Wednesday, September 28, 2022

One Last Edit: Re-think before Submitting

Think of a story as a string of pearls. If you don't have a string,
you can't put the pearls around your neck.
                                Adapted from a quote by Marsha Norman

By Linda Wilson   @LinWilsonauthor

Can you read through your completed book without making any changes? I tried it after thinking I had finished up the basic editing and even the polishing. There couldn't possibly be anything more to "fix," thought me. Wrong. I found more changes, important changes, many changes. Throwing caution to the wind, I gave up all notions of completion and continued, alternating between rummaging through additional passes as the need occurred to me with my pinpoint-sharp #2 pencil, and then laying my book down to rest for short periods of time. My conclusion? The persistent question: When will I ever be done?  

What do I need to re-think?

While in the throes of this quest I decided, what the heck, what's one more pass? I came up with: What do I need to re-think? It turned out to be the most revealing edit of all. It resulted in a title change, removal of a subplot (that was tough--it was like losing an arm--but I had to do it), addition of a character (that was fun), rearranging some of the scenes and re-checking the arcs, making sure someone or something didn't disappear in large sections of the book. I once heard an editor liken follow-through in our works to a pearl necklace. The string of pearls need to stay intact. Each character arc, and each event had to have follow-through from beginning to end. If I hadn't done that particular check, pearls of the necklace I had begun to string would have fallen off before the clasp could have been attached. Nightmares could have resulted. I could have wound up with a school daze Incomplete, only this time from an editor and not my teacher!

Take one more look

Go back to the theme you prepared before or during the writing. Make sure the main theme shines through and ask yourself: Do the minor themes bolster the main theme?

Check the structure one more time. Is it solid?

Does each character have an arc? Each story part introduced have follow-through to the end? Follow each one all the way through to make sure.

Is your main character's flaw/need evident in the beginning and satisfied/solved from what she/he's learned by the end?

Have you done a scene check to make sure there isn't any section that might work better elsewhere?

Is there any character or scene that doesn't move the story forward? 

Is there anything to add to strengthen any part, or any weak part to delete which will strengthen the story?

Is description kept at a minimum (in a children's story)? Is the story told mostly through dialogue and action?

If it is a mystery, make a list of the clues, red herrings and reveal to make sure everything is covered.

If your book is written in close third person, have you added enough thoughts by your main character? Heightened the tension enough? Are the stakes high enough?

Advice from Jon Bard and Laura Backes from the website, Children’s Book Insider: try going back and forth from writing on paper to writing on computer. They say a different part of the brain is used each way.  

Do one last fact check.

If you grow weary of so many revisions, give your story a rest and come back to it later. One of my writing instructors once told me, you don't write a book, you re-write a book. When at first I thought I was done, I had to disengage from disappointment when finding so many glaring errors. This must be the armor people talk about that writers must grow and wear, and perhaps why people admire authors so much. For the fortitude and single-mindedness it takes to do the seat-time, on and on, until we are finally satisfied with the finished product, whatever it takes. Being sure of your work is a must if a writer wants to produce a sparkling, page-turning, humdinger of a book!

Introductory photo: Courtesy of wondoropolis.org.

My next picture book,
Cradle in the Wild,
will be out soon!


Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://bit.ly/3AOM98L. Click the links for free coloring pages and a puppet show starring Thistletoe Q. Packrat. While you’re there, get all the latest news by signing up for Linda’s newsletter. 

Find Linda’s books at  Amazon Author Page.

Connect with Linda: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram  




Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Benefits of Working with a Writing Coach

Suzanne Lieurance


It’s no secret that top athletes in any professional sport work with a personal coach at one time or another during their careers.

 

A good coach can help an athlete attain the peak performance needed to get to the top of his game.

 

In today’s highly competitive world of publishing, many writers are now turning to personal writing coaches to help them get to the top of their games, too.



So, what can you expect from a writing coach?


A lot, actually.


Here are some of the many benefits of working with a writing coach:

 

√ A good coach helps a writer stay motivated by providing constant feedback and encouragement. 

