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, September 23, 2022

Senior /Youth Schlarships for Writers’ Conference to Close

New Voices in Writing Scholarship Fund launches for writers 16-25 and over 60

More about the Blogger


 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 of books for writers including the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), now offered in its third edition by Modern History Press. Carolyn's latest is in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. She has two booklets in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series, both in their second editions from Modern History Press. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and The Great First Impression Book Proposal (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://bit.ly/FrugalEditor), now in its second edition, is the winningest book in the series. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them 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 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 for news on her new releases direct from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Is Your Children's Story Meant to Be a Book?

 


By Karen Cioffi

As a children’s author, ghostwriter, and coach, I’ve only seen one story that couldn’t be tweaked, nudged, shaken, or even deconstructed and reconstructed into a publishable story.

The concept and author of that one book were, well, not quite all there. Dealing with so many clients, I’m surprised I’ve only had one so far.

Aside from that, though, most stories or drafts can be magically turned into something an author will be proud to be author of.

A big problem I see is that new authors sometimes don’t know what a publishable story is.

But, wait a minute …

Let me clarify what I mean about a publishable book, because today, any story can be published, whether a poorly written or well written story.

When I use the term “publishable,” I’m talking about a book that meets the standard children’s U.S. publishing guidelines.

Three of the top mistakes I see that would warrant taking another stab at your story or demolishing it and starting over are:

1. The point-of-view

You’re writing a picture book or chapter book and have more than one point-of-view (POV).

This can happen when you have two or more main characters in your story, or it can occur if you have head-hopping in your story.

Let’s go back a step and define POV. Every story has to be told from someone’s perspective. In other words, who is the story about?

It’s essential in young children’s writing that you clearly define who the protagonist (main character) is. And, there should only be one.

Jerry Jenkins, the author of over 190 books, says he avoids slipping into an omniscient viewpoint “by imagining my Point of View or Perspective Character as my camera—I’m limited to writing only what my character ‘camera’ sees, hears, and knows.”

So, POV is a critical element of your story. Check to make sure you have only one POV and it’s that of the protagonist.

Head-hopping is slipping from one character’s POV to another within the same page, paragraph, or sentence.

In the example below, Tommy is the protagonist:

Tommy dug his cleats in. He raised the bat to his shoulder. A second later, he watched the ball heading toward him . . . like a torpedo out of its tube. Without blinking, he swung the bat. CRRAACCK. Stunned, he dropped the bat and ran. Did . . . did I just hit the ball.

“Pete,” said Jim with a nudge, “you see that. I didn’t think he’d hit that ball—it came so fast.” Jim threw a pretend pitch. “Look at him running round the bases.”

The second paragraph in the example is a no-no. It brings Jim’s perspective into the story since Tommy couldn’t see or hear him.

Tommy is the protagonist and must know what’s going on in the story, or it can’t be in the story.

This could be rewritten, though:

Tommy dug his cleats in. He raised the bat to his shoulder. A second later he watched the ball heading toward him . . . like a torpedo out of it tube. Without blinking he swung the bat. CRRAACCK. Stunned, he dropped the bat and ran. Did . . . did I just hit the ball.

When Tommy raced to home plate, he heard Jim yelling, “I didn’t think he’d hit that ball—it came so fast.”

Now it’s all from Tommy’s point of view.

2. Adults save the day.

Children want to read about children. They want the protagonist to solve his own problem.

While parents or other adults in a story can be a support system, their involvement needs to be minimal. The young protagonist needs to come up with the solution to her problem.

Using “Stephanie’s Ponytail” by Robert Munsch, Stephanie wants to be unique. Here’s how the story starts:

“One day, Stephanie went to her mom and said, ‘None of the kids in my class have a ponytail. I want a nice ponytail coming right out the back.’”

The problem, though, is the day after Stephanie comes in with that particular ponytail, all the girls in her class have it. So, each day she tells her mother to create another specific kind of ponytail. The day after each new ponytail, the class copies her.

At the end, Stephanie comes up with a clever and funny idea that cures the class of copying her.

