Friday, March 22, 2013

Writing Non-Fiction? Make it Incredible

Imagine that you’re working on a wonderful non fiction story for children. How do you make it outstanding? You can choose facts that will excite your young readers. You can make your characters interesting to your readers by introducing facts that  may not be widely known. Perhaps there’s something in a famous person’s past that would be of particular interest to children so that the child will learn what the person was really like. Here are some examples to help you understand what I mean:

 Choose your facts carefully: Many children will remember that George Washington was America’s first president. If you can find little known facts, your readers might really appreciate them because you are actually introducing them to the real character of George Washington. For instance, they may not know that he desperately wanted to continue his education in England, but he decided it was more important for him to help run the family plantation after the death of his father. That fact will show your readers how unselfish George was. They may also not be aware of the fact that he was most concerned about teaching people proper manners and spelling. In fact, he wrote several books about manners. He wanted people to know it wasn’t polite to clean your teeth with the table cloth, for example. Children may also like learning that George had trouble with Spelling. He was never sure if “cough” was spelled c-o-u-g-h, or c-o-f-f, the way that it sounds.

Perhaps you are researching for a story about Teddy Roosevelt. There are many children who know he became president. But they may not know he suffered form Asthma. Your readers may not be familiar with the fact that Teddy was fascinated with Science either. Perhaps your readers didn’t know that Teddy was an avid reader. Learning these things about him help children to connect with his life experiences.

What about Dialogue? Years ago, authors seemed comfortable with embellishing dialogue. They would tweak it here and there, just to keep things lively. But today, no one uses dialogue in a non fiction story, unless they use an exact quote. If you want to use something that President Kennedy said, you need to locate the exact words. You would still want to be careful that the dialogue serves a purpose for in your story.

Adding Quotes: One more thing you may choose to add to your remarkable children’s story is quotes. Let’s say you’re writing a story about Teddy Roosevelt and you want to add something that will tell your young readers about his philosophy. You might include this: “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives’.

I hope that these suggestions will send you on your way to crafting the perfect non fiction story.

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