 

A writer not working alone, and accountable to the coach on a regular basis, finds it’s easier to keep going until a project is completed.

 

√ A good coach provides a system for success that the writer can stick with. 

 

It’s often difficult for a writer to break down a project into smaller activities and learn how to do this with any type of project. 

 

A good coach helps develop a system based on an individual’s particular writing and working style, while taking other, non-writing responsibilities and commitments into account.

 

√ A good coach helps the writer learn to set realistic goals and stay focused on them. 

 

This is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of a writing coach. 

 

Writers are creative people and may be easily distracted by other exciting opportunities and creative ideas that come their way. 

 

A writer can learn not to become distracted by other possibilities when having a tough time with a current project.

 

√ A good coach helps a writer get going again when stuck or off-track. 

 

A good coach will see that projects no longer end up as unfinished manuscripts tucked away in drawers or on computer files. 

 

They will be completed.

 

√ A good coach offers a writer professional advice. 

 

This is why it is so important to work with a coach who is also a professional writer, someone who knows the ropes.

 

√ A good coach helps a writer accurately evaluate progress. 

 

Writers can be impatient and dissatisfied with their progress because they think they should be farther along than they are. 

 

Publishing is a slow game and a good coach helps the client see realistically.

 

√ A good coach keeps the process enjoyable. 

 

Let’s face it. 

 

A writer who isn’t enjoying the writing and publishing process isn’t very likely to stick with it. 

 

A good writing coach knows this and provides ways to keep the process enjoyable so the writer will attain set goals. 






For more tips about working with a writing coach, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge



Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, writing coach, and the author of over 40 published books. 


Learn more about her coaching programs and other resources for writers at writebythesea.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Use the Power of Asking


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

As a writer, there is a great deal which is outside of our control. Publishers, editors, booksellers, agents and others in the industry appear to have much more control and power than writers. I want to give you some action-oriented ideas how you can use the power of asking in your writing life.  I wrote about this topic on this blog in 2008 but this article has completely different content and ideas. 

James, the Apostle and brother of Jesus, wrote, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3, NIV)

Before You Ask

To be successful in your asking, there are several steps to take before you ask. As I’ve said before in these articles, who you know in publishing is almost as important as what you know. As a writer, each of us needs to be consistently building and maintaining relationships with others. There are many ways to build these relationships such as connecting on LinkedIn, joining their email lists, reading their newsletters, commenting on their blog, reviewing their books, and many other ways to catch their attention and help them—before you ask for anything. As you do these additional steps, you will position yourself in a different way and hopefully help the asking process to go smoother and much more positive (getting a yes answer rather than silence or no).

Ask In the Right Way

Whenever you ask someone for something, you want to follow several key principles. First, create a short, personal email. If you are asking for an endorsement or a foreword, offer to draft the material (write it) for the other person. In general, an endorsement is a couple of sentences while a foreword is 1000 to 1500 words and more like a short magazine article. In your pitch, you can include a draft of this material to make it easier for the person to say yes. I suggest including a deadline so the other person understands the timeframe. If you ask in a thoughtful and careful manner, you give yourself the best opportunity to get a yes response. 

When you launch a book or new product, many people gather a launch team. Create unique benefits and gifts for people who agree to be a part of your launch team. Take the time to learn some of the tools and techniques for creating a launch team such as a private Facebook group, then build and encourage this group and ask for their help to spread the news about your new book. Remember there are thousands of new books entering the marketplace every day. What steps are you doing to make your book memorable and standout? Use the power of asking others for this process.

Whenever you pitch a magazine editor, a book editor or a literary agent, you are asking for their assistance. Before you send them anything, make sure that you are asking the right person in the right way. It’s important to personalize your pitch and make it targeted to whoever is receiving it. Your extra effort will give you the best possible opportunity to get a positive response. These professionals receive thousands of pitches and can quickly tell whether the writer has done their homework or not.

