Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Idea to Finished Manuscript, Part II

Try these ideas for turning an idea into a story:

Audience. The adage Know your audience is true in any genre of literature. Is this story a  read-aloud for a three-year-old or is it geared for a six-year-old beginning reader? When we meet someone on the street and talk face-to-face, we adjust our speech and language to suit the audience. As writers, we have to recognize and understand the reading and interest level of our readers before we begin writing. A read-aloud story may have more complicated words and sentence structure than a beginning reader for an older child.
What if. What if it rained marshmallows. What if everyone grew horns. Probe your character and plot with the What if question to develop your story idea. When your story comes to a screeching halt and you don’t know where to go with the plot ask what if. You may be surprised at the turn your story takes and the new ideas you will explore.

Perspective/Point of view. These are not the same. Perspective refers to the strategy a writer uses to tell the story. Is it first person (I) , second (you), or third (he/she)? Keep the same perspective throughout in books for younger children. 

Point of view refers to who is telling the story? Is the big dog, the friendly dog, or the neighbor’s cat? Try different characters to determine which could tell the story in the most compelling way. The single-character perspective is the most common viewpoint used in children’s literature. If you change the viewpoint, do it with a new chapter to enhance understanding for the reader. 

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Young Rider. Short stories (approximately 800-1,000 words) for about $150. They have to be “realistic” stories and not too sugary sweet. We only use 4 to 5 of these a year. We get a great deal of “children overcoming the odds to win things or struggling to buy or get a horse of their own” so we don’t encourage these types of stories. We would prefer funny stories, with a bit of conflict, which will appeal to the 13-year-old age group. They should be written in the third person, and about kids. The story should have a definite plot, some sort of conflict (humorous, serious or not-so-serious) and a resolution. No “childhood memories” please.
Submission guidelines at

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