Showing posts with label writing tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing tips. Show all posts

Using Personality Typologies to Build Your Characters

 

Contributed by Margot Conor

People often have asked me how I build such varied and interesting character profiles. I’m fond of going into deep POV and to do that, I need to know who they are, what they care about, what they seek, and what they avoid. At the heart of those questions is… why?

I build each character with a back history, which may or may not be exposed in the body of the story. They just need to live in my mind, fully formed. I need to feel their pain and touch the private tender things they want to keep secret. I want to know what drives them to do foolish things, what makes them brave or reckless.

I give them complex personalities. To find their hang-ups, and fears, and decide what sort of baggage they’ve brought with them. I need to know what they went through before they entered my story. I have to find the trauma that tarnished them and the promises that gave them hope.

So, you might have a clue by reading the title of this article. I use personality typologies. I don’t use the same system all the time. They are all useful and they vary in complexity. It depends if I am building a profile for a main character or someone who has a brief appearance in the story. No matter how insignificant the role they play I still don’t want them to be a simple archetypical villain or hero.

I also don’t want the villains to be all bad, if there are aspects of their personalities you can sympathize with it makes them more interesting. And of course, if the protagonist doesn’t have flaws, it’s hard to relate to them. They need a journey of discovery. A way to grow with the challenges they face.

Below is a quick look at the systems I draw from:

The oldest typology I know of is Hippocrates’ Four Temperaments. (460–370 BC). A system based on the four humors. A fifth was later added when published in 1958.

FIVE TEMPERAMENTS:
Your temperament is considered innate, influenced by genetics. They are often like a parent or grandparent. External factors such as negative and positive childhood experiences also factor in. Temperament is a little different or more basic than personality. It deals with how you move through your life and engage with people and challenges.

Sanguine: quick, impulsive, and relatively short-lived reactions.
Phlegmatic: a longer response-delay, but short-lived response.
Choleric: short response time-delay, but response sustained for a relatively long time.
Melancholic: (Also called “Melancholy”) long response time-delay, a response sustained at length, if not, seemingly, permanently.
Supine: (added later) Describes a person who is a servant and feels that he or she has little or no value.

MYERS BRIGGS:
16 personality types. To use these properly you need to read the full profile for each one, but here is a brief overview: the following descriptions are copied from: https://www.16personalities.com/personality-types

The Analysts:
Architect: Imaginative and strategic thinkers, with a plan for everything.
Logician: Innovative inventors with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
Commander: Bold and imaginative, strong-willed leaders.
Debater: Smart and curious thinkers who can’t resist an intellectual challenge.

The Diplomats:
Advocate: Quiet and mystical, inspiring, and tireless idealists.
Mediator: Poetic, kind, and altruistic, always eager to help a good cause.
Protagonist: Charismatic and inspiring leaders, able to mesmerize their listeners.
Campaigner: Enthusiastic, creative, and sociable free spirits.

The Sentinels:
Logistician: Practical and fact-minded, their reliability cannot be doubted.
Defender: Very dedicated and warm protectors, always ready to defend their loved ones.
Executive: Excellent administrators, unsurpassed at managing things or people.
Consul: Extraordinarily caring, social, and popular. Always eager to help.

Explorers:
Virtuoso: Bold and practical experimenters, masters of tools.
Adventurer: Flexible and charming artists, always ready to explore something new.
Entrepreneur: Smart, energetic, and very perceptive. They enjoy living on the edge.
Entertainer: Spontaneous, energetic, and enthusiastic. Life is never boring around them.

ENNEAGRAM:
To fully take advantage of this system you need to read the full bio for each type. But here is an overview (the following is copied from this site: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions/)

1 THE REFORMER
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
2 THE HELPER
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
3 THE ACHIEVER
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
4 THE INDIVIDUALIST
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
5 THE INVESTIGATOR
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
6 THE LOYALIST
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
7 THE ENTHUSIAST
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
8 THE CHALLENGER
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
9 THE PEACEMAKER
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

FOUR PERSONALITY TYPES:
Robert S. Hartman, an American philosopher and psychologist, developed the four-type personality system. This system categorizes people into four different types based on their natural tendencies.

A: ANALYTIC: ambitious, workaholic, organized, goal-oriented, perfectionist, impatient, competitive
B: BEHAVIORAL: Easy going, non-competitive, less prone to stress, stable, adaptable non-confrontational, work steadily toward their goals, adapt to changes in plans, flexible.
C: COMMUNICATIVE: Collaborative, calm, rational and logical, thoughtful, and caring, introverted
D: DEDUCTIVE: Sensitive, shy, prone to anxiety and depression, avoidant.

EIGHT PSYCHOANALYTIC PERSONALITIES by Nancy Williams:
I do a deep dive into these for troubled characters and villains.
Used in modern psychoanalytic diagnosis you can read about it here for an overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_McWilliams

Psychopathic: (Antisocial), Narcissistic, Schizoid, Paranoid, Depressive, Manic, Masochistic: (self-defeating), Obsessive, Compulsive, Hysterical (histrionic), Dissociative.

JUNG – FOUR FUNCTIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS:
https://www.thesap.org.uk/articles-on-jungian-psychology-2/carl-gustav-jung/jungs-model-psyche/

Sensation: perception using immediate apprehension of the visible relationship between subject and object.
Intuition: perception of processes in the background, unconscious drives, or motivations of other people
Thinking: function of intellectual cognition, the forming of logical conclusions.
Feeling: Function of subjective estimation, value-oriented thinking
Attitudes:
Extraverts: seek greater stimulation, energized around people, think out loud, large social networks, thrive in teams, and crowds, enjoys being the center of attention, values broad experience.
Introverts: Seek less stimulation, recharges with quiet reflection, think before speaking, values one-on-one friendships, favors independence, avoids being the center of attention, values deep experience.

I hope this list helps you find characteristics to build multidimensional characters.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margot Conor has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn't until the COVID lock-down that she had enough time to dedicate to the craft and bring something to completion. Having finished her first novel, she went through the grueling two-year process of editing. Now she has jumped into the author's world with both feet. She's preparing to debut her first novel, which means learning how to promote it. The last year has been spent attending many writing retreats, seminars, and writers' events. She also listened to presentations specifically on the topic of publishing and book marketing. She will be sharing what she learns with the reader.
Learn more about Margot at https://margotconor.com/




Just How Important are Character Descriptions?

