Blogs by Randy Young
Is it bad writing or BLIND FAITH?
3/31/2008 3:53:32 AM
You know how it feels. You pour everything that you have into a story, book, idea, illustrations, or some other creative area only to have it fall to the ground, when you try to make it fly.
I am going to share some things that I have slowly come to realize make or break what we do. I will admit that it hurts to rip your own baby apart. Wait, I would not literally rip a baby apart. I am talking about the creative process.
Before handing your writing off to a friend, neighbor, family member, or publisher, give your writing an honest view with the following checklist in mind. It hurts. It hurts worse than a barbed-wire girdle.
The dreaded checklist:
1. Does the story hook the reader at the beginning and real them in? Be honest. If the story starts out boring. It is boring. You can not sprinkle powdered sugar on it later and make it any better.
2. Does the story have some kind of problem that the reader can actually relate to and make it their own? Remember the movie ShortCircuit? Remember the famous words, "Number five alive?" Is the story alive. Does the main character exhibit emotions that the reader can understand? Make sure there is enough things happening to keep the reader reading.
3. Does the story seem believable? Is it set at a time that is actually enjoyable and understandable? Was the setting believable along with the plot? Did it fit?
Does everything keep the story moving to its end? Think about Special Features on a DVD...Ever wondered why they cut out those deleated scenes? They do not move the story along. There are reasons they are considered "deleated scenes."
As for flashbacks, I do not like them "Sam I Am." I would not like them with Green Eggs and Ham neither. I hate the switch from one to the other. Maybe I am the only one that gets lost.
Does the story move fast enough to keep the reader interested? Remember those movies that are carried aong by the special effects? Does your story have an interesting plot?
4. Does the story make the reader experience the setting? Is it easy to keep up with the locations and time in the story? Do you know who does what and where?
5. Do the characters in your story seem believable? Can children connect with them? Do children believe they are real? Did you give descriptions that children would understand? Would every child want to be the main character in your story? Children want someone to look up to.
Does the story appeal to the senses? Children love to see, feel, taste, touch , and hear the story. Do you tickle their senses? Could it be better?
6. Do your characters use words that children would understand and relate to in the story? Did you bore the reader with miles of dialogue? Remember how hard it is to walk and talk at the same time? Does the dialogue add to the story? Is it better for having dialogue? Is it easy to tell who is speaking?
7. Does the story stay with a good and clear point of view? Is it easy to follow?
8. Were all of the descriptions sensory? Is the writing full of words that make the reader taste the bitter milk, smell the burnt toast, and relax in the velvet chair? Did you step out of your box and open up to the world that children love to visit?
9. Is the wording age appropriate? Does it fit who you said it would fit? Does it support the schol curriculum. This is very important today in education and reading. Teachers love to see books that support what they are teaching. (Visit your local school's web site and see what they teach in the way of reading and language and spelling.)
10. Did you work on grammar and spelling? Teachers love to see books that display good grammar and spelling. Children learn by what they read and see, too. (I remember years ago hearing teachers compain about a VERY popular series of children's books. They said that the grammar was horrid. It did not keep them from being big sellers, but teachers did not like them.)
If you are really brave, ask someone to read the story to you. Listen to how someone who does not already know it, reads. It is an eye opener.
With all of this said, I do not in any way or form consider myself to know it all. I am great at giving advice, but I am terrible at taking it.
Thank You for taking to time to stop by and read. It is nice to know that I do have someone interested in what I have to say. I wish I had hundreds of publishers and agents knocking at my door. I would answer.
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More Blogs by Randy Young
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Something Part 4 - Thursday, May 22, 2008
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