link:

Thanks a bunch and good luck.
Let’s look at how to write a middle grade novel. 

Keep a log of character features. If the character has black hair in one chapter, s/he should have black hair in every chapter, unless you tell the reader otherwise. Stay consistent. Give the characters special quirks. Every person has unique quirks so let’s make our characters more realistic by giving them specific habits and behaviors. This uniqueness allows you to develop lifelike characters. This is much easier to achieve if you have a list of characters to which you can refer for their peculiarities.

 So, if you are writing about two or more characters the same age, how do you give each of them unique characteristics? Dialog works. As you read works by various authors, notice how they make characters sound differently. One character in my book has a habit of saying, “First thing.” Some characters might use few words to communicate and others may say in 20 words what could be said in 2. 

Another way to show individuality is with mannerisms. A character in one of my books twists her hair when she gets nervous. Maybe the a habit of interrupting others when they are talking could be used as a trait. The choices are unlimited.
All readers love to relate to the characters, and the middle grade audience is no different. Create weaknesses, problems and situations the characters must deal with and in which the readers can relate. The readers will see themselves reflected in the characters problems, actions and reactions.
I'll continue this series next week. 

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION CONTEST. This environmental journalism competition invites youth between the ages of 13-21 to report on topics related to the environment. Participants submit an article, photo, or video to the competition for a chance to win great prizes, plus national and international recognition. Deadline March 14, 2014. Prizes for the Young Reporters for the Environment USA 2013-2014 competition will be awarded in each media category (writing, photography and video) for each age group (13-15, 16-18, and 19-21). A first, second, and third place winner will be recognized in each category, for a total of 27 awards.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Ladybug is the Cricket Magazine Group literary magazine that targets children ages three to six. Its stories, articles, poems, and activities are fun and imaginative. It is open to submissions that use “clear and beautiful language” and have “a sense of joy and a genuinely childlike point of view.” For fiction, editors look for very well crafted original pieces or folk and fairy tale retellings (to 800 words). The are particularly interested in receiving stories set in cities or foreign places. Ladybug nonfiction (to 400 words)

explores the places in a child’s daily world, nature, science, and cultures. Rhythmic or rhyming poetry of current interest (to 20 lines) also deals with children’s “daily lives and their emotional and imaginative worlds,” or are action rhymes that encourage movement. 

Submission guidelines at


1 comment:

  1. Thanks -- for the post and the reminder to submit to Ladybug!