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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

"Content" Edits + Help


* Do you know what a protagonist's voice is?

*Must rhyming picture books have a good storyline?

*Having trouble with your plot and dialog?

*A Hook? Focus?
What are they and why do you need them

* Read lots of children's books.
* Join a critique group.

* Rewrite often. 

* Put your story aside for a while and allow the concept to mature.

*These are golden rules for writers who
want to be published.

Focus means knowing where your story is going and keeping it on track. Focus is not allowing paragraphs or pages to develop a life of their own and wander far from the main plot. NOTEKeep track of the small details. Make sure you take a character from point A to point B before you have them pop up with dialogue. Always get to the point via the shortest route and the least number of words. Choose your words for their power and evocative content. When descriptions and scenes go on too long, readers lose the thread. FOCUS on the details of your plot, and avoid being sidetracked.

* STORY ELEMENTS Plot and Character Development
Story Development goes hand-in-hand with Focus. Before you begin writing, have a rough idea of where the plot will take your characters. Get your main POV (point of view) character set up fast. Your POV needs a distinctive "voice." This means the way he talks, the way he moves, and the way he interacts with others. Give him foibles, or mannerisms that make him stand out as unique. Get to the meat of the story ASAP. NOTE: Always think kid! Editors (and kids) want actions, reactions, and great dialogue.

Sentence structure needs clarity above all else, plus appropriate grammar and punctuation. Great writers use words to paint pictures. You never have to read their sentences twice to grasp their meaning. Sentences need to be smooth and natural - like they came from the mind of a real person - dialogue likewise. Active and powerful verbs are a writer's best friend. Use a good thesaurus to find new, fresh, and evocative adjectives. Be wary of adverbs - they mostly prop up weak verbs. NOTE: Your sentences need to draw your reader in, and show what is happening with absolute clarity.
* TIGHT WRITING - Tight writing is partnered with Sentence Structure. Never use ten words when 5 will do the job. One wonderful adjective, plus a strong verb, will give you a powerful sentence. Weak verbs, held up by an adverb or two, plus a wishy-washy adjective, give you nothing an editor will bother to read. If the sentence, paragraph or page, does not move the story forward, CUT IT!  
        NOTE -- Overwriting is common. This happens when you use too many words. Paint a clear word picture and then move on.* Waffles are for breakfast, not for books.
Character enrichment means letting the reader into the heart and soul of the POV. Do this by his actions, his dialogue, and his inner thoughts and angst. Let him have faults that he overcomes. Let him grow as a person. Make sure he has a distinctive "voice," one that remains constant throughout the story. Your reader wants to root for, and identify with, your lead character. 
 NOTE: Rich characters have layers of interest. These layers are built up chapter by chapter - a dab of information here, a little background there, some dialogue that lets out a few secrets, etc. Dialogue that is overheard by your POV can inject interesting facts or back- story into the plot. Adding actions and reactions works. Beware of the "information dump." This is when a huge chunk of detail or information is dropped onto a page. Personal thoughts are a wonderful way of getting into the head and heart of your POV.
* THE ART OF THE "HOOK" - Hooking your reader is simple. Plenty of action, dialogue, and pace. You lose your reader when the story wanders away from the action for too long. Build tension by seeding hints and clues. Offer portents. Keep your writing tight. Especially in a mystery. NOTE: End chapters with a hook - a cliffhanger thought or event that lures the reader into turning the page. Make it so they can't resist.
 * PACE & TENSION -     
Overwriting (waffling) is the enemy of Pace. A slow build-up of tension gives a good pace. Dropping hints and clues build tension, which in turn moves your story along. Short, punchy sentences give a better pace than longwinded lines. NOTE: Shorter chapters (5-7 pages) give a feeling of a faster pace
Make the local librarian your friend - they love to help writers. Your librarian can recommend classic, as well as just published books, by authors who have the genre down cold. Dissect the plots and the characters in the books you love, and you will discover what makes them work so well




I need to READ your manuscript
before I quote you a fee.

