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Posts Tagged ‘juvenile fiction’

DO YOU WRITE FICTION?

 

Me Know Everything!

If you want to write fiction, first you must decide for what age group you’ll write. Will you write for children or adults?

If you want to write for children, remember there are numerous subgenres and age groups in juvenile fiction.

Will you write for toddlers and preschoolers? Then you’re looking at a picture book often with fewer than 500 words that takes the child into his very small self-centered world. Unless you’re a trained artist, you probably shouldn’t attempt to do your own illustrations. Let the publishing company choose an illustrator from its stable of artists. He/she will do a fine job with your manuscript. Your main goal should be to write an irresistible story that the editor at the publishing company won’t be able to turn down.

Maybe you’d like to write a manuscript for a picture book styled after Dr. Seuss. Then study Dr. Seuss and his 60 books that are in print. Many of his books are 32 pages long with a manuscript that has several thousand words all cleverly written in perfect rhythm and meter poetry. It’s not as easy as you think.

Perhaps you’d like to write chapter books for six-to-ten-year-old kids. Here you’re looking at a book, usually without illustrations, that has about 64 to 80 pages (about 32,000 to 50,000 words). Your plot should take that reader from his familiar surroundings to worlds of fantasy and fun.

Then there are the subgenres for tweens and teens. You can write about any topic, any theme, and have well developed characters, plots, and subplots. How many words should you tackle? Anywhere from 30,000 to over 100,000 words. It’s not uncommon to see books of fantasy have at least 500 pages these days.

So get your creative juices flowing and start writing that children’s best-selling fiction story. Your kiddie audience awaits!

Marsha
www.marshahubler.com
www.marshahubler.wordpress.com
Author of the best-selling Keystone Stables Series

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Take a look at Marsha’s latest release:

TOMMI POCKETS

She wished she was a boy. But why?

https://amzn.to/2Zkx48L

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CRITIQUE GROUP GUIDELINES TO HELP START A CRITIQUE GROUP

Do you belong to a writers’ critique group? Do you believe you need opinions from other writers to improve your writing?

All writers should belong to a local critique group that will “tell it like it is.” Nothing will improve your writing better than having objective criticism, both positive and negative, from a group of peers.
As promised, I’ve included the guidelines for you to follow if you plan to start your own group. Please feel free to copy and use at your own discretion:

Critique Group Guidelines

1. Pick one person to be the leader of your group or rotate by having a different leader every time you meet. Choose a central location to meet. Our group meets at a local coffee house where the owner allows us to rearrange a few tables in the corner of the place where we can sip coffee and discuss.

2. Several days before the meeting, the leader should email or call everyone to find out whos bringing something to critique. The leader then plans how much time will be allotted to each writer at the meeting. Example: we have a two-hour meeting once a month. If five of us bring something to be critiqued, we each get about 20-25 minutes total time for the critique. Its best for the leader to have a timer. We usually limit our pages to about five typed double-spaced pages. But that depends on how many writers want to be critiqued.

3. At the meeting, open with the sharing of news, i.e. someone has been accepted for publication, someone is speaking somewhere or having a book signing, etc.

4. Each person who has something to critique should bring copies for all members. The author has a choice to have his/her work read aloud by another member while the group critiques with pen or to have it read silently while the critiquing is being done.

5. After the reading, each person, other than the writer, discusses the manuscript read. The leader should control the input by giving each person at the table a turn to speak, going clockwise or counterclockwise. The author is encouraged to offer his/her input. Also, the leader should prevent discussions and personal trivia that chase rabbit trails and have nothing to do with critiquing the manuscript. Then the manuscript copies are handed back to the writer. Fellowship and sharing can take place before or after the entire critiquing session is over.

6. Before dismissing, the next date for the critique meeting should be set.

7. Alternative critique plan:

If everyone in the group has email and knows how to send and receive attachments, the group can decide to send work ahead of time (at least a few days to a week) to each member of the critique group via email attachment. Then the writer critiquing the work prints it and brings the copy to the meeting where the suggestions and edits are discussed.

THE ART OF CRITIQUE:

1. It offers a chance to communicate with each other. First, tell the writer what you enjoyed about the story and its strengths. Be positive about something.

2. Then review what you think needs work. Sticky opening, weak characters, weak plot, unnatural dialogue, etc.

3. Be careful not to over-critique. Each writer has his own individual voice or style of writing. Other than correcting obvious punctuation, word usage, grammar and punctuation, try not to rewrite the work. It will then not be the original authors work. It will be yours.

4. As the author of the work, you should process the critique comments. Decide if the critique really hit home. Some writers dont change anything unless they get at least two or three comments about the same area of work. Try not to be offended. Critiquing is a valuable tool to make you a better writer.

5. Remember, you are the final judge of your work.

HAPPY WRITING AND CRITIQUING!

