Nancy's Books

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Writing with a Slant

When I begin a fictional manuscript, I think about the character, plot, and setting, but I also consider the slants. By slant, I mean writing with an angle, such as:

Narrowing the topic. Amazing Grace, a middle grade novel, is a fictional account of American life during World War II. The landscape of the early 1940s is so broad, I narrowed the setting to one small town, Ashland, Kentucky. Rather than covering the entire war years, I focused on one. The book is about 33,000 words, so I was limited in both time and space. Narrowing the topic was a must.

Choosing the audience. What age group do I want to reach? I began the Amazing Grace manuscript as a picture book. After many rewrites and revisions, an editor suggested that I rewrite the story for an older audience. After weeks of planning and plotting the story mentally, I started over with middle grade readers in mind. What could my readers handle? What would they enjoy reading and learning? Those were questions that I asked before writing a word.

In my next blog, I’ll address the next two factors for writing with a slant.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

The Caterpillar. This is a respected literary journal for kids between the ages of 8 and 11 accepts submissions of poetry and fiction.

Submissions guidelines at

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

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Sunday, August 4, 2019

I’ve Finished My Manuscript, Now What? Part 3

After compiling a list of 15-20 potential publishers that fit the type of manuscript you’ve written, trim the list to the top 5 and submit to those. Before subbing a story, always check the publisher’s/agent’s website to make sure the submission guidelines still accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Follow the guidelines exactly. Some have specific information required in the cover letter (such as, three comparable titles in the last three years) and in the number of pages to send. Some want the pages in the body of the email; others prefer an attachment. And some are specific in the information listed on the Subject line of the email. Still, others require manuscripts to be sent by the U. S. Postal Service. Each publisher is different, so check the submission guidelines carefully. 

Some editors/agents may provide comments on what does or does not work with the manuscript. Take the information and use it (if you agree) to revise the piece. Some editors/agents may suggest the changes and offer and R & R (revise and resubmit). Some may not offer the opportunity to resubmit. Don’t resubmit the manuscript unless the editor/agent requests it. Spend time revising and submit to the next 5 potential publishers on your list. By this time you may have made changes that will make the manuscript more appealing and marketable. 

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Youth Imagination is interested in creative fiction stories by teens as well as by adult authors. Make the stories awesome, inspiring and engaging. Our goal is to publish the best writing for and by teens. We particularly love stories exploring their issues, such as bullying, drugs, romance, school, parental issues, teacher issues, etc., as well as about the grit and character of teens and young adults.
We accept most genres of fiction, including modern, urban or classical fantasy, as well as sci-fi, slipstream, literary, action-adventure or suspense.

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 50+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK. 
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