Five Tips On Editing A Children’s Book

Have you written a children’s bookediting a children's book?

Writing a children’s book is probably one of the most fun and exciting things that you can do as a writer. You get to create a book that will help to mold a child’s thoughts, which is definitely a huge deal when our children are our future. However, as exciting as that may be, it is a job that requires a lot of forethought to ensure that the story is well suited to the impressionable minds of children. In this blog post, we will give a few tips on editing a children’s book so that your book will be a great success.

Editing a Children’s Book

Below are five tips to help you while editing a children’s book, or when you’re selecting a children’s book editor.

Tip #1

The first thing you need to do when editing a book meant for children is to remember the audience. Children should only read age appropriate materials and as such, it is important that you carefully examine the actual story for elements that may seem inappropriate or too adult-like in nature. If there is any adult content, it can easily be cut down or removed without much loss to the actual storyline.

Tip #2

Another tip that you should remember when editing is to make sure that every word that is written should contribute to the plot or character development. This means that if there is any frilly writing that is unnecessary, it should be cut out. This only hampers the story and you have to remember that children get distracted easily. So, make sure that your writing is to the point and moves easily from one scene to the other.

Tip #3

Next, you should make sure that each of the characters in the book have their own distinctive voice. This is a typical problem that most novelists go through, and it is essential that it is quickly identified and fixed. That last thing you want is to have two or more characters who sound like the same person as this makes the story quite boring and unbelievable. Every person is an individual and in order to keep your reader’s interest, it is important that each character is interesting in their own individual way. This also helps the reader to become more engaged and attached to the different characters in your story which separates an okay book from a great book.

Tip #4

Most writers love the written word and generally love describing things. This is essential in order for the reader to create a picture in their minds while reading, however, too much of a good thing is bad! When there are overly long paragraphs describing a scene, it can quickly become tedious to read. Therefore as an editor, it will be your job to identify and cut down on any verbose descriptions that bore the reader or are simply unnecessary.

Tip #5

Lastly, make sure to pay attention to the tense being used throughout the story and be sure to keep it consistent. You definitely don’t want to be switching tenses from one paragraph to the next so be sure to keep your tenses consistent.

In conclusion

So, there you have it, five tips on editing a children’s book that will help make your book the best version of itself and a huge success. If you decide to publish your children’s book as a print book on Amazon, using the CreateSpace platform, or if you go the ebook route with the Amazon Kindle KDP program, your readers will love your book more when you take the time to have it edited professionally.

Scene Transitions and Story Themes

Writing Fiction? What You Need To Know About Creating a Story Theme and Believable Scene Transitions

Scene Transitions and Story Themes

What do you think is the story theme for this picture?

It’s wonderful that you have these characters talking in your head about some problem that only you, the author, can provide solutions for, but before you get too far into the throes of writing that manuscript, have you determined the theme for your story?

What is a Story Theme and Why Is It Important?

If you’ve taken any writing courses, your instructor probably talked about the story problem. What’s the major problem in the story that your main character has to overcome before the book reaches its final conclusion? Sound familiar? Maybe not.

A story theme is not a story problem. Let me explain. A story theme is the purpose and message that you want your readers to understand. This is accomplished by the way you set up your plot and the types of characters you create to tell the story. As a writer, you might have started this novel’s writing journey by coming up with an idea, and the more you thought about that idea, you began to create the foundation for your story. Basically, a story’s theme is defined by what you show your reader as an observation or philosophy of the human condition. That is the story’s theme.

The Wizard of Oz and the Story Theme

Have you ever seen the movie, The Wizard of Oz, or read the book? It is driven by the story’s problem that the author presents as the theme. Dorothy’s problem is that she’s in the Land of Oz, and she wants to get home, but she doesn’t know what to do to get back home. After she begins her adventure and goes through lots of trials, what she learns about herself is that she really doesn’t want to run away from the home where she grew up with such a loving family. That’s when the story’s theme becomes apparent when she finally decides “There’s no place like home.”

What are Scene Transitions, and Why Must They Be Believable?

First, let’s define a scene transition. A scene transition takes the reader from a scene in one specific location and time into another scene, another location, and possibly a significant passage of time. Scene transitions also can and usually do involve emotional changes for the main character, the villain, or any supporting characters.

The best way to think about scene transitions is to link the old with the new. To help you understand this better, think about one of your favorite movies. If you can play it back in your mind, you will note when one scene ends and another one begins. For example, if a loud pounding noise of a wrecking ball in a building’s demolition transitions from that scene to the crashing of symbols in an orchestra’s soundtrack where the heroine is on stage, you have thus experienced a believable scene transition.

