Voices... For and About KidsVoices in Writing For and About Kids
Well, the title of this piece promises a guide to writing for and about kids. This is an all-encompassing phrase that, I hope, will grab anybody who wants to write for or about any characters between the ages of about nought and eighteen. So, is this the part where I reveal that this guide is actually more limited than that? No it is not! At least, I have done my very best to cater to all possible needs, with the following handy headings:
Issues and Obstacles
The Voice of the Child: Advice on Writing Dialogue
Childrens Literature and the Narrative Voice
Young Adult Fiction and the Teenage Voice
I admit it: this guide is not going to be short, and while it is not going to be excessively long either, it will try to answer every question I have been able to anticipate.
Issues and Obstacles
Picture this. You have s
Writing Paranormal CharactersAs a writer of prose, you may at some point to want to write about a character or characters which are paranormal. We could perhaps debate over the exact definition of the word paranormal, and some may prefer supernatural - a word more closely associated with magic, whereas paranormal tends to be taken to mean something outside the realms of science (though of course, it is not as clear-cut as that, and you may like to think that I am wrong in saying this).Writing Paranormal Characters7 years ago in Editorial More Like This
For the purposes of this guide, both paranormal and supernatural refer to conscious beings, not found in the animal kingdom, that differ in some way to what I controversially call normal humans (some paranormal beings may be human, in part or in whole). To give some well-known examples: ghosts, vampires, witches, werewolves and mermaids all fall into this category. The details, of course, are up to the writer. If you t
Write Better: Read MoreWe didn't believe it, either, but you really can learn a lot from reading a book! If you've ever wanted some worthwhile advice from someone other than your high school English teacher, this is the place to look. The authors below are experts in their fields, well-respected and admired by accomplished writers from all over the world, and we're bringing you a list of their most prized and collectively-effective books. (Tried-and-tested by our worthy administrators, no less!)Write Better: Read More8 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
So what're you waiting for? Learn how to make every word count!
Reading Resource List for the Aspiring Writer
Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques (Jim Burke)
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (Roy Peter Clark)
Writing without Teachers (Peter Elbow)
Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process (Peter Elbow)
Giving Prose Visual AppealAnyone who's spent any time reading text on a computer screen can tell you that things such as font, spacing, formatting, and size all play a role in how well a text is received. Often times people make comments that disregard the importance of formatting a text. What these people fail to realize is that many people find it difficult to read certain things, not because they're lazy, old, or uncool, but because they have vision problems that prevent them from digesting entire blocks of text with no clear paragraph breaks or focusing on more than a line or two of bold/italic writing. In fact, even people with 20/20 vision have a difficult time maintaining focus if text is improperly formatted. That's why we have proper formatting guidelines to begin with! With that in mind, WordCount is offering this quick guide to making your prose more appealing to the general public.Giving Prose Visual Appeal9 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Quick Reference List
1. Do not use subs
How To WriteAbstract: an analytical approach to plotting and writing fiction upwards of 1,000 wordsHow To Write11 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Acknowledgements: the potentially amazing Rachel (IfrozenspiritI) served as guinea pig to this; go and tell her to finish the product of that experiment, because you'll love it. Chris Widdison (tearstone) approached me indecently with the idea of writing a longer essay (which will still happen, and be a lot more purdy than this here thing), which would incorporate this essay in another form, amongst others. He doesn't need to read any of this, because he already knows it all.
Target audience: young, inexperienced writers, especially those that find themselves pulling off vignettes and other super-short forms with an ease, while chronically unable to produce anything with more than a handful of scenes and more than 1,000 words.
Part 1: The Premise takes a look at the basic idea behind a piece
Part 2: The Story fills in some of those blanks and gives u
Punctuating Dialogue: A GuideStandard Punctuation: DialoguePunctuating Dialogue: A Guide8 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Sometimes we read dialogue so often, punctuated in so many different ways, that we either forget what we've learned (if that was anything memorable to begin with) or we rely on instinct to guide us. A common example of this can be seen in the opening dialogue of darksouldream's piece, Bobby:
No, replied Cindy `I think his sister Becky is staying with her, but she keeps muttering about parents out living children. The doctors been keeping her pretty sedated.
Most Americans will cringe at this. Why? Well, double quotation marks are the more acceptable usage (the "traditional convention") in American Standard English. However, in British Standard English, both the double quotation mark and single quotation mark are used. What's the rule? Stylis
Common Errors: Lose and LooseLoose is an adjective meaning slack; not firmly fixed; the opposite of tight. It has a hard S sound, and almost everyone knows how to spell it.Common Errors: Lose and Loose7 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
However, many are confused by the very similar word, lose. This is a verb meaning to misplace something: an object, a function such as eyesight or memory, or one may lose ones way whilst trekking through the Australian outback or the local supermarket.
