Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer. Is it a chapter book or a middle grade? And why does it matter that you pick the right genre:. Well, it’s the difference between an editor giving your story a second glance or not. It’s so essential ...
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  1. Writing Pitfalls in Children’s Writing
  2. Best Writing Contests Winner North Street Book Prize Nearing Deadline!
  3. ANNOUNCING THE TALES2INSPIRE® 2024 NO FEE CONTEST
  4. If You've Got to Give Writing Advice
  5. Carolyn Shares Winning Writers Resource and Amazon Audio Special Price
  6. More Recent Articles

Writing Pitfalls in Children’s Writing

 

 


 Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

Is it a chapter book or a middle grade? And why does it matter that you pick the right genre:

Well, it’s the difference between an editor giving your story a second glance or not.

It’s so essential that publishers will ask what grade level your book is geared toward. You had better make sure the vocabulary of your story and the intended audience are a match.

What exactly do I mean? Let’s use an example:

The boy performed an amazing illusion. Was it an illusion or real magic?

If you were writing this for a 6th grader, the word illusion would be fine, but say you are writing for a 2nd or 3rd grader … then you’ll need to change that word.

According to "Children's Writer's Word Book," 'illusion' is in the vocabulary of 6th graders. To make it age appropriate for a 3rd grader, you would need to change it to a word such as trick or fake.

The use of words goes far beyond that of choosing age-appropriate words; they can be revised to say the same thing in a different way.

Words are amazing; just make sure yours are appropriate for the age group you’re writing for.

Taking this a little further, even if you're writing a young adult novel, choose words carefully.

I'm working with a client who has words in his draft that most teens and even many adult readers won't understand. You don't want a reader to have to stop and look up a word while reading. This is never a good thing.

Don’t use high-end words when writing for children, teens, and young adults. Use words that everyone will be able to quickly recognize and understand.

To emphasize this, here are some quotes on the topic by famous authors:

"Use familiar words—words that your readers will understand, and not words they will have to look up. No advice is more elementary, and no advice is more difficult to accept. When we feel an impulse to use a marvelously exotic word, let us lie down until the impulse goes away."

~James J. Kilpatrick

"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do."

~Thomas Jefferson

"A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts."

~William Strunk and E.B. White

"Use the smallest word that does the job."

~E.B. White

"Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people." ~William Butler Yeats

"The finest words in the world are only vain sounds if you can’t understand them. ~Anatole France

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

~Mark Twain

The finest language is mostly made up of simple, unimposing words." ~George Eliot

"Whenever we can make 25 words do the work of 50, we halve the area in which looseness and disorganisation can flourish."

~Wilson Follett

"Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite."

~C. S. Lewis

 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.

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A feature in the right column of this blog lets you subscribe to #SharingwithWriters so you don’t miss any of Karen’s posts on writing for children.  

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MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the multi award-winning author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T/ ) of books for writers including "The Frugal Book Promoter" (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), and "The Frugal Editor" both offered in their third editions by Modern History Press. Others in that series are "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically," and two booklets, both in their second editions also from Modern History Press. The booklets, "Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers" (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and "Great First Impression Book Proposals" (https://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors. The one on writing book proposals is also available as an Audio Book. "The Frugal Editor "(https://tinyurl.com/TheFrugalEditor), was recently released in its third edition. It is the winningest book in this series for writers. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them understand what is needed to convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is "A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques" (https://bit.ly/RetailersGuide). In addition to this blog, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at https://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at "The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor" (https://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Learn more and follow it to get news on her new releases directly from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

   

Best Writing Contests Winner North Street Book Prize Nearing Deadline!

As many of you know, I am a proud associate of WinningWriters’ #NorthStreetBookPrize because of all its value-added benefits but also because of it credibility, the quality of the winners I have seen honored over the years, and that it’s a “Best Writing Contests Winner” in its own right. He as added even more to his lineup of benefits and it’s time to enter again!  How lovely it would be to see one of online friends and subscribers on the winning list this year. 
Hugs,
Carolyn











MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER 


Great 3D Book Images by @GeneCartwright 

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the multi award-winning author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T/ ) of books for writers including "The Frugal Book Promoter" (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), and "The Frugal Editor" both offered in their third editions by Modern History Press. Others in that series are "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically," and two booklets, both in their second editions also from Modern History Press. The booklets, "Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers" (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and "Great First Impression Book Proposals" (https://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors. The one on writing book proposals is also available as an Audio Book. "The Frugal Editor "(https://tinyurl.com/TheFrugalEditor), was recently released in its third edition. It is the winningest book in this series for writers.  

Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them understand what is needed to convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is "A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques" (https://bit.ly/RetailersGuide). In addition to this blog, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at https://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. 

Carolyn also blogs all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at "The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor" (https://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Learn more and follow it to get news on her new releases directly from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.
   

ANNOUNCING THE TALES2INSPIRE® 2024 NO FEE CONTEST

Tales2Inspire 2024
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ENTER CONTEST

TALES2INSPIRE® 2024 CONTEST 

Grab this Opportunity to be Published in a New Tales2Inspire® Collection

THEME FOR 2024

HAPPINESS

True stories of happiness given, received or observed

Why happiness? 

During these turbulent times, I felt it was important to focus on some positives in our lives.

DUE DATE: AUGUST 31, 2024



SUBMIT YOUR STORY 

to

Tales2Inspire2@gmail.com

Enter your story into the next Tales2Inspire contest. NO ENTRANCE FEES, this is an ‘Authors Helping Authors’ project.

See all details below.

FREE TO ENTER


Whether you are new to Tales2Inspire or have been with us before, a quick review of our Contest Guidelines will help you succeed. Then follow the How to Submit page for step-by-step easy submission instructions.


GUIDELINES

* For guidelines on writing a winning story, CLICK HERE.

* To learn how to submit a story, CLICK HERE.

* To learn about winner rewards - What's In it For You - CLICK HERE.

To learn how stories are judged and how authors become part of that process, CLICK HERE.

* For post-judging editing support, CLICK HERE.


We encourage Tales2Inspire newcomers to first download our FREE Tales2Inspire sampler. Not only is it a treat to read these inspiring stories, but it will give you a great idea of the type stories we like to publish.

CLICK HERE


Lois W. Stern

 
Tales2inspire® was a kernel of an idea I initiated in 2011, growing in proportions even I didn’t dare to envision. My innate curiosity about potentially fascinating human interest stories was the spark that ignited this idea, but there was something more propelling me forward - my belief in the power of stories to shape our thinking. Famed biographer, Doris Kearns Goodwin has repeatedly written about this theme in relation to some of our greatest presidents, who recognized the power of stories and used their storytelling abilities to reach the people they were chosen to govern. Each of the non-fiction stories published in one of the Tales2inspire® books was selected similarly - not only for its artful writing, but for its skill in delivering an underlying message to inspire each of us to reach for the best within us. CLICK HERE to try us out with a Free sampler filled with six published T2I stories.


Visit Lois at these Media Marketing sites to learn more about her and her Tales2Inspire® Authors Helping Authors project/contest at: 

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Watch this Tales2Inspire trailer here.


Get a FREE Tales2Inspire Sampler book at: https://www.tales2inspire.com/giftss

Visit the Tales2Inspire blog for snapshot views of our winning stories: https://www.tales2inspire/blog

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TESTIMONIALS

Estarlyn (Starling) Hiraldo

Working with Lois has been one of the most eye-opening and rewording eperiences of my life. I have learned to be grateful for human interaction and the importance of sharing stories with communities across the globe.

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Claudia Domb, Smithtown, NY
 
Anonymously critiquing the work of three of my peers sharpened my critical thinking skills. In turn, having my story judged by three other authors was helpful to me. Being open to change can make for positive results, helping to polish an already great story to near perfection. 

Rod_Cropped
Rod DiGruttolo - Sarasota, Fl.

Tales2Inspire is unique in that all those entering a ‘tale’ for consideration have the opportunity to grow as authors. While there are winners in the entries, there are no losers, for Lois provides every author with the opportunity to see our work through other authors’ eyes. By inspiring us toward writing mastery, she helps us inspire others
.


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* To learn about our editing support services, CLICK HERE.



MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the multi award-winning author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T/ ) of books for writers including "The Frugal Book Promoter" (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), and "The Frugal Editor" both offered in their third editions by Modern History Press. Others in that series are "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically," and two booklets, both in their second editions also from Modern History Press. The booklets, "Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers" (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and "Great First Impression Book Proposals" (https://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors. The one on writing book proposals is also available as an Audio Book. "The Frugal Editor "(https://tinyurl.com/TheFrugalEditor), was recently released in its third edition. It is the winningest book in this series for writers. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them understand what is needed to convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is "A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques" (https://bit.ly/RetailersGuide). In addition to this blog, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at https://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at "The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor" (https://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Learn more and follow it to get news on her new releases directly from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.
   

If You've Got to Give Writing Advice

Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

 A while ago, I was asked to look over a children’s fiction picture book manuscript. This was not a paying job, just a favor.

The ‘new to writing’ authors, both health care professionals, had already been calling major publishers to find submission requirements. They were told their manuscript would not be looked at without an agent.

So, they went to the library to find a book on top agents.

While this is a worthy endeavor, there are some basic first steps to take before shooting for the stars.

Just glancing at the manuscript, I knew it needed a lot of work. And, interestingly, I was surprised to see so many errors in a simple 600-word story.

It seems as we progress in learning the craft of writing, we forget that we didn’t know the bare basics at one time either.

I then had to figure out what to say to the authors without alienating or totally discouraging them.

When critiquing or giving writing advice, it’s important to begin with the positive aspects of the manuscript. If the errors are basic, and there are a lot of them, you may also want to state them in generic terms, so not to offend the author/s.

What does this mean?

Well, it’s not a good idea to say, “You shouldn’t have the children’s picture book manuscript formatted in lists, numbered, or in Australian Sunrise 10pt font.”

Instead, you might say, “Manuscripts are usually preferred typed in New Times Roman 12pt font and are double spaced using a free form flow with the first sentence of each paragraph indented.

See the difference?

To help with clarity, you could include a first-page example of a manuscript you have or rewrite the 1st paragraph of the author’s manuscript.

If there are just too many errors, for time’s sake, you can make a list of proper manuscript formatting tips. This is the approach I took.

I started out with the ‘positive:’

This is a wonderful idea for a children’s book and has great potential, especially since both of you are professionals in the health field. Children will certainly benefit from the story’s information. It could use some tweaking, though.

Then, I added the following:

Here are a few tips for writing and formatting a manuscript to help get it submission-ready:

•    Manuscripts should be formatted in 12 pt Times New Roman Font
•    They should be double-spaced
•    They should be in free form without numbering for pages or in list form
•    The first sentence of each paragraph should be indented
•    Children love action – actions are better shown through ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’
•    Notes for illustrations after each of your intended pages are usually frowned upon by publishers
•    Most publishers, especially the major ones, use their own illustrators
•    Manuscripts are more likely to make it past the slush pile if they are polished
•    Usually, writers go through a process of one or two critique groups and writing groups. After rewrites and editing, it gets to a point where it looks perfect. That’s when it needs to be professionally edited.

These tips are part of the advice I offered the authors, and I kept it as generic as possible.

After you note the manuscript errors, you should end your advice on another positive note. You might say, “With rewriting and editing, you will have an engaging story that children will be sure to love, and it’ll be submission-ready.”

I then provided several writing links about writing for children and editing.

Since every author’s personality is different it’s usually best to use the gentle approach when offering writing advice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, rewriter, editor, and coach with clients worldwide. If you need help with your children’s story, please visit Karen Cioffi Writing for Children.
 
Karen also offers HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.
A 250+ book that will help you start or finish your children’s book

And for those children’s authors who are self-publishing, Karen provides WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS.