 

Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

To answer the title question, character descriptions are essential.

It’s these descriptions that give the reader insight into the character and let the reader know:

-What type of person she is
-What his family is like
-What his education status is
-What her hobbies are
-What she’s passionate about
-What she’s afraid of
-What his physical details are
-What his social standing is
-Where she lives

The list can go on to include talents, sports, beliefs, and so much more if the story calls for it.

Just a simple description of a character drawing tells the reader about him. Maybe he’s artistic. Whether he’s talented at it or not will give another element of his personality.

Suppose he’s terrible at drawing but does it anyway. What can that tell the reader about him? Possibly he’s determined. He may march to his own drum, or he just likes it and doesn’t care about excelling in it.

Maybe another character studies all the time and gets all As. Maybe the character studies all the time and barely passes. This gives a big clue as to the ‘character’ of these characters. The one who gets all As is driven. The one who barely passes may not be driven but knows that without struggling, she’ll fail. Possibly, character isn’t as intelligent as the first.

What if a character is always yelled at and put down by his father? Might that help the reader understand the character’s behavioral issues?

EXAMPLES

-In the first couple of pages of middle-grade Walking Through Walls, the main character Wang, is described as being disgruntled. He doesn’t like hard work. He’s impatient, and he fights with his sister.

Right off the bat, the reader knows a lot about this character. The reader may even be able to see himself in the character. This makes a connection.

-What if a description shows that a character is disabled and in a wheelchair but strives to do everything she physically can, even playing sports? What does this tell you about the character?

-How about a description of a teen character lifting weights? This simple activity, combined with a couple of other details, can tell you a lot about his physical and emotional state.

Maybe he wants to be strong and look good. Maybe he’s physically weak and is being bullied. He may want to be able to protect himself, take care of himself. It could even be the emotional side of it; he doesn’t want to appear weak.

-How about a cross-country runner or competitive swimmer? The first thing the reader may think of is that the character has physical stamina.

Another layer of the character could be the reason why he does such strenuous activity. Does he simply love it? Or does he have ADHD or a depressive personality, and the rigorous routine helps him?

Providing character descriptions will help the reader connect to the character. Hopefully, it will help create a strong connection. It will help the reader form a vested interest in what happens to the character. It will make the reader root for the character and keep turning the pages.

So, the next time you’re creating your character, be sure to think about how you can add descriptions to create a multi-dimensional character that will bring that character to life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

 

 

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. If you need help with your story, visit Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com

Karen also offers authors:

HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK
A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS
Self-publishing help for children’s authors.



Confessions of a Dyslexic Writer

 

Contributed by Margot Conor

I’ve always had an active imagination. As a child the adults in my life were unstable, dealing with their own problems and it left me adrift. No one noticed I was having trouble at school. I escaped by creating worlds where life didn’t hurt.

From a young age, I loved creating stories and I even tried to write them, but they were a mess of misspellings and reversed letters. Because of this difficulty with writing letters and numbers, my teachers accused me of being inattentive and lazy. Rather than recognizing I had a learning disorder and offering to give me additional attention, they would showcase my problems in front of the other students to shame me. My issues went undiagnosed and the damage to my self-esteem stuck.

I always wanted to be an author. I continued to write stories and attempted longer projects at various times over the years. I have many unfinished manuscripts and unpublished short stories. However, I didn't attempt to be a professional writer until technology provided a path forward for people like me.

As a child, I was not aware that there were other people who suffered from the same issues. It wasn’t until high school that I was tested. By that point, I had gotten very good at hiding it. But a teacher at a new school finally noticed and helped. These tests informed me that I had dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.

Dysgraphia: issues with spelling, grammar, numbers. Writing letters in reverse, struggling to form written sentences with correct grammar and punctuation. Using verbs and pronouns incorrectly.

Dyscalculia: is a learning disorder that affects a person's ability to understand number-based information and math. People who have dyscalculia struggle with numbers and math because their brains don't process math-related concepts like others do.

As a generalization, these all get put under the umbrella of dyslexia. It is important to understand that no person’s brain exhibits the same form of dyslexia, we are all unique. I have also experienced changes; it is not a fixed problem. For example, when very young I saw everything in a mirror image, and I wrote everything backward.

I can still easily write and read in this way, but somehow, I made it turn around. Words now change places or morph into words they shouldn’t be. Letters and numbers get mixed up. With words I can cope, but with numbers, there is no place they should be. No order or rule for placement.

While we can’t change how our brains work, we can learn how to better work with the brain we’ve got. I began by enrolling myself in a reading course for dyslexic people. It taught me to glance at groups of words at a time, rather than trying to puzzle out each word individually. I had trouble with both Anagrams and Anadromes.

Anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters to form another word. The original letters are used only once. (Fried - fired, bare - bear, reed - deer, calm - clam, listen - silent, secure - rescue).
Anadrome is a word or phrase with the same letters which form a different word when spelled backward. (Parts - strap, evil - live, stressed - desserts, deliver - reviled, drawer - reward, nametag - gateman).

People with dyslexia experience the wrong order of letters or words while reading. Glancing at a group of words I could determine what each word in a sentence was by context. It took practice but eventually, it sped my reading and comprehension significantly. I now read at a normal rate, and I read a lot!

Dyslexics have advantages over other many neurotypicals. We read patterns, body language, and facial expressions. Our verbal communication skills are strong. Because we have experience as outsiders we develop empathy for others. We have sensitive auditory processing, creative problem-solving, and increased 3-D spatial perception. We love to think outside the box and solve puzzles. We develop critical thinking and analysis skills, and the ability to problem-solve with creative concepts.

So, what happens when a person with this mix of limitations and gifts decides to take writing seriously and become an author? As a writer, I am what they call a Panster. This term came from the idiom “Fly by the seat of your pants.”

Many writers prefer to do outlines and have various ways to organize their story arcs by planning out each stage of their novel ensuring they hit every plot point. I have tried to do this; I would like to be a plotter! But it just doesn’t work for me. Nor can I write in a linear fashion, from the opening chapter to the end.

I begin with a rather cinematic view of a story; it comes to me visually. The characters form personalities and even live in my dreams. I write whatever they are doing, and whatever they tell me. The characters come alive in my imagination, I get involved in their dramas and troubles. I feel their needs and their desires. I start to see the possibilities and then I move with them on a journey that ultimately becomes a novel.

