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

Learn to Write for Children - 4 Basic Tools



We all know how difficult it is to break into the business of writing for children. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, it is a tough business and can be overwhelming for those just starting out. While all writing must adhere to certain guidelines, writing for children has additional principles unique to its genre.

To start, the words used in children’s writing must be age appropriate.

This may sound easy to do, but it can be a difficult task. There are also certain techniques and rules used specifically in writing for children, such as the Core of Three, sentence structure, and the time frame in which the story should occur when writing for young children. In addition, it’s essential to make sure your conflicts, storyline, and point of view are appropriate for the age group you’re writing for.

Along with this, there are general techniques for writing, such as adding sensory details, showing instead of telling, and creating an engaging story that hooks the reader right away, along with writing great dialogue and using correct punctuation.

This is just the beginning though, there is also the business of editing your work, writing a winning query, and following submission guidelines; the list goes on and on.

But, don’t get discouraged, there is help.

Here are four basic tools to get you started and guide you down the children’s writing path:

1. Children’s Writer’s WORD BOOK by Alijandra Mogilner is a great resource that provides word lists grouped by grades along with a thesaurus of listed words. This allows you to check a word in question to make sure it is appropriate for the age group you’re writing for. It also provides reading levels for synonyms. It’s a very useful tool and one that I use over and over.

2. The Institute of Children's Literature.

Read and learn about how to write for children. There are plenty of books and courses you can find online that will help you become a 'good' children's writer. The Institute of Children's Literature has an excellent reputation. 

3. The Frugal Editor by award winning author and editor, Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

This is a useful book for any writing genre, including children’s. It will guide you through basic editing, to getting the most out of your Word program’s features, to providing samples of queries. The author provides great tips and advice that will have you saying, “Ah, so that’s how it’s done.”

4. How to Write a Children's Fiction Book by award-winning author and successful children's ghostwriter Karen Cioffi.

Yes, it's my book, but it really is jammed packed with tips, advice, examples, and much more on writing for children. It also includes DIY assignments and touches on submitting your manuscript and book marketing.

I’ve invested in a number of books, courses and programs in writing and marketing, and know value when I see it. The products above have a great deal of value for you as a children's writer, and they are definitely worth the cost.

Remember though, the most important aspect of creating a writing career is to actually begin. You can’t succeed if you don’t try. It takes that first step to start your journey, and that first step seems to be a huge stumbling block for many.

Don’t let procrastination or fear stop you from moving forward - start today!


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and a working children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. You can find out more about writing for children and her services at: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children. Check out the DIY Page!

And, check out my middle grade fantasy adventure, Walking Through Walls, and my new picture book: The Case of the Plastic Rings – The Adventures of Planetman (the first in a three-book series):
http://4rv-publishing-llc.mypreview.site/karen-cioffi.html



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Breaking Into Freelance Writing – Don’t Let Fear Stop You

By Karen Cioffi

Thinking of breaking into freelance writing, but feeling overwhelmed?

Unless you’re an established freelance writer, it’s easy to feel that way.

Maybe the thought of ghostwriting or editing a book seems daunting. Maybe the thought of writing articles and submitting them to magazines on a regular basis seems intimidating.

Well, freelance writing doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or difficult . . . or frightening.

Rather than taking on large projects or feature articles, you can find smaller, less intimidating work. The main thing is to get started.

There are lots of types of writing, aside from feature articles. You can write greeting card content, fillers, anecdotes, short articles or blog posts, letters, jokes, and more. There are many opportunities to write for money.

But, getting started and maintaining any business takes action. Procrastinating and ‘doing nothing’ is a sure way to NEVER reach your goals.

Dreams, well intentions, and even plans won’t get you from Point A to Point B without action. 

So, no matter what genre you’re writing in, or want to write in, take the steps to move forward.

Once you decide you really want to start a writing business, you will need to put time and effort into creating and building it. To do this, to move forward, start with these 4 steps.

1. Write on a regular basis - even if the writing isn’t meant for publication.

You’ll need to hone your skills – practice helps do this.