You can transition from one scene to another through sound, or through a segue of actions between or among various characters. You can easily conjure up hundreds of ways for smooth scene transitions. Achieving the world of believability for your reader demands that the scene transitions appear natural, sequential, emotional, and make the reader want to continue to turn the pages to find out what happens next.

As an Editor, these are the most typical errors I see when authors create scene transitions

The goal of every editing and proofreading company that provides services to writers is to help them along the journey of writing successful materials, and to save the writer from years of agonizing rejections. I’ll give you my secret sauce after presenting you with two examples: the good and the not-so-good scene transition.

Example of a not-so-good scene transition

Sarah sat on the top step of the stairway that led to her brownstone apartment in Manhattan. She was bent over, crying, as the torrential rain and wind blew her hair sideways.

“How could he do that to me?” she bemoaned and cried even louder.

Three weeks later, Sarah was serving donuts to a silver-haired woman who stared silently at the shimmering coffee in her beige mug cradled in her shaking hands.

STOP! Hopefully, even though you don’t know what this story is about, you should be able to quickly see that the transition between these two scenes was not only unnatural and not believable, but as a reader, it would make me wonder if pages of the manuscript had been tossed in the shredder. Why? The transition created confusion in my mind as to what was happening in the story. I truly wanted to know what happened to our girl who was crying. Would you agree?

An example of a sweet and lovely scene transition that is (in my opinion) totally believable

Miranda had created her online Etsy store, which advertised all her knitted fingerless gloves in the Seahawks colors. She was hopeful that with all the photos, descriptions, and pricing research she had done that a lot of people would buy her handmade gloves.

She truly wanted to buy her son a Christmas gift, and selling homemade items online was her only hope for generating an income after their home had burned to the ground last month. It took Miranda a long time to get to sleep that night, but she prayed for a miracle…not for herself, but for her son.

Miranda stirred nervously in bed as the sun beamed its rays onto her face in the early morning hours. Her first thought was to run to her laptop in the kitchen to see if she had sold at least one pair of her knitted gloves.

So? What do you think after reading both examples? Can you see the correct way to handle a scene transition?

My Secret Sauce for Creating Believable Scene Transitions

Here’s that secret sauce I promised to reveal earlier. The best way to wow your readers and create a bestselling novel is to play the scenes like a movie in your head. If that thought troubles you, then think of your fiction writing, scene-by-scene, as if you were watching a play, in real life, on stage.

If a specific number of characters were on stage for one scene, would the next scene still have several characters standing in the same place as when the previous scene ended? Of course, the answer is no. Most likely, the lights would be dimmed, the curtain would close, the sets would be changed, and new actors would be standing in place when the lights came back on and the curtain rose.

Do you see where these examples can be used in your fiction writing?

Leave me a comment below. I answer all questions. Thanks

 

 

Planning Your Writing and Editing Projects for 2015

Before you can make plans for your editing projects in 2015, it’s important to quickly review what happened in your life in 2014. I know you might not want to review all these details now, but since history is known to repeat itself, if you have areas in your life that you want to change in 2015, it’s important to take a quick look back.

2014: A quick review of your writing and editing projects

By writing your answers to the following statements and questions, you will quickly get an idea of who you were in 2014 and what you might need to work on or erase from your 2015 agenda.

Name three of the biggest lessons you learned in 2014 after having your documents edited.

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Name two writing accomplishments that you’re really proud of from the year 2014.

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In the area of your personal life or your business life, name three tasks that were extremely easy for you to complete during 2014 that involved either the writing or edit process.

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2.

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What three things or areas of your writing life were the most frustrating during 2014?

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Thinking of all the writing activities you were involved in during 2014, name your top five revenue-producing areas that you’d like to stay involved with during 2015.

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Thinking of the last question, which two activities do you NOT want to be involved with during 2015?

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If you had to cut down on your writing or editing expenses for 2015, which 2014 expenses could you easily eliminate? (Personal or professional)

 

 

Taking Inventory of Where You Are Right Now

By looking at what you’re doing right now at the end of 2014, provide answers to the following questions.

During a normal twenty-four hour day, how much time do you spend on your writing and editing, and how much time do you spend doing other things?

(These things would include time driving for appointments, reading and answering email, cooking, cleaning, shopping, watching TV, texting, surfing, reading, or talking on the phone, etc. Briefly list all those things where you knowingly spend time.)

 

Jot down any activities that you could spend less time on or eliminate as you contemplate a more successful, fulfilling, and relaxing year in 2015.

2015 planning for writing and editing projects

 

Planning for 2015 – The Fun Part

Could you plan to spend less time on a few minor activities to allow room for a new business or hobby that will increase your income?