Finished for me begins with a folder full of chapters that are out of order. I only know in my mind that they will fit together to form a whole. Then I start to organize the chapters. It is like fitting together a puzzle. Sometimes I have to add a chapter here or there to tie the pieces together. Other times I must exclude chapters or whole subplots that don’t move the main story forward. I save those unused parts and they become novellas or short stories set in the same world as my novel.

It is only because of the modern age of access and the wonderful tools created for authors that I am now able to share my writing with the world. Previously I would have had to have someone retype my manuscripts to correct my misspellings, punctuation, and grammar. This sort of assistance was costly, and I didn’t have the income to support it. All my stories languished in boxes and later in computer files, waiting for me to get back to them.

Now, I first create a Word document. I like the Find-Replace feature. This allows me to type a word in the search box and every place it appears in the document will be highlighted. For example, if a misspelling is found in a character name or a made-up place, spellcheck might not catch it. I can type the various alternate spellings in the search box and find where I have reversed letters.

I use Grammarly and Autocrit to polish and edit my stories and manuscripts. Writing is a complex task, and several areas of our brains are involved in the process. There is no reason why someone with a brain like mine can’t be a successful author. There have been others before me. For example: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, Richard Ford, George Bernard Shaw, Octavia Butler, WB Yeats, Gustave Flaubert, and Jules Verne to name a few.

I will follow in their esteemed footsteps and do the best I can with the way my mind sees the world. I hope you will enjoy my stories.

References:
NeuroHealth: https://neurohealthah.com/blog/types-of-dyslexia/
Thinking in 3-D
Visual-Spatial Abilities in Dyslexia: National Library of Medicine

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margot Conor has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn't until the COVID lock-down that she had enough time to dedicate to the craft and bring something to completion. Having finished her first novel, she went through the grueling two-year process of editing. Now she has jumped into the author's world with both feet. She's preparing to debut her first novel, which means learning how to promote it. The last year has been spent attending many writing retreats, seminars, and writers' events. She also listened to presentations specifically on the topic of publishing and book marketing. She will be sharing what she learns with the reader.
Learn more about Margot at https://margotconor.com/



Green Eggs and Ham and a Bet

 

Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Ghostwriter, Rewriter

This is a short post, but I found it fascinating and wanted to share.

Who would think that a random bet and constraints could lead to a book that sold 8 million copies as of 2019, and would become the best-selling book of the Dr. Seuss series?

When most people think of the word ‘constraint,’ it invokes a negative feeling or idea.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of constraint is “something that controls what you do by keeping you within particular limits.”

This is where the negative idea comes from.

It makes sense that something that limits you, controls you, isn’t a good thing.

Well, according to James Clear, constraints are our friend. Constraints foster creativity and motivate us to work within those limits to accomplish what we need to.

What I found exceptionally interesting is that “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss came about through a bet and constraints.

In 1960, Bennett Cerf, the founder of Random House, bet Theo Geisel that he couldn’t write a children’s book with only 50 words or less.

The bet was for $50.

Imagine if Dr. Seuss balked at the idea of writing a story of only 50 words for a bet of a measly $50.

I’m sure you’ll find the rest of Clear’s article as interesting as I did:
The Weird Strategy Dr. Seuss Used to Create His Greatest Work

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. If you need help with your story, visit Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

Karen also offers authors:

HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK
A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS
Self-publishing help for children’s authors.


Audio Books – Make Your Own or Hire It Out

 

  Contributed by Margot Conor

The fast-growing industry of books on audio has become a compelling reason to go that extra distance as an author and take advantage of this burgeoning market. In 2022 1.82 billion was generated through audio book sales in the United States. This was almost a 4% increase from the previous year. Over five years, sales increased by 50%. In 2023 there were around sixty-five million sales in the United States alone.

It is encouraging to see that people who may not have time to sit down and read a book are still interested in the stories we write and happy to engage on a different platform.

So, if you have published a book and want to make an audio version, how do you get started?

First, you need to decide if you want to make it yourself or not. Let's explore the options…

Audiobook Production Company:

All technical aspects and quality control remains in the hands of industry professionals.  Check out platforms like Fiver and Upwork to find an audiobook producer. There you will find audio engineers, editors, and producers who can record, mix, and master your audiobook.

For a production company to do this for you, plan on spending $2,500 and $3,750 for a five-hour book. That breaks down to about $500 to $750 per finished hour of audiobook content.

If you are asking yourself now if you can recoup those costs? The answer is most likely you can do so with an audiobook better than with any other format.

How To Course: By Derek Doepker $497

I happened to watch a presentation by Derek Doepker during the Get Published Summit and it WOW’d me. In his Audiobooks Made Easy course, he gives detailed advice which convinced me he knew how to save us all a lot of money. His course is designed for people who are total technophobes.

For less than it would cost to hire a narrator, you can learn how to make all your own audiobooks. Derek will remove any worries or concerns you might have with this simple step-by-step guide, so you proceed with confidence.

If you’d like to learn more, his sales page is https://audiobooksmadeeasy.com (this is not an affiliate link)

Self-Made:

Making the product and narrating the story are two different things. Choosing to save money by setting up a space and getting equipment is only part of the process. You may choose to read it in your voice, or you might want to get someone to read it for you.

The person who reads should be enthusiastic and express the proper mood for your story. They should be able to read out loud in an engaging voice, switch between tones, use different accents, and represent unique character voices. They need to pause in the right places to give breadth to the story or to add dramatic effect.

Some authors hire several voices to represent different characters. But, if you can do all of that yourself, then you will save a lot of money.

A pro will cost you around $200 an hour. Some narrators are willing to split royalties with you in payment.

SOURCE MATERIAL YOU’LL NEED

This is an auditory experience. Do not include descriptions of visual illustrations. Remove any call-to-action sentences like Click Here in your front or back matter.

Recording and Editing Software: Audio recording software is a user interface that records sounds, manipulates what you record, and mixes the audio input. It will also generate audio files. It acts as a digital workstation.

Cost considerations: Equipment, hiring a narrator (if you choose to), and promotion.

Time: Recording an hour of your story will take up to three hours to record. Especially when you’re first getting comfortable with the process. Plan to record in stages, so you can start fresh and fully attentive during each session.

If you hire a professional, they will most often record it on their own, and send it to you.

Computer: You will need a computer that has enough RAM. At least 16 GB. The operating system needs to support your recording software and the plugins for editing and mastering your audio recordings.