The confusion arises because the pronunciation of lose and loose is almost identical; the only different is that lose has a soft S sound at the end. It, too, has the double-O sound that makes many people want to spell it the same way as loose (which, I should mention, can also be used as a verb; get yourself an exciting kidnap novel, and you may well read of somebody loosing his or her bonds).
Lose is one of many annoying words that defy the rules of English spelling, and it does so in the same was as move and pro
How to Write Villanelles Villanelles can be quite discouraging; they look simple but are actually quite difficult. However, when mastered, it becomes technically easy according to Conrad Geller. Just like riding a bike, right? The name Villanelle is derived from the Italian villa, or country house, which is where aristocrats went to refresh themselves. Strangely enough, the form is originally French and only appeared in the English language in the lat 1800s (19th century). Out of the 19 lines in a Villanelle, only two rhymes are used. Furthermore, two lines repeat throughout the poem; usually the first and last lines of the first stanza are repeated interchangeably throughout the second, third, fourth, and fifth stanzas (starting with the first line of the first stanza) until the last stanza where both are repeated in the same stanza.How to Write Villanelles7 years ago in Other More Like This
How to Write About VampiresHow to Write About VampiresHow to Write About Vampires8 years ago in Writing More Like This
There are a lot of stories out there about Vampires. But not too many of them make their characters touchable or human. The characters are usually so out of touch with their humanity that the reader really cannot connect with the character. That happens to be one of the main sticking points.
How can I make my Vampire more human?
Well for the Vampire, dont make them too into themselves. Vampires cannot see themselves in a mirror, so how can they be vain? Believe me, if you ever read any of the classic horror novels and do you see any vampire with the ability to see themselves in the mirror? No you dont, so please dont make a vampire vain. Vampires still have their human vices when they turn, yet they can only either recall bits and pieces of their human life or in some cases, they can remember all of it.
What all characteristics do typical Vampires have?
All vampires dont run ar
Writing 101 - Func.Sent.Persp.Writing 101 - Func.Sent.Persp.7 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Functional Sentence Perspective (FSP)
1) What is it?
The functional sentence perspective looks at how language functions in the act of communication. It pays special attention to context and questions related to the theme-rheme (topic-focus) structure of a sentence.
Rheme is the part of a sentence that gives further information on the topic (the theme).
A sentence combines old information with new information. The position of the information tends to emphasize how it should be understood.
The new information tends to appear near the end of the sentence, while the beginning acts to put it into context.
-- Tomorrow, we will drive to the park.
-- We will drive to the park tomorrow.
In the first sentence, the speaker assumes that it is known that the event will happen tomorrow, and clarifies only what will happen ("drive to the park"). Thus "park" and "drive" are both potentially new i
Common Errors: Lead and LedA number of talented and otherwise capable writers seem to be unsure of the forms of the verb to lead. There is a common misconception that, perhaps, is exacerbated by the widely known correct uses of the verb to read.Common Errors: Lead and Led7 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
Most people know that the past tense of to read is read, spelled exactly the same way but pronounced differently, with a short E sound: red. But red spelled that way, of course, is the colour of blood, Supermans cape and a great many other things.
However, when it comes to the verb to lead, you need only remember one thing: the same rule does not apply! Pronounce lead with a short E sound, and you are actually describing the soft metal used to make pencils and even face powder before it was found to be poisonous.
The past tense of the verb to lead is led.
If you were writing a story about an expedition into a forest, for example, it might look something like this:
Submitting to Lit JournalsRough Guide to Submitting Poetry to Literary Journals (by Email)Submitting to Lit Journals8 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
First thing you need is your poems, naturally; these must be fully redrafted to your satisfaction to have much of a chance of getting anywhere in the world of self-respecting mags. Try out some workshops (there are a tonne on the internet, and plenty in the real world too), ask your friends, but most of all just mull them over for yourself until you're happy.
Do not pad your submission with bad poems, thinking the worse ones might get through thanks to your stronger work. This will just result in the whole bunch being rejected, in all probability.
Next we need to scope out a market. There are numerous ways of doing this. Duotrope is probably the most useful resource around. Check that your target accepts electronic submissions and are currently open to submissions at all. Read their guidelines thoroughly and follow every one. It's amazing how many people completely fail to follow the
The Art of Refining ProseThe Art of Refining Prose8 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
The Art of Refining Prose
Many writers dread the editing process. Not only does it delay the showcase of prose, it can seem a tedious and painstaking task. Often, editing is more time-consuming than the initial writing and consequently, it is either ignored altogether or briefly indulged. This is a great shame. Sincere editing not only proves a pleasurable experience but invaluable to prose, as this is a wonderful opportunity to buff, polish and tighten the impact of one's writing.
