June 15, 2015

Action and Conflict

When you write a story for children, action and conflict should play huge roles. Yet some of the submissions that I receive for Kid's Imagination Train online magazine (http://www.kidsimaginationtrain.com/ ) are missing these very important elements.

Let's say a story begins with this scene:  a little girl tells her mother that she doesn’t want to go to school. The mother asks her daughter why she doesn't want to go to class.  The child tells her mother she can't leave home without her pet cat.  Notice that while this scene sets up the plot, it does not have any action.  This is telling. It's a conversation. 

A better way to do this would be by showing.  Now, if the little girl says will not go to school without her cat and then hides the cat in her book bag, the story has action. Through her actions we know that she loves her cat and doesn’t want to be separated from it.  Also through her actions, conflict is set up.  I’m betting the cat will cause trouble in class.  Maybe the cat causes a distraction by playing with students' shoelaces, lying across text books, and meowing loudly during lessons. 

The story should build with more tension that will lead to the climax and finally, to the resolution.  Keep in mind that the ending should also be active.  Don't tell us what happened. Having dialogue at the end of the story doesn’t cut it.  Let there be more action!  Show us how the little girl solves the feline dilemma.  Add a twist or a surprise so that the ending is unpredictable. 

Children’s stories thrive on action.  Without it, a story is simply dialogue and that can create a pretty boring story.  Stories for the young also depend on conflict.  It is needed to make us care about the main character and to drive the plot.  Without conflict, story is stagnant—there is no quest, no job for the main character to tackle.   

It’s easy to figure out if you have action and conflict.  Simply think of the plot of  your story in pictures or scenes.  If you see a character doing something actively, you have succeeded.  You have accomplished incorporating two important elements into your story (and that makes this editor very happy).

June 1, 2015

Do You Believe in KIT?

Kid's Imagination Train was created about three years ago.  It began as a blog and is growing by leaps and bounds. Now, readers can enjoy our magazine as a flipbook and can listen to features from our audio page.  KIT offers fiction, poetry, nonfiction, book reviews and much more each month. 

You may already know that our magazine engages children by providing them the opportunity to illustrate their favorite features and have their pictures published online. What you may not know about our magazine is that the staff of KIT donates their talents. Yep, that means, we don’t earn a salary.  This scenario is rare.  Most people want to get paid for their services.  So, you can imagine how blessed I am  to work with this wonderful group of individuals.

Book reviewer and marketing director Donna Smith evaluates children's books for each issue.  She also composes press releases and works on ways to market our magazine.  In addition, she creates puzzles for our Word Scrambles and content for our Facebook page.

Thrace Shirley Mears is our illustrator.  She not only designs each cover page of KIT, she helps in giving advice on the design of the magazine and she draws illustrated titles for our features.

Sharon Olivia Blumberg is our voiceover talent.  She records poems, stories, articles, and book reviews for our audio page so that children, teachers, and parents can listen to their favorite features.  The audio page also benefits children who are visually impaired.

Ultimately, KIT has three goals.  We would like to offer competitive rates for writers.  We would also like to cover production costs.  We would like to compensate the staff for their amazing services.  

We believe in keeping KIT a free magazine for children around the world.  And you can help.  If everyone who read Children’s Writers World and Kid's Imagination Train gave $5.00, we would be able to meet our goals.  Another option would be to buy an ad on our sponsor page.  

Please visit  http://www.kidsimaginationtrain.com/ .  Contributors will be acknowledged in KIT.  A portion of the proceeds will go to First Book  http://www.firstbook.org/ which donates new books to children in need. 

Won't you please consider giving?  A small gift will make a big difference.    

Thank you in advance.  
Randi Lynn Mrvos,editor