|Reach for the moon and you might catch a star|
Is your story predictable?
Did you explain everything well?
6. Be specific. Check for anything vague or general and change to specific.
7. Do a drama check. Heighten the drama wherever you can.
- Main character's thoughts and feelings
- Show moves or gestures and facial expressions to show feelings
- The story problem
- The main character's special need or flaw
- The theme: Does your theme clearly stand out (without stating it)? My favorite example is Bruce Coville's, The Skull of Truth. Charlie Eggleston has a not-so-slight problem telling the truth. On page three "a familiar voice sneered, 'Well, look here--it's Charlie Eggleston, king of the liars.'" Telling the truth carries throughout the book; the last line finishes the theme off with, "And that was the absolute truth." Even though 'truth' is brought out in many not-so subtle ways--it appears even in the title--the book is such fun to read, the message of 'telling the truth' is integral to the story and never stated.
- The encapsulation of your story in as few words as possible.
- The synopsis: Tell someone or say out loud what your book is about--not always easy for someone who expresses herself/himself on the page.
- The book jacket blurb.
- The list of characters, brief descriptions, their goals and their own character arc.
- The list of chapter titles and page numbers.
We don't know it yet, but we've met our ghost--she is the main character who came from an earlier time, 1938. In Chapter two we meet Kaye who is riding with her parents to her grandmother's house for Christmas in a snow storm. While reading the book I thought Kaye was the main character. Later when I analyzed the story I realized that though most of the book was about Kaye, Lillian was the main character. She became the green ghost wearing the green cloak, which was made clear in the above first two paragraphs but was so subtle I didn't catch it until I thought about it.
Your comments about this post will be appreciated: Please let me know what I've left out. As you might guess, I'm in the process of polishing my mystery story for 8-12 year olds. If you're like me, you want to make sure your masterpiece is the best it can be. The only way to do that is to check and re-check your draft and know that your editing is probably not done when it gets in the hands of an editor. But never fear, your hard work will be worth it. Your editor and publisher will help you spin your magic and place your book into the waiting hands of your readers.
Photo courtesy of: http://absfreepic.com/free-photos/sky.html/
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she completed Joyce Sweeney's online fiction courses, picture book course and mystery and suspense course. She is currently
working on several projects for children.
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