When you pitch the media (and every author needs to learn to pitch the media—journalists, podcast hosts, radio hosts and many others), learn to craft a short, attractive and targeted pitch. These professionals receive thousands of submissions and can quickly tell which authors have done their homework before asking.

No matter who you are asking, understand and use the power of asking in this process. It is something every writer can learn and do—whether you have been in this business for decades or are only beginning. My hope is that your using this power will open new opportunities for your writing.

Tweetable: 

Every writer needs to use the power of asking in their writing life. This prolific writer and editor provides a series of insights to help you get a positive response. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet)

________________________________________

W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s newest book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success.  Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Short Story Benefits

 



Short Story Benefits by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Writing short stories is a great way to build skills and enrich our writing practice. Many writers use short story writing to develop a strong style and voice.

Free writing is a useful method for starting. Use prompts if you prefer. Anticipate that you will hit a kernel you can develop; go on with it and choose an inspiring image that relates. Paste the image to the top corner of your first page as a thumbnail. It will help you focus and to ignite your story.

Writers garner income from competition wins, and selling short stories to magazines. Competitions and Magazines expect short stories to be fiction. If you have a personal experience you want to use, fictionalize it.

Story starters or prompts work your imagination. You can use images, nouns from your life’s journey, nouns from the dictionary, or historical events; ex. While traveling to a new job, in a new town, he gets lost in unknown territory—a forest or desert, etc.

Now Write! Add structure, characters, descriptions, setting, dialogue to your story. You might select your characters based upon people you know. Describe interesting traits, habits, and looks---but mix it up so they are fresh characters. Stories are expected to have a crisis, a defining moment, that changes a character’s life or perspective forever. Build it.
(Check out Now Write: https://www.nowwrite.net/fiction/ )

Stories love structure!
The links below help empower your storytelling adventure!

Mia Botha, Writers Write
https://www.writerswrite.co.za/how-to-write-a-short-story-all-the-tips-youll-ever-need/

How to Write a Short Story That Captivates Your Reader, Jerry Jenkins
https://jerryjenkins.com/how-to-write-short-stories/

And my review:
How To Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career by James Scott Bell,
a Book Review

https://www.amazon.com/Write-Stories-Further-Writing-Career


Each chapter of this book broadens our knowledge and paints an exciting picture for growth through short story writing. Its focus is crafting stories, fundamentally strong; flash fiction, short stories, or book length. It includes samples of five short stories to emphasize key points of structure that identify and analyze the strength of each story. Best of all, the book encourages writing short stories; it will improve our writing.
The author’s intent is to strengthen writers for a lasting career of productivity and publication. I used the book to learn the keys to story structure and to help me develop viable story ideas.

I recommend this helpful, instructive book to enhance our writer’s journey.

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories.
She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
at Amazon & https://books2read.com/b/valuestories


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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Strategic Productivity for Writers

 


 Strategic Productivity for Writers by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Time management is important for writers who want to get more work done each day. A strategic look at our day-to-day writing practice, work load and goals is, time well spent. A better work-life balance allows free time for ideas to flow and for other pursuits.
 
The benefits of better Time Management include:
A boost to your productivity
Minimizing stressors; both known and those unexpected surprises
Improved workflow management
Meeting deadlines more consistently

But How? Here are some adjustments you might make:
What’s on your plate for today? Start with a plan
Prioritize important tasks and time sensitive projects
Break down tasks into workable chunks
Limit distractions: meetings, email traffic. Say NO or reschedule.
Batch similar tasks or projects to better organize your time
Avoid multitasking—remain focused on the task at hand
Mark your calendar for undisturbed blocks of time by scheduling appointments with just you.
Delegate when possible.

It is helpful to review your day and summarize what worked, and what needs to change. Revise areas as required and make a list of all that worked well.
List the things to be addressed tomorrow.
Make note of what inspired you to keep writing today? Do it again!

Consider trying out The Pomodoro Technique: a focused writing time then breaks technique.