Most publishers require a 32 page picture book to be  well under 1,000 words. Small kids have short attention spans, and printing cost are the reasosn PBs need to be short and sweet. Colored illustrations are expensive to print, and should be kept to approx. 10-12 per book.
Stories with more than 1,000 words need extra pages, and added illustrations. The extra printing cosst can make them too expensive. Keep your soft cover costs as close to (or under) the $10 retail mark as possible.
I am always happy to chat with
about your writing.




Advanced or Published Writers:I will read your story,
and then give you suggestions about adding that
 final polish. Useful for those who can rework
 a story themselves, with only a little direction.
** My basic fee for this is $40.00.


For Those Starting Out.

This includes page-by-page comments and suggestions, advice about word use, sentence length, Illustrations, and why PBs do need a great story. Helpful examples are
given where necessary.** My basic fee for this is $70.00.

NOTE: I do charge extra if I have to prune hundreds
of words
 or rework your story.


An In-depth Critique -
This gives you page-by-page help, plus suggestions
that guide you through the mystery of
 syllable count, and rhyme.

My useful examples will help you develop
a smooth meter.  Word choice, beginnings
 and endings, and the importance of
 story development are included.
** My basic fee for this is $70.00.

Working on correcting rhyme and meter is
very time consuming, so I do charge extra if
 your rhyme and meter is way off, and I
 have to offer examples for almost
every verse, and the plot also
needs strengthening.


First 3 Chapters.
"Content" Edit + Review

I will read your first three chapters, and then 
give you helpful suggestions about sentence

 length, word choice, beginnings, and endings, 

POV, FOCUS, how to hook your reader, 

plus story development, etc. 

This is useful if you are an advanced writer,

and feel you can rework the story yourself, with only a little direction.

     ** My fee for this is $65.00.


for Beginners.

Three chapters - this includes everything in
the overview, plus page-by-page comments,
with suggestions and examples where
 necessary. Help with the protagonist's
voice, FOCUS, POV, dialogue & more. 
** My basic fee for this is $90.00.

CONTACT ME if you want an individual
quote on a Critique or an Overview
for a completed manuscript.

For Writers of MG and TWEEN Books.

Critiquing a many-chaptered book takes all of my concentration and dedication. When I accept your manuscript for a critique, I plan a specific time for it. I also work with other clients, so you all fit into my overall plan. 

Long delays between returning to me  your reworked individual chapters for a final look-see, unless this is agreed upon ahead of time, will force me to withdraw my help - without a refund!


What I need from you.

#1 - Send your manuscript or chapters as a
  Word (.doc or .docx) attachment.

#2 - The fees quoted above are only guidelines. After I read your manuscript or chapters, I will get back to you with an initial evaluation, and quote you my fee based on that evaluation, and what I feel will make your story shine.

#3 - DO NOT send artwork unless requested.

#4 - I require a detailed Synopsis for in-depth critiques of Mid Grade and Tween MS.

#5 - EMAIL Me for "Special Quotes" on multiple chapters.

#6 - My fee entitles you to only one critique of the chapters you send, plus a quick look through later, if needed, to make sure you "got" it.
However, I am happy to answer any questions you might have. Each page will have comments, suggestions, and if needed, examples that
explain how to rework something.

#7 - Requiring me to rewrite sections of your manuscript means that I must charge a higher fee.

EMAIL Me if you need further information.

 If my detailed critique is not enough to help you rework your pages into a tighter, more active and powerful story, then perhaps taking a writing lesson or two, and reading lots of books in your genre is what you need, rather than another critique.


Click on YOUR PayPal link.

This link takes you to your

 and use
my EMAIL to send the fee I quoted you.

NOTE: You must be a PayPal member to pay this way.
PayPal also sorts out all overseas exchange rates.



 For payment by a Personal Check, 
 EMAIL for my address.

Due to several unfortunate experiences in the past,
I require my fee before I return your completed critique.

Thank you.


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