While the mother is involved in the story, it’s Stephanie who comes up with all the ideas. And it’s Stephanie who solves the problem.

3. Jumping in without learning how to swim first.

You’ve wanted to write a children’s book for years. You have tons of ideas, and you’ve even written a couple down. It’s gotten to a point where you can’t wait any longer; you put one of your ideas into a story.

You type or write away and finally, you have your story, and it seems great.

-Picture books can be 10 pages, right?
-You ‘kind of’ draw, so you can create your own illustrations, right?
-You have a couple of rhymes here and there, so that’s good, right?

While you may have a great story idea, standard picture books are usually 32 pages, and of those pages, 24-26 are for story and illustrations. Unless you’re a professional illustrator, you shouldn’t create your own illustrations. And, either you’ve written a rhyming story or not.

There are lots of other elements that you need to be aware of before jumping in to write a publishable book.

So, there you have it, three top children’s writing mistakes.

If I were to give a number 4, it would be that you have TOO much showing in the story. If I were to offer a number 5, it would be that you’re trying to knock the young reader over his head with the moral of the story.

Hope these tips help you when you sit down to write your story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move and an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Karen’s children’s books include “Walking Through Walls” and “The Case of the Stranded Bear.” She also has a DIY book, “How to Write Children’s Fiction Books.” You can check them out at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/. If you need help with your children’s story, visit: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com.  

-----

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.  

-----

MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER 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 of books for writers including the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), now offered in its third edition by Modern History Press. Carolyn's latest is in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. She has two booklets in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series, both in their second editions from Modern History Press. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and The Great First Impression Book Proposal (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://bit.ly/FrugalEditor), now in its second edition, is the winningest book in the series. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them 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 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 for news on her new releases direct from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Royals, Monarchs, Kings, and Queens Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Royals, Monarchs, Kings, and Queens Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Royals, Monarchs, Kings, and Queens Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers 


What else could be on our minds but the history being shown on television around the world now, with the passing of the longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth? She reigned for 70 years, 7 months and 2 days before her death on the 8th of September, 2022, as we all know. Many people have traveled to London, many have met the Queen there or in another country, and many feel as though she was almost Queen of the world. So, I hope the PDF pages will inspire some writing to mark this historic time. This time, the images are all different. Some have text prompts and some do not. 

The pages with text prompts revolve around recent history. 

The pages with text prompts revolve around recent history.

The picture prompts are more general. 

Royals, Monarchs, Kings, and Queens Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Royals make the news from time to time. In Thailand, the Economist magazine is banned whenever it criticizes the King. He does have an "interesting" life. The Japanese princess and other royals have moved to the USA. There are many topics that could provoke thoughtful writing pieces. 

We are still going through so many changes at our house, and I am still short on time. It is a tough time for me, but I did want to post the PDF today. Please look over the PDF and see if anything strikes your fancy as a writing prompt. 

Thank you, 

Carolyn Wilhelm


MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER 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 of books for writers including the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), now offered in its third edition by Modern History Press. Carolyn's latest is in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. She has two booklets in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series, both in their second editions from Modern History Press. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and The Great First Impression Book Proposal (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://bit.ly/FrugalEditor), now in its second edition, is the winningest book in the series. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them 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 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 for news on her new releases direct from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

Royals, Monarchs, Kings, and Queens Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Links to the full list of past writing downloads, below.

The prompts are on Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Sharing with Writers and Readers Blog and post the 15th of each month. 

Adding Color Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Camping Writing Prompts  post and free instant download

Comedy Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Cyber Crime Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Fantasy Writing Prompts post and free instant download

February Days Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Halloween and October Writing Prompts  post and free instant download

Historical Fiction Writing Prompts  post and free instant download

January Any Year Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Lighthouses through Life post and free instant download

Magical and Magical Realism Writing Prompts post and free instant download

March Days Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Motherhood and May Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Music Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Mystery and Thriller Writing Prompts post and free instant download

November and Fall Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Pandemic People Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Road Trip Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Royals, Monarchs, Kings, and Queens Prompts post and free instant download

Social Media Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Summer Evenings Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Traveling Abroad Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Twitter Writing Prompts  post and free instant download

Western Romance Picture Only Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Women Theme Writing Prompts post and free instant download

What if? Writing Prompts post and free instant download

You might also like the following writing prompt freebies on the Wise Owl Factory blog.