 
Or use the Eisenhower Matrix:


 

Links of Interest:
Upwork Time Management Strategies
https://www.upwork.com/resources/time-management-strategies  

USA EDU Time Management Techniques
https://www.usa.edu/blog/time-management-techniques/

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
On Amazon Mom-Me-Story-Dementia-Power
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories






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Friday, September 9, 2022

Featured Productivity Tool: Break the Rules




What does breaking the rules have to do with writing and productivity? Everything!

Thinking out of the box - and getting creative with your ideas, solutions, etc. - gets you inspired. Inspiration leads to motivation which results in productivity! 
 
In August, I invited John Chen of Engaging Virtual Meetings, Jennie Mustafa-Julock aka Coach Jennie, and Deanna Seymour, host of the “Eff That: Breaking the Rules of Online Business Podcast,” to talk about breaking the rules on #GoalChatLive. 

John believes that when you break stuff, you learn more than everyone else. "A lot of the time the world breaks you; there’s something empowering about choosing to break."
 
Jennie suggests breaking the mold of being around like-minded people. "It’s better to be around diverse-minded people." 

Deanna says breaking the rules is all about innovation. 

Watch our conversation: 


Goals for Breaking the Rules

  • Jennie: Don't wait for things to be perfect. Do the things!
  • Deanna: Be brave. Ask for something every day this week
  • John: Give something away. Share your gifts and talents

Final Thoughts 

If you think about it, writing is not just about breaking the rules, it's about creating your own rules: worlds, processes, characters - and then sharing them with the world.


* * * 

For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin! 

* * *

How do you break the rules? Please share in the comments. 

* * *

Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A goal-strategist, corporate consultant, and project catalyst, Debra offers personal and professional planning, event strategy, and team building for individuals, businesses, and teams. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, #GoalChatLive on Facebook and LinkedIn, and The DEB Show podcast. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


Monday, September 5, 2022

How to "Advertise" with Reviews and Excerpts

 


 September 5, 2022, #3


How to Use Your Reviews and Excerpts Series

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

A continuation of Carolyn’s guest post series from July, 2022, with excerpts from her 
How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: 
The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing caree
r

Feel free to retrieve the first and second for this series from July 5 and August 5, 2022
here on Writers on the Move.




“Very simply put, reviews are the gift that keeps giving.” ~ CHJ


This is my third guest post on getting and using reviews and how to make them into forever reviews to launch a book or to jumpstart the sales of a book that has been around for a while. It is always my pleasure to share excerpts from my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers when I can reach (and help!) more authors with that information. Find more on the magic of reviews and the endorsements you excerpt from them in my How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career. Do go back to the first and second in this series of posts for more vital information on the topic on the fifth of each month beginning on July 5, 2022. Or read the entire book to get a more complete story on the magic of reviews and blurbs—all 300 pages of it.

The Does and Don’ts of Using Excerpts in Your “Advertising”

If you plan to advertise your book, think twice. Most authors report advertising—meaning paid-for stuff in the media—is a bust. It generally doesn’t result in enough sales to pay for itself. If you insist on taking your chances, use proven blurbs and excerpts from your reviews to give your ads the edge they need. Here are some does and don’ts for that:

    Don’t advertise unless you can dedicate a good chunk of your budget to a frequent and focused advertising campaign. If you put your toe in the water and withdraw it too quickly out of disappointment, you are sure to fail. Advertising—done right—takes money and commitment.
    Find the perfect media for your ads. That might be social media because their algorithms can focus on the audience best for your book.
    Recognize that it may take some time and trial-and-error to find the perfect demographics of your audience and what these “tests” will cost you during your learning curve.

Tip: Though an experienced publicist may have media contacts in your demographic, you are probably better able to judge your audience than anyone else. Let your publicist work in areas she is more likely to have success with like big-name media she keeps in her frequent contacts list.

Your blurbs and review excerpts are a proven tool that convinces readers of the benefits of your book. Don’t attempt paying for an ad until you have a great one aimed specifically at your book’s most likely audience.

