July 15, 2016

So You Think You Can Write

A lot of people think it’s easy to write for kids.  For example, a good friend of mine wrote a picture book, even though she has no experience in writing fiction.  A few weeks ago we spent an hour going over her manuscript line by line. 

These were my suggestions:      

Do not paginate. Instead, double-space the entire manuscript. 
Avoid fancy fonts. Use Times New Roman, twelve point font. 
Type the title in caps, not it large, bold font.
Use age-appropriate words, but do not dummy down the language.
Keep the verb tense consistent.
Create a goal or something that the main character wants.  
Create a conflict or dilemmas which will make the goal more difficult to attain.
Keep the word count well under 1000 words. 
Make the story unique so that it will stand out and not get lost in the slush pile.
Have a satisfying ending.  Add a twist if possible or a tie-in to the beginning.

Though the manuscript had some problems, there were many good things about the story.  The descriptions were colorful and the main character could be relatable to young kids.  The story also had great illustration potential. 

I told my friend she was off to a good start.  She thanked me for helping her and asked if she could have my notes.  She knew she would have to spend more time editing her work, especially since she planned on submitting it for publication.  She realized that there is a lot to consider when writing for kids.  

July 1, 2016


Two weeks ago, I lost my sister-in-law Barb to cancer.  She had been diagnosed in February, and then four months later she passed away.  This was crazy fast.

Her untimely death sent me reeling.  She was relatively young by today’s standards, only 60, much younger than me.  So…it’s made me think about life more, what I want to do and to achieve.  For me, I’ve always wanted to publish a picture book, and now, I am more determined. 

Writing is my passion and I hope it is yours, too.  So my advice to you is to write every day.  No excuses.  Just put a few words down daily even if you don’t feel like it (you can always edit later.)  Create new fiction.  Edit older projects.  Or, get started on a topic that you’ve always wanted to research and write about it. 

Submit your work continuously, non-stop.  If your dream is to get published in a children’s magazine, then study the markets, submit and submit and persevere until your work is accepted.  If you want to get a book published, polish it until it is perfect, have a second reader review it, edit it again, and then search the directories for agents.  Don't give up.

I urge you know to think about your writing dreams and pursue them.  We never know what the future will hold.  Life is short.  Live it.  Live it well.  And write.