Make sure it runs silent, no fan noise!

Microphone: You will need either a USB or XLR type.

USB is your plug-in and play option. It is better than a built-in Mic on your computer, but the sound quality is not as good as the XLR.

XLR mics are the professional recording standard. You will get a clearer sound and you can also use them for a podcast if you choose to do that at some point.

Headphones: You will need to use headphones when you edit and master your audiobook, it will cost you at least $100 for a good set. Get studio quality closed-back headphones.

PROGRAMS FOR RECORDING YOUR AUDIOBOOK

Audacity: https://www.audacityteam.org/  
This is a free, open-source program.

(Please copy and paste the rest of the links in this article.)

ProTools: https://www.avid.com/pro-tools/ 
This is subscription based.

Reaper: https://www.reaper.fm/  
This is licensed based and suitable for most Authors’ needs.

StudioOne: https://www.presonus.com/en-US/studio-one.html  
A basic version costs $99.95, the pro version is $399.95.

Twisted Wave: https://twistedwave.com/  
Licensed based.

AI VOICE GENERATION

Speachelo: https://speechelo.com/
The normal price is $97, but they often run sales as low as $37.

You buy the software at a one-time cost that you can use for all your projects. It will transform any text into a human-sounding voiceover.

These voices have gotten very sophisticated, but they still don’t always get the inflections right. They have multiple English-speaking voices both male and female and also many other languages.

Revoicer: https://revoicer.com/
One time cost of $135, sometimes reduced to $67.

It’s downloadable software and advertises to be the first AI generation voiceover to add emotion and it gives you eleven different options for the mood that you want the voices to display.

They also can clone your voice, so you can use it to narrate your books. That is pretty impressive.

To be honest I was shocked at the quality of this option when I listened to the sample voices on their website. With a 15-second sample of your voice, they can produce a clone in one minute and it is considered your intellectual property.

OTHER ELEMENTS TO CONSIDER

Cover Art:
The cover art for audiobooks needs to meet specific formatting requirements. These include a JPG file no larger than 5 MB, with a pixel resolution of 2400 x 2400.

It is very important to have your book covers professionally done. If you are on a tight budget, try using a company like 100 Covers. Or look on Fiver for a designer.

Copyright:
There is a misconception that is popular among authors that as soon as you write something you own undisputable rights to your intellectual property. That was once the case, but no longer. We live in a litigious country, and recent court cases made that claim invalid.

It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t too costly to protect yourself by filing for a legal copyright.

Distribution:
Choosing the company that works best for you is a matter of deciding which platform will serve your interests best. See some of the options listed below.
You can also choose to sell your audiobook on your website and bypass a distribution company.

Monetization:
If you choose a large audiobook distributor, they will automatically monetize your work. In most cases, they will take their cut for that service and pay you a percentage of the royalties.
 
Some suggestions include: Offer memberships, sell adverts, or solicit sponsorships, sell merchandise, make a paid online course, use third-party platforms in addition to your website, and offer affiliate links. All of these options work best if you have a fan base established.

Promotion:
The same is true about self-promotion. It is a big topic with a lot of options. If you plan to self-publish your books, you need to spend at least 50% of your time marketing them. There are some great marketing summits available for authors. Take the time to educate yourself on the options, it will make a big difference in your success.

DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES

Always read the Terms of Service

Findaway: https://www.findawayvoices.com/
Findaway Voices by Spotify is one of the world's largest audiobook distributors. Open an account, upload your audiobook, and distribute it, all for free. You keep 100% of your royalties on Spotify and 80% everywhere else.

Authors Republic: https://www.authorsrepublic.com/
This is a global network for new and well-known authors that is not owned by a retailer, so you are not limited to select channels.

This independence, and their established global distribution network gives you the ability to earn more than would be possible under an exclusive agreement. There are no administration fees or sneaky percentage cuts.

You earn 70% of royalties earned by your audiobook across over 50 channels, including major distributors—such as Amazon, Audible, Apple, Audiobooks.com, Spotify, and Google—plus library channels, streaming services, and niche startups.

Corsix: https://corsix.com/
This is a site to start your own channel. They have a Drag and Drop editor, (coding knowledge is unnecessary). You can publish all content types, audiobooks, videos, blogs, and podcasts. You can also customize your brand domain by adding your logo, changing the colors and fonts.

You can create courses too. It has free and per month packages.

PublishDrive: https://publishdrive.com/
This is one of Apple Books' preferred providers. If you publish your ebooks with them, you can easily convert them into audiobooks using Apple Digital Narration.

They have the widest worldwide distribution network. One-Click distribution to all stores. Built-in analytics and sales reports. Royalty management. Marketing and promotional tools. Bulk import.

Audible: https://www.audible.com/
This Amazon owned audiobooks platform distributes audiobooks to North America, Europe, Asia & Pacific Countries.

The subscription model and à la carte purchases on Audible offer revenue streams that can complement traditional book sales.

ACX: https://www.acx.com/
ACX, is the acronym for Amazon’s Audiobooks Creation Exchange. This is the hub for the creation of audio books that will appear on Audible, the Amazon owned audiobooks platform. Audiobooks uploaded to ACX will be sold on Audible, Amazon and Apple iTunes.

SUMMING IT UP

If you’re thinking about turning your book into an audiobook, the information in this article should help on your journey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margot Conor has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn't until the COVID lock-down that she had enough time to dedicate to the craft and bring something to completion. Having finished her first novel, she went through the grueling two-year process of editing. Now she has jumped into the author's world with both feet. She's preparing to debut her first novel, which means learning how to promote it. The last year has been spent attending many writing retreats, seminars, and writers' events. She also listened to presentations specifically on the topic of publishing and book marketing. She will be sharing what she learns with the reader.
Learn more about Margot at https://margotconor.com/



Making Scenes Work

 

Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Freelance Writer

One of the best descriptions I’ve read on what a scene is comes from James Scott Bell’s blog, Kill Zone. In an article on strengthening scenes, Bell explains that “scenes are the bricks that build the fiction house. The better the bricks, the better the house.” (1)

This gives a visual of how scenes work. Building one on top of the other to create a strong story.

Masterclass describes a scene as “a section of a story that has its own unique combination of setting, character, dialogue, and sphere of activity.” (2)

This description gives more details, but I like Bell’s visual better.

The Masterclass article also explains that scenes are one of the “most valuable writing skills an author can possess.”

