Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sprinkle a Few Sparkles Here and There

Jill McDougal has written over a hundred books for children. I found her to be quite informative and fun. I hope you enjoy her article on how to put that special something in your story.

Writing for Children – Add a Sprinkle of Sparkle

It's your worst nightmare. The editor at Blockbuster Publishing has sent you an email. She's read your manuscript and she likes it but there's one small problem (and this is where you stop breathing), your story needs more ... sparkle.

Your heart sinks to your toes.

If only the editor had asked for something else. Anything else. More words. Less words. Words without the letter 'e'. But asking for sparkle is like asking for a bag of fairy dust.

In my role as a writing tutor, I've read thousands of manuscripts and I'd say that sparkle is the element that writers find most elusive. A story can be competent, readable, even clever but in a competitive market, sparkle is the magic ingredient that will attract an editor.

There's no recipe for sparkle but if you want to put an extra coat of gloss on your story, try this:

First save a new copy of your story - a copy that you will work on for this exercise. That way you'll feel relaxed about making a ton of changes. You can always go back to your old sparkle-free version later. (Yeah, right.)


First read your story out loud. Don't just mumble it to yourself. Stand up and make your delivery as entertaining as possible. Pretend you're reading an excerpt at your book launch. There are some sentences, paragraphs and whole scenes that you know the audience will love, right? Gems that will have them giggling, or sighing or leaning forward in their seats. When you get to these engaging passages, colour them bright orange (use a highlighter).

There are also some bits of your story where the writing is flatter or the scene less interesting. Bits that might have your audience gazing at the freckle on your nose or wondering about Aunt Clara's recipe for tomato bisque. Be honest - you know there are. These are the ho-hum bits you'd prefer to rush over or skip altogether. Colour these parts blue.

To find out why go here to read the rest of the article.

Jill has written over a hundred books for children. You can find more writing tips at
Article Source:

Write it down,