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.  

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