In addition, it’s a good idea to read ‘good’ copy and content. This will also help you develop and sharpen your writing skills.

2. Copy the masters.

Another trick to keep you moving forward while you query for jobs is to actually type effective copy and content written by pros.

This strategy helps train your brain to recognize good writing and will help you to emulate it.

But, a word of caution here, this is only a practice strategy – you cannot use another writer’s content for anything other than practice. That would be plagiarism.

3. Find resources to take advantage of.

You may be thinking that you just don’t know where or how to start.

That’s understandable.

The writing arena is broad and can certainly feel overwhelming when first starting out. But, there are a number of programs, classes, job boards, and other resources (free and for a fee) that you can take advantage of to guide you to gigs, publication, and sales.

Start by asking in your writing groups or ask more experienced writer friends if they know of tools and resources geared toward freelance writing.

You can also attend live conferences or online webinars. There are a number of free ones available online. In addition, you can do an online search to find resources.

There are also writing membership sites that offer lots of helpful tips and guidance.

4. Jump in - take action.

While taking the three steps above, you also need to actively look for work.

This means researching magazines for what they're looking for, querying for jobs, looking at job boards, getting your name and business out there.

And, getting your name out there means having an online presence - this means you NEED a website. And, your website needs to look and feel professional.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t let fear stop you from jumping in.

Take that first step. Then take the second, third, and so on.

If you look around, you’ll find lots and lots of opportunities out there for you to get started and move forward in your freelance writing business.

Here are 6 resources to help you get started today:

American Writers and Artists Inc.

Freelancers Union

ProBlogger Job Board

Morning Coffee Job Board

Become a Power-Blogger (Content Writer) in Just 4 Weeks

Become a Ghostwriter- Start a Money-Making Writing Business
New WOW! Women on Writing class

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The Energy of Busy

clip art by Holohololand at www.freedigitalphotos.net
Nothing like doing more to cheer yourself up when you're feeling overwhelmed :-)

The writing blues hit us all at some time--usually after a spurt of great energy leaves us exhausted. Banish them by learning a new skill, trying something different.

Write non fiction if you find yourself stuck with a novel. Alternatively write fiction if you're finding it hard to get enthused over your usual content writing tasks.

Bite the bullet and start using the PLR (private label rights) articles you bought for a rainy day. It's never advisable to use them as is, but they act as a plan to follow and get you going again.

Treat yourself to a new piece of software.

Worn out trying to think up titles for your blog posts? Make life easier by using the Ideator .
You type in your desired keyword and the search produces a selection of titles using that word.
For this blog post, I typed in energy and in double quick time the Ideator produced  25 pages of suggested content titles. I'd never in a month of Sundays have thought up The Energy of Busy  myself but I think it's exactly right for what I want to say. Oh and I forgot to say--it's free.

And how about Keyword Kiwi? Again free, it finds long tail keywords based on what people are searching for on Google. You can set it for Google in any area, set it to produce questions or list titles.

Read and learn

My book of the month has to be Danny Iny's Teach and Grow Rich. It's short but packed with information about the state of marketing and publishing today. It is already at the top of the best sellers for business education on Amazon.com . But be sure to read the one star as well as the five star reviews to make up your own mind first before you buy. It resonated with me. He's not promising "rich" in the sense of making millions before Christmas but in the sense of making a comfortable living while having a happy and fulfilling career. That's good news for a start. 

Joanna Penn's How to Make a Living With Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More is a much longer read, packed full of useful links and information. It seems still to be free in the Kindle store and worth grabbing if you don't have it already.

   What have you found to boost your energy and re-inspire you this month? I'd love to know. Share your ideas, please, in the comments below.



Anne Duguid
Anne Duguid Knol


A local and national journalist in the U.K., Anne is now a fiction editor for award-winning American and Canadian publishers. As a new author, she shares writing tips and insights at Author Support : http://www.authorsupport.net

Her Halloween novella, ShriekWeek is published by The Wild Rose Press and comes out in print next month included in the Hauntings in the Garden anthology. (Volume Two)

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