 

Name them.

 

Which five things would you like more of during 2015?

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5.

 

What is your word for 2015? Write it down in your calendar and make a note of all those times when you see that word (on a sign, in email, on a billboard, in a book, etc.).

(Think: prosperity, obedient, loving, kind, generous, and giving)

 

 

 

What are your income goals from your writing for 2015? Are they the same as 2014?

 

 Goal Planning

Do you need to make changes to your income goals to make prosperity more prominent in your life so you can share your profits and time with others?

 

Are goals important to you? Why or why not?

 

Are you planning to go on vacation in 2015? Create a milestone calendar and jot down possible dates.

 

On a 2015 calendar, get the important goals and target dates notated on your calendar. Then plan ahead. What steps will you take to meet your milestone for goal #1, goal #2, vacation days, etc.?

 

Summary for a Prosperous 2015

By making plans now, you’ll reap the rewards later. I’ve found that when I put something down in writing and then list events, tasks, and goals on my calendar, those items get done more often than if I just talked about what I wanted to do in the new year.

Feel free to list some of those things you’re planning on for 2015.

If you could say one thing to your editor, what would it be? Describe it in a sentence.

 

Candace, Contributing Editor

 

When to query

Are you wondering whether or not you should send out query letters in December? After all, if this is a busy holiday time for the average person, it is just as busy for agents. This means that they are feeling as stressed, frazzled, and exhausted as the rest of us–and that may not be the best frame of mind for a potential agent who is deciding your future. Then again, maybe your would-be agent is not feeling harried at all because the agency is closed for the holidays. What does this mean for you and your manuscript?

 

Does the holiday spirit extend to writers and agents?

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Healthy tips for computer users

What seems like a lifetime ago, after I finished writing my first novel, I drove to a neighboring city to buy a manuscript box, fussed with the papers, folders, and labels, then took my precious package to the post office, where I was provided with a dilapidated old box that looked like it had been hauled out of a dumpster.

Believe me when I say that I am so grateful for the advances in technology! Gone are the days of callused fingers, ink smears, and snail mail. However, we now have a new litany of concerns and precautions. Whether you are writing a dissertation, a novel, a science article, or a college essay, you’re likely spending a lot of time at the computer. If you are a willing slave to technology, as I am, take some simple steps to ensure that you receive all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks.

Even the most comfortable positions can do more harm than good.

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Tips to improve your young children’s story: The basics

In many ways, writing a story for young children can be more difficult than writing for an older crowd. Not only do you need to restrict your word count, but you also need to use fairly basic language and find your inner child. If that weren’t enough, you have to make sure that the prose sounds pretty. The task is not insurmountable, though–just challenging! Follow these tips, and you will be on the road to success.

Requirements are high for the discerning audience.

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Submission Tips

The relationship between a writer and an editor is precious; you are trusting us with your thoughts, ideas, and creative style. You are counting on us to find the missteps, improve the structure, and offer a solid evaluation. As with any relationship, incorrect assumptions–from the writer or the editor–can result in disappointment at best, and catastrophe at worst. In contrast, knowing the expectations can lead to a smooth, advantageous relationship.

The right expectations can lead to a satisfying relationship.

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Tips for effective comma use

Commas: we either love them or hate them. Unfortunately, comma use is not a ‘take it or leave it’ issue. Although some people would love to litter their sentences incessantly with commas and others would love to never see a comma again, accurate writers do not usually have the luxury of choice. Commas serve specific purposes; to disregard those grammatical purposes for the pleasure of our personal desires only invites confusion.

The comma battle–it doesn’t have to be like this!  

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Get It Right in 2014—Grammar Tips for Success

Happy New Year! What better way to start the year than to make sure that those nasty little grammar missteps are banished for good? (I suppose that there are some better ways to start the year, such as striking it rich or finding your true love, but this is a close runner-up.) For this special New Year’s Day (or day after…), I wanted to offer something special that could relate to a variety of writing disciplines and be applied throughout the year. So this blog is devoted to the parts of speech—not the boring basics, but the annoying little particulars that plague people who want to get it right.

Defeating your grammatical worries can be cause for celebration.

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Ways to develop strong characters

Whether they love to love them or love to hate them, readers connect to characters. If you want your fiction to shine, your characters must be believable. You can’t accomplish this while you’re writing, though; you have to do some homework first! Before you start writing a novel or short story, you need to know your main characters through and through. I’m not referring to the basics: good guy or bad guy, hair color, best friend, goal in life, and so forth. That’s just fluff. You should know where your character has been, and why he does what he does. If you take the time to know your characters on a very real level, that intimacy and depth will show in your writing.

Get to know your character. Continue Reading