Sharing a few inspiring snippets that I stumbled across this week National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts later this week, so most of my thoughts are focused on writing, not drawing.
A list from Tara Lazar of the good stuff that gets kids excited. Stuck for inspiration ? Here’s a jumpstart.
Relevant to any storytelling experience: picture books, short stories, chapter books and novels.
- Can you sum up your story in a sentence? Can a reader?
- Is your first sentence or paragraph a grabber?
- Does the story start in the right place? Starting too early means the beginning will be dull; start too late and the story won’t make sense.
- Does every sentence serve a purpose? Does it advance the plot, explain character or create atmosphere? (Ideally, all three!) If it does none of these, what’s your justification for keeping it?
- Does every scene have a purpose? Does it advance the story? If not, why is it there?
- Does every chapter end in a way that makes the reader want to turn the page?
Eliot Schrefer (moderator), Brooks Sherman, Kass Morgan, Alvina Ling, and Cheryl Klein, executive editor at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. Klein distills her inside knowledge of what makes a great kids’ or YA title in ‘The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults.’ She is joined by a panel of fellow editors, agents, and authors to discuss the ins and outs of the industry, from what they look for in a manuscript to how to get the word out about a finished title.
Hannah Holt published the findings of her very limited survey, but also compared it to Publishers Marketplace.
” When I checked Publishers Marketplace, there were 3,826 deals for picture books, 3,029 deals for middle grade, 4,790 for young adult and…178 deals for chapter books. Chapter books made up only 1.5% of reported Publishers Marketplace deals for children’s books”
Findings from Hannah’s Survey:
- Word count varied from 5,000 words to 40,000 words, with an average (mean) of 17,200 and a median word count of 8,500.
- ALL of the chapter books in the survey were published as part of a series. There were no stand alone titles.
- ALL of the authors wrote in other genres.
- ALL but one of the authors tried to establish themselves in one genre before breaking into something new.