Some might argue that editing is not only unnecessary, but detrimental to the raw concept of ones inspiration. The answer to this is simple: select a prose that hasnt been edited and compare against one that has. Its soon evident that a well-edited piece is not only easier to read, but communicates the authors ideas with greater clarity. Few Bestsellers hit the shelves having skipped the editing office. And unless the author has behind them years upon years of writi
Colon, Semicolons, and Hyphens Trouble often arises when dealing with combining sentences. It's good you're taking a look at this - very good. How many of you have wondered how to use a colon? A Semi-Colon? How about a Hyphen? Well, this piece of literature will keep your head spinning for a while. Not because you are going to be confused, but because there is a rather large amount of information. However, you shouldn't let that stop you from becoming a better writer, right? So, let us continue with the lesson on:Colon, Semicolons, and Hyphens8 years ago in Other More Like This
The main use of a colon is when you want to link a lead-in(a sentence that can stand alone but will be used to bring in two or more primary subjects) with the items(subjects) that will be introduced by the lead-in.
Confused? Well, look at the sentence below:
I ordered many items on the list(Lead-in): tomatoes, chips, b
Showing, Part OneShowing, Part One12 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
If you've ever taken a class in creative writing, you've no doubt heard the teacher repeat the phrase, "Show, don't tell" over and over again. While there are few hardest rules in creative writing, this persistent little mantra might be the ultimate. Teachers and writers who write about writing spout it out all the time, but what does it mean anyway? After, isn't all writing really "telling" on some level?
It's best to view "showing" not as a single technique, but a summation of the most effective writing techniques. If we know anything about poetry, it's that the best poetry usually conjures specific and concrete images. Beyond language itself, images are the meat and bones of poetry. So goes most of prose as well. The prose writer has the added duty of creating situations and characters that seem real and believable.
Showing invites the reader into the world of out poem and story. If the reader can see, smell, taste, and feel the world through our writing, the reader is more
So You Wanna Be a Writer?Many writers profess their desire to be novelists or poets, and sometimes even journalists, but very few--indeed, even those sitting with Creative Writing degrees, know what other options are out there for someone gifted with words. Your old Alma Mater wasn't lying when they said you could do "anything" with an English Literature degree, but they may have been leaving out much of the story.So You Wanna Be a Writer?8 years ago in Editorial More Like This
For writers, especially those trying to break into the publishing business, the world is a daunting (and often depressing) place. Securing a literary agent is almost necessary in today's oversaturated market and, while many publishers are still looking for the 'next big thing' or a new revival of the ever-dying 'literary fiction', just as many are happy to continuing publishing texts that make money. Do not lose hope, however! Publishing the Great American Novel is not the only way to call yourself a writer, and sometimes you can slip in through the back d
A word about haiku - MS JamesA word about haiku - by Michael JamesA word about haiku - MS James9 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
I believe there are a few basic precepts about haiku that are largely overlooked, or just flat out just not taught in most basic literary (poetic) courses. Everyone seems to know that a haiku is supposed to be written in the structure of 5-7-5 syllables per line respectively, but there is much more going on than just a simple syllable constraint. I shall attempt to give a brief overview of the main points about haiku.
First off, the 5-7-5 syllable structure most often cited as being the sole 'structural rule' of haiku is based on the original Japanese constraint. However, the Japanese language and more specifically their word structure differ from English in a critical way when it comes to the definition of this structure. In the Japanese language, each sound unit is called an onji as opposed to our syllable. This unit of measure for a word is considerable more concise than what we use to define a syllable (typically only
How to Write About WerewolvesHow to Write About WerewolvesHow to Write About Werewolves8 years ago in Writing More Like This
There are a lot of stories out there about Werewolves. But not too many of them make their characters touchable or human. The characters are usually so out of touch with their humanity that the reader really cannot connect with the character. That happens to be one of the main sticking points.
How can I make my Werewolf more human?
Werewolves cannot remember their moonlit feedings when they are in human form. They are still human yet it is not very obvious that they have an issue. They still have the ability to love, hate, etc that a human can have just that when the moon is out, they cannot recall anything from during the day. That means that anyone is a free meal.
What characteristics do all Werewolves have?
In werewolf form they have the body hair, bigger muscles, longer teeth and faster speed. They are more animalistic than human. They can also walk on all fours or on two legs. Depends on what
Tips On Self-PublishingTips On Self-Publishing11 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Tips On Self-Publishing
I recently decided to self-publish a compilation of my work. It is something that I've wanted to do for a long time, but have always put off for several reasons; the imagined cost, basic lethargy in editing the damn thing, and laziness when it came to mail-outs to publishers. If this sounds like you so far, you might be able to benefit from a few things I learned along the way. Below I will discuss almost everything you will need to know before jumping into a self-publishing project, some pitfalls to avoid, and approximately what to expect to come out of your pocket. (I'm talking about money, pervert.)
