About SharingwithWriters Blog


Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please join the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

Friday, June 21, 2024

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.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

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.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

ANNOUNCING THE TALES2INSPIRE® 2024 NO FEE CONTEST

Tales2Inspire 2024
___________________________________________________________________________

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: 

Website: https://www.tales2Inspire.com 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tales2inspire

Twitter: www.twitter.com/tales2inspire2


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

_____________________________________________________________

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.

CLAUDIA headshot
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
.


SERVICES

* To learn about our creative marketing solutions, CLICK HERE.

* 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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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.


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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.