This makes scenes even clearer. They’re essential to a ‘good’ book. Going back to the brick house, the better (stronger) the brick, the stronger the house.

A scene has a beginning, middle, and end, just like the story.

When the location changes, another character enters the scene, or something else significant changes within the scene, that’s usually an indication that it’s the end of that scene and the beginning of the next.

An example of this is from my middle grade book, Walking Through Walls.

The protagonist, Wang is trying to walk through a wall but just can’t do it. He’s fearful of getting hurt. It takes him ten tries.

Finally, he passes through it. That’s the end of that scene.

The next scene has Wang ecstatic. He’s thrilled. He can’t contain himself.

So, how do you make scenes work?

1. The first thing a scene needs to do is achieve something.

Think of the brick. It’s solid. It’s its own entity.

Each scene has a story to tell.

The scene may be a chase scene, a fight scene, the inciting incident, a romantic scene, or a scene establishing the setting.

Using Walking Through Walls again, at the beginning of the story, Wang is seen sweating and complaining while working in the wheat fields. This scene establishes the type of work Wang is doing and also establishes his attitude toward it.

2. A scene should be the foundation for the next scene.

Scenes are like building blocks. They provide information the reader should know to move forward in the story.

Going back to Wang and his attitude toward hard work, it allows the reader to understand why he desperately wants a way out of his life.

The scene can also provide more information, such as backstory, or a look into the character’s family life, friendships, strengths, weaknesses, and so on.

It can be anything of value that helps move the story and characters forward.

3. Every scene should have a point of view.

As a children’s ghostwriter, most of the stories I write have one point of view.

But I also work on upper middle-grade where there can be two points of view and young adult where there can be multiple points of view.

When working with more than one point of view, each scene should be specific to only one; otherwise, it can get confusing and weaken the strength of that brick.

4. Each scene should contribute to the world you’re creating.

The period of Walking Through Walls is 16th century China. This meant a lot of research.

I incorporated tools of the time period, clothing, and even food within the scenes to build the world the characters lived in.

I also used dialogue to build the world. I eliminated contractions and flavored the dialogue and actions with respect, especially toward elders.

5. As your story should be shown and not told, so should your scenes.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new writer of an experienced writer, it’s easy to fall into the ‘telling’ mode when writing.

Showing a scene means using dialogue, action, sensory details, and internal thoughts.

Using showing enables the reader to be absorbed in the story. It connects the reader to the character and brings the reader into the story.

Telling keeps the reader at arms-length. The reader won’t be able to make as strong a connection to the character or the story.  

Hope these five tips on writing a good scene help you strengthen your story’s scenes.

References:

(1) https://killzoneblog.com/2021/08/three-easy-ways-to-strengthen-a-scene.html

(2) https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-the-perfect-scene#quiz-0

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. If you need help with your story, visit Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

Karen also offers authors:

FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN ECOURSE
A guided self-study course and mentoring program.

HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK
A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS
Self-publishing help for children’s authors.



Diversity in Your Writing Starts With Listening

 


 Contributed by Margot Conor

Everything you do in life is informed by the things you did before. That is why in some author's circles they tell you to write what you know. That has some truth in it. Even my sci-fi and fantasy stories weave in things that I learned or believe. I just put a twist on them so they happen in another setting.

Everything you do is also colored by the perspective you gained through those experiences, or from your family, community, or society at large.

There are attitudes planted in our little brains just as if we are a garden for our tribe, they nurture those seeds and cultivate a particular way of seeing the world. Now that view might be rosy or it might be dark. We only have a choice to test the limits of that perspective once we are grown, and then it is our privilege to do so.

Sadly, many do not. They are comfortable with how they’ve been molded, and these ingrained perspectives color your writing.
 
The paradigm we currently operate in is flawed, it is largely based on separation, exclusion, and intolerance. An “us” and “them” mentality. If we want to survive these times, we need to change.

Change requires that we investigate other points of view with an open mind and talk with people who are not like us, or more importantly, that we listen to them.

Listening helps add fresh perspectives to your writing.

I don’t know about you but it makes me feel bad when I am having a conversation with someone and I can tell they are not paying attention to what I say because they are either distracted with something else, or they are just waiting for me to finish, so they can share their opinion on the subject. Or they just interrupt because they feel what I’m saying isn’t valid or important.

When I have come across someone who is actually listening, patiently, looking me in the eye, and really hearing what I have to say, maybe even asking questions. Wow, it’s a powerful experience. Just to be heard. It makes me realize that it is a rare occurrence. To be given the courtesy of someone’s full attention, to be shown that kind of respect.

That is basically what this comes down to, if we show respect even to people we don’t agree with, they can feel that you care enough to try understanding their point of view.

I equate this with visiting a foreign country and trying to speak their language instead of expecting them to speak mine. They might laugh at me, (well they have, I wish I was better at languages) but they also like that I try. It shows them I’m making an effort to communicate.
You might try listening to those who have different cultures and ideas. Consider if there is anything there to inspire you. If their ideas seem radical, then investigate.

And yes, you should absolutely test those waters, use all the tools available to you in this modern age of access, and see if what they tell you is accurate. Then see how that stands up next to what you’ve been taught.  

Often that is how I get ideas for my characters. I talk to people who are raised to think differently than I was. It is important to go wide, take in new things, find the strange.

Enjoy the oddities you come across. Unravel the things that are mysterious to you. Gain a new understanding of something. You might surprise yourself and take a new perspective. Then put all of that into what you write. Or if you are not a writer, let all of that make your life richer.

Be brave, do something new or different.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 


Margot Conor has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn't until the COVID lock-down that she had enough time to dedicate to the craft and bring something to completion. Having finished her first novel, she went through the grueling two-year process of editing.

Now she has jumped into the author's world with both feet. She's preparing to debut her first novel, which means learning how to promote it. The last year has been spent attending many writing retreats, seminars, and writers' events. She also listened to presentations specifically on the topic of publishing and book marketing. She will be sharing what she learns with the reader.

You can learn more about Margot and her writing at her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/margotconor/ 

(@MargotConor (Facebook) 


 


Is It Sci-Fi or Fantasy?

 

Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

 I’ve always loved fantasy, so it’s a natural fit that I like writing it for children.

But what exactly is fantasy, and how does it differ from science fiction?

FANTASY

The simplest way to explain fantasy is that it doesn’t exist in the real world. Your imagination is the only limit when writing fantasy. This may be why I gravitate toward it.

