April 7, 2013

Writing Fiction

Recently, I received a fiction submission for the Kid’s Imagination Train.  The story was cute but needed some editing.  When the piece was first submitted, it read like an itinerary. The main character did this first, and then he did this next, and so on.  There was no conflict and there was no character change.
The story had potential.  After a few suggestions were made, the author handled the revision brilliantly.  
In the first line of the story, the main character cries as his mom and dad drops him off at his aunt’s home so they can have a date.  This is a good example of conflict.  Eventually, the little boy begins to have fun.  He plays with his aunt’s dog and throws its favorite play toy onto the couch, under the bed, and into the kitchen.  This is how you show, not tell.  
Then the author incorporated the senses into the story.  This helped to draw the readers in to experience what the main character was feeling.  We tasted his sweet snacks, we felt his warm outdoor clothing and the cold snowy playground, and we listened to music they danced to.

Lastly, the author wrapped up the story with a  character change—the little boy finally realized that he had a very good visit with his aunt.
I think writing fiction for children is difficult.  You have to tell an engaging story in just a few words.  And, there's a lot to remember as you write.  But if you show, not tell, throw in conflict, tap into the senses, and add character change, you will be off to a very good start.

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