Tip: One of your most effective mottoes may be something like “As Seen in Entertainment Today.” “As Seen” may refer to an ad or a review in a medium with clout and it is a great alternative if the review doesn’t include a knock-out soundbite that can be quoted. This works when you are quoted in major periodicals, too.

Google’s AdSense is one of the online programs I tried. I used a freebie coupon I received in the mail and, though personal support Google offered was excellent, I wasn’t thrilled with the results for my how-to books which—it is said—advertising works best for.

Some authors report they like Facebook’s amazingly targeted ads. But beware: They are not frugal unless they turn out to be a sizzling success. Part of that success may be attributed to Facebook’s use of images which Mark Zuckerberg lauded as the most successful result-producing tool ever. I dare take issue with him. Review excerpts (blurbs) are, but the effectiveness of two of them used in conjunction can’t be denied. Even then, every part of the ad must be planned perfectly to avoid disappointment. To do that:

      You must choose the perfect demographics (basically keywords) in terms of interests, economic level, education level, and other keywords of your targeted audience.
      You must carefully manage the price-per-click and the limits on your budget for each ad.
      You must have a review excerpt (blurb) that is perfectly attuned to the demographics you are targeting your ad to, and it should be one that is memorable because of the person or media being quoted, because of the impact of the blurb itself, or both.
      Your image must also arrest the interest of your targeted audience. Your most powerful image will probably be your book cover because it is the ultimate brander. It’s visual. It gets repeated in many places from bookstores to Amazon even by the most casual marketer.

Note: Great cover design is essential, but it will be more effective if you use a three dimensional image. Gene Cartwright of @AmazonLinks fame offers my readers a special price (https://ifogo.com/3dchj/) to create one.

Circle October 5, 2022, on your calendar to learn how to use reviews in your media kit and the blurbs you extract from them in those books you have planned for the future. Feel free to go back on the fifth of each month on this-- Karen Cioffi’s #WritersontheMove blog-- to July 5 and August 5, 2022, where you can catch up on earlier posts on the topic of making reviews into marketing magic that pretty much lasts forever!


More on Guest Blogger and Regular WritersOnTheMove Contributor 


Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and founder and owner of a retail chain to the advice she gives in her multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter, now in its third edition from Modern History Press, and her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. The third full book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

The author loves to travel. She has visited ninety one countries before her travels were so rudely interrupted by Covid and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.


 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Children's Writing and Fantasy


By Karen Cioffi

Before I get into this article, for those who don’t know the difference between science fiction and fantasy, here it is:

Science fiction is based on scientific possibilities, even if loosely based on those possibilities or far-fetched. Fantasy stories are based on magic or supernatural occurrences.

I’d say about half of my clients want fantasy stories. And, that’s fine with me because I love writing in this genre.

Writing fantasy stories gives you free reign. Your imagination is literally your only limit.

Keep in mind that you do need to adhere to traditional publishing guidelines when writing for children no matter what genre you’re dealing with, even if you’re self-publishing.

This means keeping the storyline and words age appropriate. It also means creating a quality story that will engage the young reader.

And as a fantasy writer, while you have free reign, you must create the rules and boundaries for the world you’re creating. Although fantasy, the world needs to make sense to the reader.

But, what’s involved in actually writing fantasy?

Writing fantasy boils down to one basic question:

How do you create a fantasy world?

This is a tough question.

I think it depends in part on the kind of fantasy world you need or want to create.

STARTING WITH REALISTIC FICTION

With some types of fantasy stories, you’re not really creating an entirely new world, you’re stretching the existing one. An example of this is Superman. Earth is as it is, Superman simply has supernatural abilities

In these stories, the earth and society are normal. You’re adding other elements that are beyond reality or scientific possibility that turn the story into fantasy. At least this is how I view it.

These fantasies start with realistic fiction and an element of fantasy or a super-natural element is thrown in the mix.

It might be the protagonist finds ‘something’ or experiences something and it creates a ‘fantasy’ situation.