If a story has supernatural or magical elements, it’s fantasy.

Fantasy allows you to delve into all sorts of topics, even difficult ones, and it comes across in a more digestible way than realistic fiction.

For example, in my chapter book,, Walking Through Walls, the main character, Wang, joins the Mystical Eternals and learns how to walk through walls.

In the sequel (still in progress), Wang has the choice to morph into a dragon at will or get another incredible ability.

Another example of fantasy is talking animals. This type of fantasy can have the protagonist going off on a journey alone or with friends. A children’s writer couldn’t have a child do this in realistic fiction as it could give the child dangerous ideas. There are lots of topics that can be introduced using talking animals.

In my picture book series, The Adventures of Planetman, the protagonist has supernatural vision and can fly. One of his friends has super speed, and the other is super strong.

These scenarios couldn’t possibly exist within the natural laws of our universe as they involve supernatural elements.

With fantasy, the writer can create new worlds and new beings. It can rain meatballs. There can be magical fairies and wizards. Science and realism are not factors.  

Think of Superman, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.

SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction is also out of the ordinary but is based on scientific principles. The elements of the story can exist within the natural laws of our universe. The scientific basis helps explain the extraordinary things that go on in the story.

These stories usually involve future scientific elements, such as space travel, aliens, time travel, and environmental catastrophes.  
 
An example of science fiction is Batman. All his abilities are from gadgets that are based on science. While some of them may be a bit far-fetched, they are in the realm of possibility.

Just think of all the gadgets and inventions created that are based on movies, books, and even articles. It’s astounding.

Driverless cars.
Holographic images.
The submarine.
The rocket.
The cellphone.
The taser.
The smartwatch.

Science fiction movies include:

World of Worlds
Contact
Altered States
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Matrix

Sci-fi books:

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Contact by Carl Sagan
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Children of Men by PD James

A MIX

A mix of fantasy and science fiction is just that, a mix.

In these stories, there are elements of sci-fi and fantasy. An example of this genre is Star Wars.

While Star Wars easily falls within the sci-fi genre, it also has elements of fantasy, such as a force field. Although, in 2015, Boeing patented the first-ever force field to protect against shockwaves.

But even with the force field coming into existence, Star Wars also has lightning bolts from fingertips and levitations. These elements are pure fantasy.

So, if you’re writing sci-fi or fantasy for children, are you sure which it is? 

This article was first published at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2022/10/09/writing-for-children-is-it-fantasy-or-science-fiction/
(Sources are listed there.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR





Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, editor, rewriter, and coach. If you need help with your story, click HERE.

Karen also offers authors:

FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN COURSE
A guided self-study course and mentoring program.


HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK
A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS
Self-publishing help for children’s authors.




Got Hacked

 


 Contributed by Margot Conor

I am not sure if this is true for every author, but when I created a pen name, she grew into a whole different personality.

She is far more confident and bold than me. She isn’t afraid to tell people she wrote something they would like and they should read it. She isn’t afraid to write about things I would hesitate to say. As I watch her spread out into the world on this writer's journey, I have grown to like her very much.

If it were me, I would have disclaimers and contingencies. I would make myself smaller, I would be apprehensive and wary of great things as if they couldn’t happen for me. I would hold myself back. But Margot believes in herself, she isn’t shy about making her mark. She’s willing to take risks, just for the hell of it, because why not?

In a way, I suppose it is like being an actress and stepping into a role. You’re able to suspend your hangups and leave your insecurities behind. You set your concerns aside too, especially those that whisper that you're not good enough… and let this other persona live larger than you ever dreamed of doing.

I created Margot to be the writer I wish I had the courage to be years ago. She is younger, more worldly, and more business savvy. She will market her books and have more success than I would have. Because I am an introvert. I am the woman who never lived up to her potential. The one who let time slip away and collected a stockpile of unfinished manuscripts and unpublished stories.

With a little luck, Margot will finish them. I created her so that I can stay hidden. I wear my anonymity like a comfortable coat. 

I like letting her take the lead. 

That is why when she got hacked and some stranger was trying to take over her social media, I felt extremely protective. I made myself sick over it, thinking that some malicious unknown force was trying to take away all that Margot had started to create.

It was a stressful few days, but with the help of someone near and dear, we got it sorted for her. Margot’s sites were recovered and we made her passwords much stronger. We also did that multi-factor authentication. Which seemed like such a hassle before, but it is far less difficult than getting hacked! Margot would like to encourage you all to do the same if you haven’t already.

Protect what you create and believe it is worthy because you have poured your heart into it, and it deserves all your hope and love.
 
~Anonymous
For Margot Conor

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margot Conor has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn't until the COVID lock-down that she had enough time to dedicate to the craft and bring something to completion. Having finished her first novel, she went through the grueling two-year process of editing. Now she has jumped into the author's world with both feet. She's preparing to debut her first novel, which means learning how to promote it. The last year has been spent attending many writing retreats, seminars, and writers' events. She also listened to presentations specifically on the topic of publishing and book marketing. She will be sharing what she learns with the reader.

You can learn more about Margot and her writing at her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/margotconor/
@MargotConor (Facebook)



Developing Outlines and Character Details When Writing Middle Grade

 


 Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

The majority of my clients ask for picture books, but currently, I’m working on two middle grades.

While a middle-grade book can be significantly shorter than a novel, it still has a big chunk of words at around 20-50,000. Quite a difference from the under-800-word picture book.

When I write a picture book story, I use the seat-of-the-pants method. I find it works well with around 600-800 words.

This is not the case with a middle-grade story. Writing a middle-grade story is similar to writing a novel, so the same practices should be used. Because of this, I use an outline.

CREATING AN OUTLINE

With an outline, you can make it as detailed as you like.

Being impatient, I used to write as bare an outline as possible. I've found, though, that writing a more detailed outline is a huge help when getting down to writing the story.

This became particularly apparent to me when a client from five years ago recently called me.

I had written one middle grade for him and started a second one. For some reason or other, the client stopped the project after a month into it.

He now wants to resume the project … after five years.

Fortunately, I keep good records and files. I make sure I have them backed up. In fact, I use Dropbox and Carbonite. I also have an external drive that I back my files up to.

Overcautious?

Maybe, but I've had the experience of losing a client's project – the entire manuscript - due to a computer mishap, so I take extra precautions.

Because I save everything, I have the information from the first book and what I had done on the second book.

