Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Emotional Connection

When I wrote the first draft of my picture book biography, Barreling Over Niagara Falls, an editor said she enjoyed the story and thought the manuscript was marketable, but she had trouble connecting with the desperation of the character, the emotional connection. The editor asked me to address the following:

Why would a woman risk her life by riding a barrel over Niagara Falls?
What was the character feeling?
How did her behavior reflect her feelings?
Back to the drawing board for me. I read and reread every article and book I could find on Annie Edson Taylor to grasp her need for choosing the life of a daredevil when the most dangerous thing she had ever done was cross the street.
As I explored the literature, I found a woman who had been accustomed to a comfortable lifestyle so facing the poorhouse, a facility for the indigent, would be devastating emotionally. I also found a woman who wanted to make a name for herself, to be known far and wide, and to become financially stable, maybe rich, as well as popular. All those emotions were at play and it was my job to unveil them throughout the story.
The emotional element answers the WHY of a character’s actions and makes a more compelling read.
Call for submissions for Young Writers

Sprout. We accept all creative media pertaining to social issues.
  • POETRY: We accept both individual poems and collections. Individual poems will be reviewed as stand-alone pieces whereas a collection (limited at five poems) will be reviewed as a coherent piece.
  • OTHER LITERATURE: No more than 5,000 words. 
  • STATIC VISUAL: 1 to 10 images in a collection.
  • MISCELLANEOUS PIECES: Pieces such as spoken word, music, and cinematic work can be no longer than ten minutes in length.
​We request that you send only one submission per email.

Call for submissions for Adult Writers
Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Blended Families. Are you part of a blended family, enjoying stepchildren, stepsiblings, etc.? Blending two families after a second marriage can be a real joy… and sometimes a challenge too. Tell us about your own blended families. How did you make it work? What advice do you have for other families? We are looking for true stories about all aspects of blending families—stories that will make us laugh and cry, nod our heads in recognition, and give us great advice. Tell us about your kids if you’re a parent, your parents if you’re a kid, your pets, whatever you think would enlighten and entertain someone else in the same situation. The deadline for story and poem submissions is June 30, 2016.

Submission guidelines at

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