Nancy's Books

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Picture Book Saavy, Part 2

In creating a story for the picture book crowd, we have to ask, What is the want? In last week’s example, I used—I want to win every game.  

Now we need to ask—Why is that important? Is it because the child thinks the parents expect him/her to win every game? Does the child think winning will produce more friends? 

The “Want” must be believable. That is the heart of the story, the motivation. Why does he want to win every game? 

Once a believable “want” is established, obstacles must be introduced to impede the character from reaching the goal or solving the problem. Obstacles create conflict, and conflict keeps the reader interested in the story. The character must overcome the obstacles, but shouldn’t easily. 

Three types of conflict exist:

1.      Protagonist against another character.

2.      Protagonist against circumstances (weather, luck, nature, etc.)

3.      Protagonist against her/himself (afraid, shy, etc.) 

The ending should be happy or at least offer hope. The last page is an opportunity for a writer to offer a twist in the story to surprise or provide an emotional connection to the reader.

Next week, I’ll provide more golden nuggets of our conversations. 

Call for submissions for Young Writers

Teen Ink. If it has a beginning, middle and end ... if it has a well-developed plot and interesting characters ... it if takes place in the past, present or future ... then submit your story to Teen Ink's Fiction Contest.


Winning stories are published in Teen Ink magazine and contest winners receive a copy of the magazine featuring their work. Plus, they’ll have the opportunity to choose from an exciting selection of Teen Ink merchandise – apparel and other items – available exclusively from Teen Ink.

Guidelines: Teen Ink will only consider original fiction written by teens. Entries of all genres are accepted, whether fantasy, horror, historical, sci-fi, or romance. Short stories should be between 500 and 2,500 words.

Submit entries through our website. All fiction pieces submitted to Teen Ink are automatically considered for the contest. See our submission guidelines for more information.
No deadlines.

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories about Cats
We are working on and collecting stories and poems for another wonderful book about our cats. The focus of this book will be on rescued cats that were adopted from shelters or rescue organizations and who luckily found their forever homes. Whether adopted as kittens or adopted as older cats in the last few years of their lives, what amazing stories of survival our cats could tell us. We love these heartwarming and inspirational stories about our cats and the amazing and magical things they do. We rejoice in their simple absurdities, funny habits, and crazy antics. Our cats make us smile and laugh every day, but sometimes they really outdo themselves. Whether they came up with the idea themselves, or you put them in a situation that caused them to do something unusual, we want to hear about it! We know you'll have many great stories for us about your cats. Stories can be serious or humorous... or both. Tell us what your cat did. The deadline for story and poem submissions is January 31, 2017. 

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

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