Going over my notes, I was THRILLED to see that I had written a detailed outline of Book 2.

Granted, this is an unusual situation as it’s the first time I’ve had a client stop a project, and especially stop one for such a very, very long time, but it helps emphasize the importance of an outline.

Having that detailed outline is going to save me time and effort.

CREATING CHARACTERS

Along with creating an outline, it's important to develop character details.

Writing coach and author Suzanne Lieurance says that if you know your characters before writing your story, you'll write a better novel.

Why?

Well, if you take the time to create your characters, especially the main characters, you can open up other details or subplots within the story that you might not have thought of before.

This also helps you to create unique characters. Characters with their own personalities and quirks that make them easily distinguishable from the other characters.

You'll know that Jeff has a temper, Russell is timid, and they're best friends despite their differences.

You'll know that Marisa has a crush on Matteo, who has a crush on Abby, who likes Jeff.

All this is going on behind the scenes in subplots as the main character struggles to reach his goal.

Knowing all this will allow you to understand how a character will react in certain situations. It'll also help you write particular scenes with ease.

I hope these tips help you write an outstanding middle-grade story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. If you need help with your story, visit Karen Cioffi Writing for Children.

Karen also offers authors:

FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN COURSE
A guided self-study course and mentoring program.

HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK
A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS
Self-publishing help for children’s authors.



Authors: Why You Should Register Copyrights

 

Contributed by Margot Conner

Many writers are comfortable with the idea that copyrights are assigned to you as soon as you put your name to it. That is all fine as long as no one decides you are some little-known author, and they can copy your words into their own story. There are well-documented cases of this.

Unfortunately, you don’t own the legal right to use, possess, and give away the material you wrote unless it is registered with the copyright office. If you want undisputed ownership, in case of plagiarism, and the right to seek legal action in a court of law, you need to register a copyright with the Library of Congress.

This guarantees the return of your intellectual property if stolen. Or, in the case of its destruction, payment for it. It also gives you the possibility to prove you were the one who wrote it if someone else claims they are the author.

But here is the kicker… if an imposter goes to the U.S. Copyright Office before the true author and registers the work in their name, the true author will have to sue to invalidate the imposter's copyright. This is nearly impossible to win and would be very costly.

The "ownership" myth was destroyed in U.S. Supreme Court when the Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation went up against WallStreet dot com in 2019. The outcome: an author cannot sue for copyright infringement unless their work has first been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Unless the work is registered you can't even sue to make someone take down the material they have plagiarized.

It doesn’t matter if you can prove you wrote something. Infringement on your rights is allowed. This court case effectively did away with the "copyright when you write it" concept that most authors believe in. If you cannot stop someone from plagiarizing your intellectual property the unregistered copyright means nothing.

Under section 506, criminal copyright infringement must demonstrate a valid copyright was infringed upon willfully and for the purposes of commercial or private financial gain.

OK, filing for a copyright can get expensive. But it is less costly than losing what you wrote or fighting a court battle that is maybe impossible to win without having that legal copyright.

I found a few ways to save money. If your writing a series, and you have the ability to wait until you complete all the books, then there is one cost to copyright them as a group, all at once. Otherwise, it will cost you $65 each time. 

You can register for a copyright at the Library of Congress: https://www.copyright.gov/registration/

This is my best advice: You will have lower fees for copyright if you belong to either the writer’s or authors' guild. They will also help authors in many other ways. I believe that the fee is between $10 and $25 to copyright through the Guilds.

Authors Guild: $135 a year, or $12 a month to be a member

•    Legal services
•    Free access to seminars, workshops and events
•    Resources list
•    Media insurance
•    Many others, including web services

The Emerging Writer level membership gives you a lot of bang for your buck and it takes much less to qualify. This membership level is only $9 (but no legal advice).

Eligibility
•    Traditionally published authors and illustrators with at least 1 published book in the U.S.
•    Self-published authors who have made at least $5,000 in the past 18 months from their writing
•    Freelance writers who have published 3+ pieces or made $5,000 in the past 18 months

Writers Guild: (expensive)

The Writers Guild is a labor union for film, radio, and television writers, composed of The Writers Guild of America East and The Writers Guild of America West. Both sites have much more in-depth information available, including eligibility requirements and dues.

Examples of Why You Should Register for Copyright of Your Work

Just to bring home the need for copyrights, take the following examples to heart.

Many famous authors who have the money to pay a good legal team get away with theft. Or the Publishers do. And some who plagiarize still go on to be successful, because their misdeeds are simply forgotten.

These examples were copied from several places. Source credits are in brackets.

Dan Brown: “The Da Vinci Code”
In 2006, Brown was accused of plagiarism by Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent. Then in 2007 author Jack Dunn sued Brown. The author went on to sue Brown for plagiarism two more times.
(Source: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/dan-brown-faces-possible-new-plagiarism-lawsuit-over-the-da-vinci-code-2017-10-18)

Alex Haley: “Roots: The Saga of An American Family”
Alex Haley won the Pulitzer Prize in 1977 for his book. In 1978 Harold Courlander accused Haley of plagiarizing content from his book, “The African.” Haley ended up agreeing that he did use passages from Courlander’s book. The case was settled out of court.
(Source: https://medium.com/@hajiibrown/alex-haleys-roots-edf0be7bd0ac)

J.K. Rowling: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”
Rowling was accused of plagiarizing parts of Adrian Jacob’s book, “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard.” The case was dismissed.
Then, “US author Nancy Stouffer alleged Rowling had taken material from her book The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, but without success.”
(Source: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/jan/07/harry-potter-plagiarism-case-us-court)

Johnny Cash: “Folsom Prison Blues”
"Cash had lifted the melody from and much of the lyrics from a 1953 song “Crescent City Blues” by Gordon Jenkins." The case was settled for $75,000.
(Source: https://www.bcbe.org/cms/l“On February 19, 1981, ib/AL01901374/Centricity/Domain/739/Johnny%20Cash.pdf )

George Harrison: “My Sweet Lord”
In 1971, Harrison was sued for “subconsciously plagiarizing’: The Chiffons‘ 1963 hit single ‘He’s So Fine.’
After a court battle, “Harrison was found guilty and had to pay $1,599,987 of the earnings from ‘My Sweet Lord’ to Bright Tunes.”
(Source: https://performingsongwriter.com/george-harrison-my-sweet-lord/)

SUMMING IT UP

Of course, there are other cases where someone becomes very successful and false claims are made to gain a big undeserved sum in a bogus court case. But even the unjustly accused will lose if they must spend their time to prove they are the rightful owner.