Once I decided I was definitely going forward with this project, my first step was to find publishing houses/printers that offered the services that I wanted. There are many resources for this, but I found the below link most helpful in finding presses that would actually not only turn around a quote quickly,
Active and Passive VoiceActive and Passive Voice12 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Active voice occurs when the subject or agent in the sentence performs the action, often towards an object. For example, let's look at the following sentence written in active voice:
Katie spilled the milk.
In this sentence, Katie is the subject, and she performs the action (spilling) on the direct object (the milk.) The most obvious way to spot active voice is through the use of active verbs, which are simply verbs that express actions. In most cases, the sentence will take on the simple form of the tense it's in, whether past, present, or future.
In passive voice, the object being acted upon is emphasized over the agent. A passive version of the previous sentence would look like this:
The milk was spilled by Katie.
In this sentence, our object (the milk) appears before the action (was spilled) and the agent (Katie.) You will also notice that this sentence is in the progressive fo
An Essay on Naming CharactersWhat's In a Name?An Essay on Naming Characters10 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
An Essay on Naming Characters
By Kate Logan
When it comes to character creation, be it for a story or an illustration, choosing the proper name for a character is vital. All too often do I see characters with poorly thought-out names: the chivalrous knight Darren Starhawk; the sweet, innocent Lady Elvira; or the rough-and-tumble brawler Poindexter. On their own, these names are fine (even Starhawk, if you're going for a sci-fi flare), but they simply don't work with the characters they are describing. No one is going to take poor old Poindexter seriously, no matter how big his muscles are. To remedy this catastrophe, here are a few tips and guidelines when naming characters.
First, a little game. Below is a list of several of my characters and a brief description of each, all mixed up and out of order. Try to correctly match the name to the character description. The answers are at the end of this essay (no peeking!).
1. Senshi Meijin
Common Errors: Then and ThanWhile most writers have little or no trouble distinguishing the two similar words then and than, there are some that frequently confuse them. That is, then is often or always used by some in place of than.Common Errors: Then and Than7 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
Then is the adverb that describes a point in time. You might use it to refer to a time already mentioned, in the same way as one might use a pronoun in place of a name.
Andrew went to university in 1996. He was eighteen then.
Whilst this is not a very interesting sentence, and would need touching up if it were to be used in fiction, it serves its purpose for this guide.
You might also use then to mean after that.
We had dinner, and then we went to see a film.
There are a few other uses for the word then, as most good dictionaries will attest, and most people know what these are. This being the case, I shant go into any more detail on
Show and TellShow and TellShow and Tell9 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
The idea behind what constitutes 'telling' is probably the most often confused by critics who are new to poetry.
The general notion of it has been around for centuries in all types of literature, but the approach to it was tightened considerably in the 1920s by those of the Modernist school of thought – most notably TE Hulme, HD and Ezra Pound who adapted many tenets of the French school of Symbolism into Imagism.
This leaves us with the current poetic climate, which shuns the idea of a pseudo-poet narrator (as favoured in lyrical poetry – Shelley's Ode to the West Wind, for example) in favour of less intrusive accounts.
The guidelines that it encourages are pretty logical, and mostly just serve to crystallize a critical paradigm present long before it was given this name. It's simply a matter of narrative viewpoint.
If I say 'The man is sad' I am intruding upon the narrative with my own opinion.
If I say 'The man is crying' then the reader makes up their own mind
Wrath of the Grammar NaziIn favor of avoiding parallel structure debates (misplaced modifiers, ahh!) and a general crusade against passive voice, WordCount is offering a list of common "pet peeves" to satisfy the punctuation junkie in all of you.Wrath of the Grammar Nazi9 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Please understand that this list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it original, but it warrants saying from time to time. Nothing in here is meant to insult you, all rules can be broken, and there are always exceptions. One should also note that rules about comma usage and "the dash" differ from place to place and country to country, but this list falls back on Oxford's guide to style (because we all need a place to start).
1. Apostrophes are not there to make words look pretty. They do have an actual purpose (namely to indicate contractions or possession);
2. Semicolons connect two related thoughts while simultaneously separating two complete thoughts (or objects in a list);
3. "A lot" and "all right" are not words. They are
Grammar GuideGrammar Guide For Self-Editing or Editing GroupsGrammar Guide6 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
by Kelly Mortimer ©2008
A Awkward Sentence Structure Rearrange, rephrase, or try deleting unnecessary words.
Aa Additive Adjunct No comma before too when its the last word of a sentence, and too means also. Ex: Jane graduated from high school too. Use a comma when too appears elsewhere and still means also. Ex: Jane, too, graduated from high school.
Ap- Attribution Punctuation When using an attribution such as said, dont use a period at the end of the preceding sentence. Use a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point. Dont capitalize he, she, they. Exs: I have to move into a new house, she said. --Its huge! she said. -- Im going to live here? she asked [or said]. If the attribution comes before the sentence, use a comma. Ex: She add