 -----

MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the multi award-winning author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T/ ) of books for writers including "The Frugal Book Promoter" (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), and "The Frugal Editor" both offered in their third editions by Modern History Press. Others in that series are "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically," and two booklets, both in their second editions also from Modern History Press. The booklets, "Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers" (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and "Great First Impression Book Proposals" (https://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors. The one on writing book proposals is also available as an Audio Book. "The Frugal Editor "(https://tinyurl.com/TheFrugalEditor), was recently released in its third edition. It is the winningest book in this series for writers. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them understand what is needed to convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is "A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques" (https://bit.ly/RetailersGuide). In addition to this blog, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at https://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at "The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor" (https://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Learn more and follow it to get news on her new releases directly from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

   

Carolyn Shares Winning Writers Resource and Amazon Audio Special Price

So proud to have the opportunity to work with https://WinningWriters.com.  This is a first for me, but it dawns on me that I have never shared with my visitors and subscribers the kind of information--all excellent and vetted resources--in their newsletter.  I highly recommend the letter and site for anyone who is interested in contests, all of them thoroughly vetted.  Ditto for the rare author-related ads they send out like this one they did for me. And look at that special price today on the audio version of “The Great First Impression Book Proposal!” 
Happy Writing to you all!
Carolyn 



From the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series
 
The Great First Impression Book Proposal
 
The Great First Impression Book Proposal
 
This booklet helps authors love the project they most love to hate—writing a book proposal. There is no need to take expensive, time-consuming classes or spend hours reading a tome to find the voice and format that will propel your idea from a dream to reality. This short book and less than an hour will do it.

Contents
  1. Getting Past Our Own Arguments—and Past Gatekeepers' Resistance
  2. Getting Started: The Short Way to the Gate
  3. Your Overview: How To Make Jaded Gatekeepers Want More
  4. The Details: How To Make a Gatekeeper Open the Door for You
  5. Making It Easy: Quick Formatting and Editing Do's and Don'ts
  6. The Clincher: Keeping the Gate Wide Open
  7. Checklist: Is Your Great First Impression Proposal Ready for Its Closeup?

Benefit from Carolyn Howard-Johnson's extensive work with clients who dread writing book proposals as much as you do. She coaches authors through the process, tapping the passion they feel for their work.

Get your copy now direct from the publisher at Modern History Press (paperback $8.49) or Amazon Kindle ($2.99).

 
 
Audio Edition
 
Audio Edition On Sale
 
57 minutes are all you need to look forward to your next book proposal with enthusiasm. This unabridged audiobook from Audible is narrated by Lisa Negrón.
 
 
$2.76
 
Unsolicited Endorsements for
The Great First Impression Book Proposal


"'This is a really smart proposal,' was one comment from an agent who went on to sell my nonfiction book to a publisher. The 'smartest' thing about it? I used Carolyn's guide to write it!"
—Treacy Colbert, medical writer and author of End Your Menopause Misery

"I just finished reading The Great First Impression Book ProposalI like your style and encouragement. I was a bit intimidated about finishing my book proposal. I was thinking it had to be stiff and boring. I even have dialogue in it. I thought I'd have to cut it out. Now, I'll probably leave it in."
—Wanza Leftwich, author, blogger

"I love [The Great First Impression Book Proposal]! My husband was amazed at all the info crammed into this short book. You could have charged a lot more. I just re-vamped my proposal to follow the guidelines in it for my latest book."
—Myrna Lou, palmist, psychic, author

"Marketing is never easy...Well, it might be if you follow the easy steps Carolyn Howard-Johnson offers up in The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Book in Thirty Minutes or Less. Howard-Johnson's bulleted lists are superior. They're easy to understand, easy to implement, and even easier to read. (She means it when she says thirty minutes or less). She gives us even more: A list of other resources on book proposals. I will recommend this book to all of our authors and potential authors at Ladybug Press."
—Georgia Jones, Editor in Chief, Ladybug Press and NewVoices, Inc.
 
The Great First Impression Book Proposal
 
 





MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the multi award-winning author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T/ ) of books for writers including "The Frugal Book Promoter" (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), and "The Frugal Editor" both offered in their third editions by Modern History Press. Others in that series are "How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically," and two booklets, both in their second editions also from Modern History Press. The booklets, "Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers" (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and "Great First Impression Book Proposals" (https://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors. The one on writing book proposals is also available as an Audio Book. "The Frugal Editor "(https://tinyurl.com/TheFrugalEditor), was recently released in its third edition. It is the winningest book in this series for writers. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them understand what is needed to convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is "A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques" (https://bit.ly/RetailersGuide). In addition to this blog, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at https://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at "The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor" (https://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Learn more and follow it to get news on her new releases directly from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.
   

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