Thursday, March 19, 2009

Seven Ways To Craft a Children's Story From Good to Great!

1. Do not under estimate the power of a single word:
Every sentence needs to be peppered with strong words or at least have one. Not only the strongest but the right one. Strong verbs add credibility and specifics. Example: Tiger Woods roared into the Masters Picture…

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2. Story Movement:
When characters are going from place to place, get them there with minimum interruption. Don’t break the flow of movement with too many thoughts. You can pause the movement at various points. Remember the objective is to get your characters to a destination.

3. Back-story:
Back-story should be woven in small snippets. Don’t stop the flow to tell readers too much about WHY something is going on. Be brief

4. Description:
Weather, emotions, rooms, types of clothes a character wears and such things will add depth to a story, but too much clutters up a storyline, stops the flow of the plot. Don’t make the surroundings more important than the storyline.

5. Motive:
When you have a character do something without showing the reader why, this can make the character appear out of pace with the story. Readers can’t identify with the action unless a motive is shown.

6. Emotional scenes:
Once a character connects with their emotions give your readers enough information to feel character’s emotions. This can be done by revealing snippets of back-story and motive. Also using humor and hyperbole work well.

7. Less is more:
Remove unnecessary words and replace them with a powerful word or two that conveys the message. For example:

My mother was a witch.
It was cancer.

Less is best here because less is strong. The sparseness packs a punch. Two powerful lines using the “to be” verb are very effective. Readers remember the effect before they remember the line.

If you would like more detail you may reference Word Magic for Writers by Cindy Rogers, Children’s Writers Word Book by Alijandra Magilner & Tayopa Magilner, and The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Write it down,