- Maybe the protagonist can read minds.
- Maybe he becomes super-strong.
- Maybe she becomes super-smart.
- Maybe he can fly.
- Maybe she becomes invisible.
- Maybe the protagonist can turn into an animal.

This list can go on and on. The scenarios are almost limitless.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” begins with realistic fiction. An ordinary family with Charlie as the protagonist. He wins a contest and enters a world of fantasy.

Middle-grade “Walking Through Walls” begins with historical, but realistic, fiction. It starts with a boy and his family in 16th century China. Then the boy, 12-year old Wang, finds the Eternal Temple. This sets off the fantasy.

There’s also “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” among lots of others. These stories also begin with realistic fiction.

For these stories, there’s an incident or catalyst that turns realistic fiction into fantasy.

If you’re writing this type of story, you need to decide on the incident or catalyst that immerses the reader into the world of fantasy.

Then you need to decide on what magical or super-natural element will be created due to the catalyst.

FANTASIES THAT START OUT AS FANTASY

Some stories bring you right into the fantasy world. You’re immediately immersed into it. There is no element of realistic fiction. No catalyst or incident is required.

Think of “The Hobbit” and “Watership Down.”

The first chapter, first paragraph of “The Hobbit” reads:

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

The reader is immediately immersed in a fantasy world and she knows it.

Even while the setting of “Watership Down” is based on a real area between Berkshire and Hampshire in England, and author Richard Adam is very explicit when describing the land he knew very well, you know it’s fantasy because of the talking animals.

In his book though, while Adams is very descriptive in regard to the area, it’s not until the third paragraph that the rabbits (the characters) are mentioned. And, it’s not until the fifth paragraph that the rabbits talk.

But “Watership Down” is a LONG book. I have the illustrated (by Aldo Gallo) hardcover and it’s 474 pages. It was originally copyrighted in 1972. I don’t know if this type of lavishly descriptive children’s book would get a traditional contract today.

But aside from that, think of all the other talking animal books, like the Winnie-the-Pooh series, the Berenstain Bears series, “Stuart Little,” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” The young reader is off and running in a fantasy world from the get-go.

For stories that start out in a fantasy world, you need to decide on the element of the story that will be magical or supernatural.

- Will it be talking animals?
- Will it be a supernatural or magical world – trees that talk, land that can transform itself into different landscapes, deep earth caverns filled with prehistoric creatures?
- Will it be a world of unworldly creatures?

Obviously, this list can go on and on, but it gives you a basic idea. The reader knows from the get-go that it’s a fantasy world.

GET THE SETTING DOWN BEFORE BEGINNING

No matter what form of fantasy you’ll be writing, get the basis for the story in place first before beginning.

Will it be a realistic world with magical or supernatural elements?

Or, will it be a fantasy world?

And, it doesn’t matter if you’re an outliner or a pantser. It would be difficult to fly by the seat-of-your-pants if you don’t have the fundamentals in place.

As an example, when I was creating the fantasy “Walking Through Walls,” while I didn’t know all the specifics, I knew it would be set in 16th century China. I knew that the setting for that time period and locale needed to be realistic. This meant I had to do a lot of research.

So, even though I flew by the seat-of-my-pants for most of the story, I had the foundation down. It would be set in a realistic world.

For even more details on writing fantasy, check out the references listed below.

This article was originally published at:
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2018/03/25/writing-fantasy-for-children/ 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Karen Cioffi
is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move and an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Karen’s children’s books include “Walking Through Walls” and “The Case of the Stranded Bear.” She also has a DIY book, “How to Write Children’s Fiction Books.” You can check them out at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/. If you need help with your children’s story, visit: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com.  

 

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4 Reasons Self-Publishing Your Children’s Book May Be Your Best Option

Location, Location, Location: Researching Place



Write for the Reader, Not for Yourself

  By Karen Cioffi Years ago, a client told me that I don’t write for the client; I don’t even write for myself; I write for the reader. This...