Nancy's Books

Sunday, February 17, 2019

“Write” Start: Action



Action is another way to open a story, whether it’s a picture book, chapter book or YA novel. The official term is in media res, Latin for “in the midst of action.” Delving the reader into the exploits of the main character establishes the stakes at risk and ups the tension. I used this style of opening in FORTY WINKS. A dragon zoomed around the child’s room at night, waking him. 

Opening a story with action places the reader in the middle of the scene as it is taking place. It’s been used for centuries, as far back as the Roman poet Horace who stated that an epic poem should not begin “from the egg” but should “snatch” the listener “into the middle of things.” It kicks the story off in the middle of the plot. 

To begin with action, something happens. The action may be near the beginning of the story, or closer to the middle or ending. The writer then backtracks to introduce the character and the situation.

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:

The Louisville Review accepts accepts submissions of previously unpublished poetry from students in grades K-12. Seeks writing that looks for fresh ways to recreate scenes and feelings. Honest emotion and original imagery are more important to a poem than rhyming and big topics—such as life, moralizing, and other abstractions. Parental signature must accompany submissions. Unsolicited submissions of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and drama year round. All work must be previously unpublished. Reply time is 3-6 months. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please notify us promptly via email if your work is accepted elsewhere. All submissions are considered based on quality of writing above all else.

Submissions guidelines at http://www.louisvillereview.org/submissions/

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

East of the Web. East of the Web is keen to provide exposure for writers by offering them a place where their work will be seen and read in a high quality, respected setting. The site receives about half a million unique visitors per month, so successful submissions are likely to be viewed by more readers than in almost any other short story publication. In addition, the site receives attention from agents, the press, film makers, schools, universities and other publishers.

Submissions guidelines at http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/Publishing.html


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

Leave a message or check out my blog at www.nancykellyallen.com


Sunday, February 3, 2019

"Write" Start: Image


Today’s blog is a continuation of the “Write” Start series. Along with appealing to the readers with unexpected events or situations and stirring their curiosity, try writing the opening with an image. Focus on a sensory detail—see, hear, touch, taste, smell—with the first line. In  my picture book, DEAR KOMODO DRAGON, the opening focuses on a visual setting:

Over on Komodo Island living, breathing dragons, giant, man-eating dragons, sharp-clawed and fierce, stomp through the wood and lurk in the grass, ready to attack.

The goal is to immediately engross the reader in the setting, hooked by the image. Background information and context can come later. 

Beginning with an image provides a pivotal moment that creates an interesting mental picture. First lines are difficult to write. If we can provide the readers with information to paint a picture in their minds, they are more likely to keep turning the pages. The opening scene is the make-or-break moment for the reader. Either engage immediately, or many, maybe most, readers will close the book and choose another.

Call for Submissions for Young Writers: 
Skipping Stones Magazine. Writings (essays, stories, letters to the editor, riddles and proverbs, etc.) should be typed or neatly handwritten and limited to 1,000 words and poems to 30 lines. We encourage writings in all languages with an English translation, if possible. And, we love illustrations! Please send originals of your drawings, paintings, or photos to our post office box address below. Include your name, age, and address along with your submission. We welcome electronic submissions as well.

Submissions guidelines at http://www.skippingstones.org/submissions.htm

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Boys’ Quest Magazine. We are looking for lively writing, most of it from a 10-year-old boy¹s point of view, with the boy or boys directly involved in an activity that is both wholesome and unusual. Our current need is nonfiction articles accompanied by strong supporting photos. 
Nonfiction pieces that are accompanied by clear photos with high resolution are far more likely to be accepted than those that need illustrations. 
The ideal length of a BOYS' QUEST nonfiction piece is 350-375 words for a one-page magazine article or 700-750 words for a two-page magazine article.  
Submissions guidelines at http://funforkidzmagazines.com/bq_guidelines


Leave a message or check out my blog at www.nancykellyallen.com