Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting Ready for the Editor? Polish your Story to Perfection


Let’s imagine you’ve worked tirelessly on your children’s story, but it still seems like something is lacking. How can you make it spectacular? You’ll need to check sentence structure, along with other essentials. Have you used the same word repeatedly? Did you use proper grammar?

How can you revise your story so that you convey your message in the best possible way? Let’s explore some common mistakes are remedies.

Does your opening make your young readers want to keep reading? This is vital to your success because young readers will put your book down if you haven’t written an opening that captures their interest. You want them to be riveted to your story and anxious to know what happens next, or the book will just become a dust collector. In order to accomplish this you might use a question, or other interesting dialogue, for instance.


·        Check for sentence fragments: These are partial sentences because they don’t express a complete thought. An example would be: Because I rode my horse.  If you’re asking yourself what happened when you rode your horse it would mean you didn’t finish the thought properly.

·        Too many qualifiers? These are words that are not necessary. It’s easy to include words like very, and little, but you can edit them out and create a higher quality story.

·        Run-on sentences:  These are sentences which lack a conjunction to connect them properly.  For example: I went skiing hurt my leg went to the doctor. One correction would be: I hurt my leg when I went skiing and had to go to the doctor.

·        Did you include enough conflict? In order to create an outstanding children’s story, you need a problem to solve. This is also called conflict. Additionally, your main character must be involved so that he or she matures during the story, or overcomes an obstacle. Let’s imagine that Kara wants to perform in the school play, but she’s too shy to audition. Her mom realizes this, and urges the teacher to suggest that Kara be encouraged to try out for a part. In this case, even if Kara finally auditions, it’s not the best solution, because Kara didn’t solve the dilemma herself.

·        Did you use dialogue that helps your story advance? Lively dialog certainly helps make your story more interesting to your young readers. But be sure that your dialogue has a purpose. Be sure it’s relevant to the plot.

·        Does your ending tie in to the rest of the story well? You need an ending that sums up your story perfectly. Maybe you’ll mention things that the main characters have accomplished.  For example, here are some excerpts from the ending of Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes:

That’s right, Hattie. I surprised myself by being good at coaching. I never would have known that if we hadn’t tried it,” said Charlene.


“I might have only been a fuzzy sheep if I hadn’t been part of your team. I’m a good coach and I’ve even opened my first lemonade stand,” added Wooliam.

·        Finally, be sure you proofread your work carefully. You want to present nothing less than your best effort.

 I hope that these suggestions help you create a spectacular children’s story.

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