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Do you have a tween in your family? A friend’s tween who loves to read? Take a good look at my new book, TOMMI POCKETS:

Tommi wishes she was a boy? But why?

https://amzn.to/2Zkx48L

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Today’s Writers’ Tip

Fiction Plots

PURSUIT

Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 3 today: PURSUIT. We’ve all read books or watched movies in which someone was chasing someone else or something (an animal, hidden treasure, or even a dream), and we bit our nails and sat on the edge of our seats, wondering if our hero or heroine would ever reach the “unreachable star.”

Well, there’s a trick to writing such suspense. So let’s take a look at the defining characteristics of a Pursuit Fiction Plot:

PLOT # 3

PURSUIT

Moby Dick

Les Miserables

Sherlock Holmes

 

The first dramatic phase of the story should have three stages:

a.  the ground rules for the chase

b. the stakes involved

c. the race should begin with a motivating incident

In the pursuit plot, the chase is more important than the people who take part in it.

There has to be a real danger of the pursued getting caught.

The main character (the one pursuing) should have a fairly good chance of catching the pursued.

He might even catch the pursued momentarily.

This plot is filled with physical action.

The story and your characters must be stimulating, engaging, and unique.

The main characters and situations should be against type in order to avoid cliches.

Keep the situation as geographically confined as possible because the smaller the area for the chase, the greater the tension.

 

Are you ready to tackle a “pursuit” fiction plot? Use these guidelines, and you might have the next best seller in that subgenre.

 

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 189). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

Next time, we’ll have a look at PLOT #4: RESCUE

Happy writing!

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Make your plans now to come to the Montrose Christian Writers Conference July 22nd to the 27th (or any days you are able)

Details and registration forms soon coming to http://bit.ly/2pdcYQC soon.

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THE 2017 MCWC FACULTY SPOTLIGHT – AUTHOR CAROL WEDEVEN

Writers, do you have a picture book manuscript and you’re not sure what to do with it? Should you find an artist to do your sketches? Do you lay out the book and send a “dummy” to the publisher? Are you sure your word count is correct for the age for whom you’re writing?

Get all these questions answered at this year’s Montrose Christian Writers Conference from July 16th to the 20th. Author Carol Wedeven is moderating a morning Picture Book Work in Progress. Carol and no more than eight conferees will work on their picture book manuscripts, moving one step closer to publication. Then, in three afternoon classes (open to anyone), Carol will present the nuts and bolts of writing for children:

 Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child

If you really want to write for children, dare yourself to become the child who will be your reader. We will observe, think, feel, believe like that child until you are able to see through that child’s eyes.  As soon as you connect heart to heart, you are ready to write.  It’s guaranteed.  Interactive, hands-on handouts from tears to hilarity.

Putting Characters in Place

Pushing and pulling are allowed, encouraged, expected. What words place a main character, a secondary character or a “walk-on” in just the right space within your story’s setting?  See it happen as we choose words which either pull a main character forward or push a secondary or walk-on character toward the background where they belong.  Interactive, hands-on handouts and the final aha!

Writing for Picture: Magazine or Picture Book for Children?

You submit a picture book manuscript, but the editor calls it a short story. What’s the difference? Is it possible to craft one form then change it into the other? How? Using award-winning picture books, you will see, hear, experience, and understand the basic element which makes the difference between manuscripts for picture books and magazines. Interactive hands-on handouts. An eye-opener session!

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Carol Wedeven: author of 11 children’s books, curriculum, poetry, fillers, short stories, & drama scripts. Enjoys drama improvisation, plays with words, hosts a critique group, and mentors writers.

I look forward to seeing you in July!

Check out all the details at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Marsha, Director

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MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE MEMORIES

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IMG_9674IMG_9695Pieper.Marti.Photo.MCWC.2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Look for more MCWC photos in Facebook!

I look forward to seeing many of you again next year!

Keep on writing!

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

 

 

(More shameless promotion)

WHOLESOME, SAFE BOOKS FOR TWEENS

THE KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES

Keystone.Stables.Composite

8 exciting adventures about Skye Nicholson and her show horse, Champ

Book One

A HORSE TO LOVE

Keystone Stables Book 1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U80FZK/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

 

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May 23, 2016

 

Today’s Writers’ Tip: Writing Fiction Plots Outside the Box

Christmas.Presents

Over the years, I’ve taught different classes and courses on writing at various writers conferences, including the Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA. As of January 2015, I assumed the directorship of the conference, which is a wonderful experience for any writer at any level in his/her career. Every year there are workshops and classes presented by a faculty (this year 17) of many best-selling or award-winning authors, agents, or editors representing various genres and subgenres.

In one of my seminars for beginners, I present anything and everything from query letters and proposals to marketing yourself and your work. I also present a detailed Power Point on the good elements of fiction, including how to write “outside the box.” I thought I’d share a few of those pointers with you in this post.

First, we need to define the term “outside the box.” What in heaven’s name does that mean?

“Write outside the box.”

Well, in plain language, it means to write a plot that doesn’t have a normal humdrum boring story line.

As a short exercise in my presentation, I always cite some average boring story lines and ask my class to change the plot so that it’s outside the box. One example I cite is the following:

“A little girl finds a nest of baby bunnies in her back yard.”