This happened to Taylor Swift recently. The case was thrown out of court. That is the other side of the coin. The lawsuit can be costly and stall a project. Being on either side is a waste of your time and money, so try to avoid all that stress by protecting yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margot Conor has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn't until the COVID lock-down that she had enough time to dedicate to the craft and bring something to completion. Having finished her first novel, she went through the grueling two-year process of editing. Now she has jumped into the author's world with both feet. She's preparing to debut her first novel, which means learning how to promote it. The last year has been spent attending many writing retreats, seminars, and writers' events. She also listened to presentations specifically on the topic of publishing and book marketing. She will be sharing what she learns with the reader.
You can learn more about Margot and her writing at her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/margotconor/
@MargotConor (Facebook)


Your Children's Story and the Message


 By Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

I get a lot of clients who want to tell children something through a book.

These people want to send a message in hopes of teaching the reader something … something the author thinks is important.

People who want to write children’s stories usually want to teach and enlighten children, whether it's about bullying, being yourself, being kind, or something else.

This is a noble endeavor - the problem, though, is children don’t want to be told what they should or shouldn’t do. They want a story that they can get involved in, one they want to turn the pages to find out what happens next, and one they can connect with the main character.

The ‘icing on the cake’ is what the reader takes away from the book, the takeaway value.

So as an author, how do you get your message across without hitting kids over the head?

To start, the story should be about something kids will want to read about. And it should not overtly be about the message.

I recently read a client’s manuscript that flooded the story with the author’s message. Nothing was subtle.

So how do you tone down your message to weave it seamlessly and subtly into your story?

One way, if you’re writing a story because of a message you have, is to think of a scenario where your message could play out.

Your message or moral takeaway may be about doing the right thing, even if tempted.

Suppose the story is about Sammy, a kid who’s basically honest.

Sammy and his friends find a bag of money on a shelf in the garage of an elderly neighbor they’re cleaning the garage for.

It’s a lot of money, and Josh wants to split the money between himself, Sammy, and another friend.

After thinking about it for a minute, Sammy tells Josh to put the money back.

A few seconds later, the elderly neighbor walks into the garage.

Sammy was tempted. He probably thought all sorts of things before finally realizing it was wrong.

Nowhere in the story should it say, ‘Crime doesn’t pay.’ 

Let the reader come up with their own conclusions.

If the story is written right, the reader will get the takeaway value without realizing they are … without the author hitting them over the head with it.

A story that takes the protagonist on a journey should result in him growing in some way.

Using Sammy above as an example, maybe he wasn’t sure what to do under those circumstances. Maybe he thought about being dishonest in the past. Maybe he struggled with his honesty in little things.

He chose the right path and learned something about himself. He was an honest kid.

Again, your young reader wants a good story. They want to go on a journey – messaging should not be a part of that journey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, editor, rewriter, and coach. If you need help with your story, click HERE.

Karen also offers authors:

FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN COURSE
A guided self-study course and mentoring program.

HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK
A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS
Self-publishing help for children’s authors.


The Two Elements of Point of View


 

By Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

 As the title states, there are two elements to point of view (POV).

1. The first element is who’s telling the story.

From whose viewpoint is the story being related to the reader? Or whose story is it?

With this part of POV, you’re choosing the character who is telling the story.With young children’s books, there should be only one POV: that of the protagonist.

When you’re writing in one character’s POV, it’s essential that you don’t accidentally fall into head-hopping.

Head-hopping suddenly brings another character’s POV into the story within the same scene. It may be the same paragraph or the same chapter.

There’s no lead-in to the POV change, which makes it jarring to the reader. It can cause the reader to pause, making him read the passage a few times to get it straight.

It may seem that sticking to one POV is an easy thing, but it’s actually a very easy slip to make. You can slip into another character’s POV without even realizing it.

An example:

Jason is the POV character. Ralph is his best friend.

Jason couldn’t wait to tell Ralph his good news. He grabbed Ralph by the arm and spun him around.

“Hey,” Ralph yelled. His immediate thought was to have his fist ready.


This sentence brings Ralph’s POV into the scene as his thoughts are being made known to the reader.

To eliminate it:
Jason couldn’t wait to tell Ralph his good news. He grabbed Ralph by the arm and spun him around.

“Hey,” Ralph yelled, his fist ready to fly.

With this little change, you’re keeping the essence of the scene while also keeping it in Jason’s (the POV character) POV.

Another example.
Jason couldn’t stop thinking of the girl he and Ralph met earlier. And neither could Ralph.

When you slip into another character’s internal thoughts, you’re head-hopping.

See how easy it is to do this-just four little words.

A simple fix:
Jason couldn’t stop thinking of the girl he and Ralph met earlier. He knew Ralph couldn’t either.

According to Jerry Jenkins, “I avoid that [head-hopping] by imagining my Point of View or Perspective Character as my camera—I’m limited to writing only what my character “camera” sees, hears, and knows.”

2. The second element is whether the story is told in first, second, or third person.

The second element establishes how the story is told. In other words, is it told in first person, second person, or third person limited?

This is a powerful element of storytelling.

A quick overview:

First-person pronouns: me, I, mine, and my.

The protagonist is telling his story. He’s the narrator.

Examples of this POV are:
–Angry Ninja by Mary Nhin
–Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
–The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Second-person pronouns: you, your, and yours.

The protagonist is the narrator and talks directly to the reader.

Examples of this POV are:
–How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan
-Train Your Angry Dragon By Steve Herman
–The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

Third-person limited pronouns: he, she, they, it.

A narrator is telling the story through the protagonist’s perspective in the case of young children’s books.

The narrator is inside the protagonist’s thoughts, senses, and feelings.

According to MasterClass, it ”can give readers a deeper experience of character and scene, and is the most common way to use point of view.”

Examples of this POV:
Walking Through Walls by Karen Cioffi
–The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
–The Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

I hope this helps you get a better handle on point of view.

This article was first published at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2021/07/11/writing-and-point-of-view-2-must-know-elements/ 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

 

 

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, editor, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. If you need help with your story, click HERE.

Karen also provides:

FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN COURSE
A guided self-study course and mentoring program.

HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK
A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS
Self-publishing help for children’s authors.









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