Tuesday, January 6, 2015

3 COMMON MISTAKES IN WRITING CHILDREN'S FICTION








If I were to fill a room with 100 writers and asked them what they thought was the biggest mistake newbies make when writing children's fiction, I feel certain at least 99 of them would say something along the lines of SHOW, DON'T TELL! But since most of us, if we hang around the writing community long enough, have it drilled into our brains that our books should show every nuance of our story, not bore our readers by vomiting back story, I think I will focus on three other areas where newer writers might also make mistakes in their stories.

TRYING TO FORCE A RHYME


I'm occasionally guilty of this one just as much as the next writer. I'll have what I consider a gem of a story idea, yet when I sit down at my computer, I try to become the next Shakespeare and write a sonnet when a simple story line will do. I've even submitted a few of my rhyming stories to critique groups. While I've always been told my rhyme is usually spot on, my meter and cadence lacks a certain strength to be able to resonate with my potential readers. That disappoints me because I enjoy writing some of my stories in rhyme but I'm honest enough with myself NOT to try to submit a rhyming story that I KNOW it will only cast a shadow on my overall skill as writer. Unless you are an exceptionally skilled writer when it comes to rhythm and rhyme, I would suggest either take a few courses first to strengthen your skills or stick to prose.


FORGETTING TO TELL PART OF THE STORY


Have you ever opened your eyes in the morning and rushed to write down a dream you thought would make a fabulous story? I'm raising my hand here because it happens to me quite often. I can see my main character clearly, can describe everything about them down to the color of their shoelaces and my fingers will fly across the keyboard as I rush to get this Pulitzer Prize winning story down. In reality, I might have made mistake number two in writing children's fiction. In today's world of children's literature, a story not only has to have a beginning, middle, and an end...it has to show there has been some sort of monumental growth or change to the main character. My story might have described the perfect scenario but if I haven't shown my main character's new level of maturity or some kind of an emotional epiphany, I've left my readers slightly disappointed and potentially uninterested in reading any more of my work.


OPENING THE WRONG CURTAIN

Have you ever watched the Price Is Right where a contestant had to choose between two sets of curtains? One might have an old sofa behind it and the other one a luxury cruise to the Bahamas. Opening the right curtain fills the contestant with a sense of wonder while opening the wrong curtain leaves a bad taste in their mouth. It's the same with writing stories. Never leave your reader hanging or confused unless you are writing Book One of a series. You might have the most compelling plot and the most riveting main character ever created, but if you don't give your readers a surprise ending, you might have failed in your chance to build a connection with them. Whether it's funny, or sad, or thought provoking...the right ending is like the frosting on the cake. It's something readers will want to come back to taste again and again if done correctly.

Remember, most writers have made these common mistakes and many more. When it is YOUR turn, just learn to correct them before you send your stories out into the world and let everyone see them shine!

I hope you learned something new today and be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post in my month long celebration!

You can preorder my book, THE STORY CATCHER, now through Amazon, www.amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble, www.barnesandnoble.com. It is available in both ebook and print copies. Here is the book blurb and book trailer.






Blurb:
  
Addie comes from a long line of readers, or "story catchers," as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.
 

Trailer:




6 comments:

  1. I'm really loving all your great tips. Especially when they relate to the children's stories as it is something I am interested in learning more about and perhaps even attempting myself in the future.

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    1. HI Joss! I'm glad you are enjoying these posts. You might want to search my archives for my WRITERLY WISDOM series. It was a weekly post from authors, agents, and publishers sharing from why even become a writer all the way to how to promote your book once it's published. You might find it helpful...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    1. Lol...great at what, Erik? Making those kind of mistakes? You would be right, but I try not to do it too often...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  3. You have an informative site, Donna. Thanks for offering some helpful tips!

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    1. Hi Sharon and welcome to my blog! Thank you for your kind words. If you get the chance, look around and especially research the archives for my WRITERLY WISDOM series for a lot more tips...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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