14 Quick Writes or Flash Fiction Animal Theme Prompts Free



Sunday, September 04, 2022

Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Ah, the "fun" of moving and related efforts such as garage sales, junk haulers, storage spaces, realtors, packing, making decisions, with headaches trying to keep a clean house during the selling period. So, we just moved (which is why this post is late) without moving. That is, we moved upstairs in our house so our daughter could move in downstairs (to help us old folks out). We called 1800GOTJUNK three times, and could call again. Our timeline was so fast, 21 days for all this to happen, for no other reason that we wanted to beat the Minnesota winter. No one wants to move during winter in Minnesota, so houses tend to sit and wait for more pleasant temperatures. Once the decision was made, we sprang into action. No garage sale! No time! Take things to Goodwill and CROSS. Call the junk people as they do try to re-home furniture and are as green as possible about what they collect. Charities wanted the furniture on the driveway, and once there, have the right of refusal. We could not carry it out ourselves. And then interior painting, rug cleaning, professional cleaning, insect company on the outside of the house, window washing . . . with everyone wanting to start at 8 AM. My headache hasn't quit. I anticipate a possible deep breath in the coming days.

Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Everything ready, the water main flooded. It was too late to cancel the movers so it was out of our hands. Our daughter had to unzip two dividers to get to her bedroom. At least the restoration company machines are gone. Some sheetrock has to be repaired and so on, so all three of her closets are not useable yet. "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry," as Robert Burns said. 

Most people have moved at some point in their lives. So these writing prompts are for moving in general. As always, six have pictures and text to start the writing thinking, and six are picture only. A coloring page for any children who may be in attendance is included, unless you happen to have an empty moving box they could play with. 


This prompt is: We had little idea we would be needing a moving van so soon. Everything happened so fast. Or, creative thinkers could use the picture only page. 
Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

A deadline helped. How else could we be motivated to deal with everything like garage sales, cleaning, staging, and finding a realtor?

 

Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

After traveling for months, we had little to begin our life in our new place. It was a little more minimal than minimalism.

Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Curb appeal? We have to add curb appeal at this point in time? Can’t the new owners take care of that?

Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

Oh, there were a few boxes we forgot to label, such as one marked underwear. (Yes, this really happened.)

Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers

I had forgotten how much fun kids have playing in boxes. That helped provide some unpacking time for me!

Moving Houses Free Writing Prompts for Writing Groups and Teachers


Better days are coming! I hope for the whole world! 


Links to the full list of past writing downloads, below.

The prompts are on Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Sharing with Writers and Readers Blog and post the 15th of each month. 

Adding Color Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Camping Writing Prompts  post and free instant download

Comedy Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Cyber Crime Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Fantasy Writing Prompts post and free instant download

February Days Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Halloween and October Writing Prompts  post and free instant download

Historical Fiction Writing Prompts  post and free instant download

January Any Year Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Lighthouses through Life post and free instant download

Magical and Magical Realism Writing Prompts post and free instant download

March Days Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Motherhood and May Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Music Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Mystery and Thriller Writing Prompts post and free instant download

November and Fall Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Pandemic People Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Road Trip Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Royals, Monarchs, Kings, and Queens Prompts post and free instant download

Social Media Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Summer Evenings Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Traveling Abroad Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Twitter Writing Prompts  post and free instant download

Western Romance Picture Only Writing Prompts post and free instant download

Women Theme Writing Prompts post and free instant download

What if? Writing Prompts post and free instant download

You might also like the following writing prompt freebies on the Wise Owl Factory blog.

14 Quick Writes or Flash Fiction Animal Theme Prompts Free



MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER 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 of books for writers including the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), now offered in its third edition by Modern History Press. Carolyn's latest is in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. She has two booklets in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series, both in their second editions from Modern History Press. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and The Great First Impression Book Proposal (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://bit.ly/FrugalEditor), now in its second edition, is the winningest book in the series. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them 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 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 for news on her new releases direct from Amazon at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.