Now, of course, everyone is immediately drawn to the “outside the box” famous children’s story, Alice in Wonderland, where Alice finds a whole new world, not a nest of baby bunnies.

Several years ago, I presented this workshop to a group of writers and asked how to change the story line. One fellow in the back of the room raised his hand and said, “How about if a big rabbit finds a nest of little girls in his back yard?”

I said to him, “Sir, you are DEFINITELY thinking outside the box. Go for it.”

Just for the fun of it, I’m going to list about 10 different story lines. Analyze each one. If you can change the plot to move it outside the box, do so. But some of the story lines are already outside the box and are, in fact, famous stories or books written by best-selling published authors. See if you can identify those that are already great plots.

So, which of these would you like to continue to read?

  1. A little girl saves enough money to buy a horse at auction.
  2. A bitter sea captain of a sailing ship hunts for a white sperm whale to kill him.
  3. A newly married couple tours Paris, France, and enjoys all the sites.
  4. A boy is shipwrecked on an island with only a wild stallion that won’t let him get near him.
  5. A middle-aged woman works at Wal-Mart, saving enough money to take a trip to Hawaii.
  6. A young pioneer woman is left alone on the prairie in her covered wagon when her husband falls from his horse and is killed.
  7. The neighbor’s cat has a litter of six kittens underneath a little boy’s porch.
  8. A collie dog, sold and taken away from the boy he loves, travels a long distance through life-threatening dangers to return to his boy.
  9. A young unmarried girl decides to marry her childhood sweetheart.
  10. An unmarried woman on a plantation in a southern state faces the harsh reality of post Civil War life and the loss of all she held dear.

Well, how did you do? Did you analyze the boring plots and decide what you could do to make them better? (Numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9)

And did you identify the best-selling books/movies in numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10?

MOBY DICK

THE BLACK STALLION

LOVE COMES SOFTLY

LASSIE, COME HOME

GONE WITH THE WIND

When you analyze what makes these million-dollar story lines what they are, you’ll be on your way to writing, possibly, the next great American novel. And all the while you’re writing, keep on reading. Read tons of books, especially in the subgenre in which you are writing, and learn how the masters did it. Maybe someday, your name will be on a best-seller list with the rest of them!

Happy writing!

P.S. Time to register for the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. You won’t be sorry!

Please check http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx for all the details.

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

http://www.marshahubler.com

(More shameless promotion)

ANOTHER WHOLESOME BOOK FOR TWEENS

SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS

SNOW

Dallis Parker copes with bullying at school by dreaming about owning Snow, a wild Mustang, who most folks believe doesn’t even exist. Then she actually touches the horse, and her life is changed forever.

http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Phantom-Stallion-Marsha-Hubler-ebook/dp/B013GUF078/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449523382&sr=1-1&keywords=Snow%2C+Phantom+Stallion+of+the+Poconos

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Writers! It’s Time to Register for the Montrose Christian Writers Conference!

Westcotts.+BigDuck

July 17th – 22nd (Or come for just a few days)!

Older Teens to Senior Citizens!

Come to Montrose and get your work ready to publish!

 

This Year’s Perks

  1. Build your blog or update! (3 classes or private tutoring for only $20/45 min. periods)
  2. Finally understand how to use Microsoft Word to enhance your documents. (3 classes)
  3. Attend freebie critique groups to give you invaluable advice to hone your work.
  4. Review your work privately with a faculty member. (free/15 min. periods or $40/30 min.)
  5. Read a 3-minute piece of your work to all the conferees at Writers’ Theatre.
  6. Participate in the Parade of Puppets with your puppets or dummies.
  7. Participate in the Odd Ducks’ Dilemma, a quiz program similar to Jeopardy.

Just Starting to Write?

Attend the Inspiration and Perspiration classes with Roseanna White to learn where to start.

Wanna Self Publish? Don't.Stop.Believing

Attend 3 classes to find out just how to do it.

Wanna Publish Your Poetry?

Sign up for the work-in-progress seminar with award winning poet Shirley Stevens or attend her 3 classes during the week.

Is My Romance Novel Good Enough?

Find out by signing up for the work-in-progress seminar with award winning novelist Gayle Roper.

Walk.w.Joan.and.Faith.at.MontroseCan’t Attend All the Classes?

Purchase any or all the recorded sessions for a reasonable price.

 

PLUS over 40 classes that present everything from public speaking to editing your own work to marketing and promotion.

I’d love to see you there in July!

For more details, go to http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Looking forward to meeting and greeting you on July 17th!

 

 

(More shameless promotion)

SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS

Dallis Parker copes with bullying at school by dreaming about owning Snow, a wild Mustang, who most folks believe doesn’t even exist. Then she actually touches the horse, and her life is changed forever.

http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Phantom-Stallion-Marsha-Hubler-ebook/dp/B013GUF078/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449523382&sr=1-1&keywords=Snow%2C+Phantom+Stallion+of+the+Poconos

 

SNOW

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