Have Fun Writing for Children – Guest Post By Darlene Foster

If you like children and are quite childish, something I´ve often been accused of, then writing for children may seem easy and natural.

I began my love affair with words many years ago. Some of my fondest memories are being read to as a child, visiting the library, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I still have worn copies of favourite childhood books, such as The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women, Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables; and revisit these old friends from time to time. Books and children go together like toast and jam. Recently, one seven-year-old friend said to me, “Who doesn´t like books?” I never show up without books as gifts for my grandchildren. I am known as The Book Grandma.

It´s not surprising that I love writing stories for children.

While writing for children can be fun, it isn´t easy. It requires removing yourself from the adult world and thinking like a twenty-first-century kid (unless you’re writing a historical novel, then a kid from whatever century you are writing about). Fortunately, I like to hang out with kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends. I also enjoy reading children’s books to see what sparks the interest of today’s young people. Children notice things adults don’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s necessary to get into their headspace. And guess what? While I’m writing, I get to be a kid again – and what could be more fun!

Here are a few tips, based on what I’ve learned after writing eight middle-grade books.

  1. Kids like strong main characters, role models. Characters willing to take risks and sometimes mess up, but coming out on top in the end. Keep in mind the characters you liked as a child.
  2. Young people often act childish, but they can also be very mature, especially under pressure.
  3. The hero/heroine can possess extraordinary skills, but they still need to be real so readers can identify with them.
  4. Dialogue moves the story along, breaks up description and gets the reader to know characters better. Each character needs his/her own voice.
  5. Show emotion, don’t tell. This is true in all writing but especially when writing for kids. Instead of writing Jane was homesick, how about, Jane spent a lot of time looking at pictures of her family, often bursting into tears.
  6. Listen to kids talk so you get the lingo right. They are not teenagers so they won’t talk like them, not yet. They often parrot their parents and other adults around them.
  7. Watch movies and TV shows with kids in them, observe how they act and talk.
  8. Be aware that kids speak differently in different parts of the country, and the world.
  9. If you aren’t sure about something, ask a kid. I do this all the time. In fact, I have a street team of young readers from age 7 to 12. They are so helpful. Don’t ask a parent, they are the last to know how their kids talk or act!
  10. Kids are always giving me ideas. I keep a notebook and write down things they say and do, often incorporating these in my stories. They can be so clever too. Often wise beyond their years.

Writing for children is important because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. A love that doesn’t fade with time. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books.

So if you have been thinking of writing for children, give it a try. Have fun and let yourself be a kid again!

 Thanks, Aurora, for the opportunity to talk about something I’m passionate about. If anyone has questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments.


About Darlene:

Darlene Foster is a Canadian author who has written the popular Amanda Travels series, featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure while learning about another culture. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in various countries. Darlene has won prizes for her short stories and a number of them have been published in anthologies. She has also written a bi-lingual book for English/Spanish readers.

 Darlene grew up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where her love of reading inspired her to travel the world and write stories. Over the years she held wonderful jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, and wrote whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a home in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she likes to spend time with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Her books include Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released in the spring of 2021. 


Connect with Darlene:

website http://www.darlenefoster.ca/

Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/
Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/darlenefoster
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/


 

Guest Blog: J. Scott Coatsworth on “The Great North”

On Jamie Fessenden’s blog I found a great guest post, written by J. Scott Coatsworth, author of “The Great North”. Enjoy reading about his work, this author and the book.

Jamie Fessenden's Blog

Where to Tell the Story

They say write what you know, but that’s always seemed like dubious advice to me.

As a writer of sci fi and fantasy, I often write tales set in distant or unknown locations – to date, these have included London; Althos; Avalon; Purgatory; Oberon and Titania; Forever; a half-drowned San Francisco; faery; Thompson Falls, Montana; and some imaginary village in northern Quebec, to name a few. More about that village in a moment.

Most of these places are imaginary, and the ones that aren’t are either places I’ve never been or real places that are far separated from our own time.

So when I planned to write a retelling of a Welsh myth, reset to a few hundred years in the future, I knew I needed to find the right place to tell the story, even if it was a place I’d never seen.

With…

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Self-publishing for Beginners by Patty Jansen

Patty Jansen provides writing newbies with an excellent article about self publishing. Thank you Patty.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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I get asked quite a lot of questions by people who want to self-publish but have no idea where to begin. Here is a list of some points to consider:

Self-publishing for Beginners

1. Educate yourself. No, don’t google “self-publishing” because you’ll come up with a lot of mis-information spread by people who want to make money off you. There is one major place where you find out the latest about self-publishing. It’s the Writers’ Cafe at the Kindleboards (membership free and open, members: about 60,000).

2. Put on your snark and distrust. Especially of people who come to you volunteering advice, and “yes of course we can do formatting, cover and marketing for you. It will cost you $8000. All you need to do is watch the money roll in”. Do not believe them. Better still, tell them to go perform an anatomically impossible act on themselves. You have…

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The Trouble with Series – Guest Post…

Jemima Pett, guest blogger on The Story Reading Ape’s blog published an article about the “trouble with series” which I think, provides us with helpful information on what to consider when writing a series. Thank you, Jemima!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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One of the best things to do as an indie author is to write a series. People like reading them, and it makes your author page look much better when you have more than one title to your name.

For most of us, writing our first book is a Big Thing. Finishing it, whether after six months or six years, does not immediately change your mindset into ‘published author’. It’s often only much later that you read the advice about series and start to think of the sequel.

Even the most successful authors fall foul of this. I was at a Crime Writing event last year (Noirwich), where the well-loved British writer Elly Griffiths confessed that she had never expected her first book, The Crossing Places, to lead to the long run that is the Ruth Galloway series. If she had, she wouldn’t have packed so much into…

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Why Authors Need A Business Card – Guest Post…

Toni Pike, guest blogger on The Story Reading Ape’s blog informs us about why authors need a business card. Thanks so much Toni and Chris!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Feature Image_My Card

If you’re a published author and don’t already have some business cards, it might be worth considering. They are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to advertise your books, and a convenient way to give anyone you meet the information they need to find them. Having a business card also makes you appear more professional.

People will often express interest in your writing, but can easily forget the details after they finish the conversation. With your business card in their hand, they are much more likely to proceed to the next step and perhaps to a sale. It also gives you an easy and convenient way to provide people with your contact details and a place to find your buyer links. Quickly handing over a card is far preferable to searching for a pen and scribbling the information on a scrap of paper.

Various online sales outlets allow you…

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7 Author Ideas for an Amazing Live Book Launch

Mary Kleim, guest blogger on Nicholas Rossi’s blog has provided us with 7 great ideas for a fantastic live book launch. Thank you so much Mary and Nicholas!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Mary Kleim | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThis is a guest post by Mary Kleim, who works in the digital sphere. She is also a guest blogger who shares her online marketing experience on sites dedicated to creativity, self-development, writing, and digital marketing. Connect with Mary on LinkedIn.

I particularly like how she combines an online launch with a real-world event – something you don’t read about too often.

7 Author Ideas for an Amazing Live Book Launch

Kindle | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksWhen you are about to release your writing into the world, you want to attract as big an audience as you can. But how can one prepare for an eBook launch and turn it into a success? One idea is to combine both a real-world event and an online one by inviting people to a venue such as a library or a bookshop on the day of the launch.

Having a good strategy can help you prepare…

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5 Basic Tips on Staying Focused When Writing a Book – Guest Post…

Guest blogger Audrey Throne published a post on TSRA’s blog about how to stay focused when writing a book. Thank you Audrey!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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To be able to work with sheer dedication, a writer needs the ability to fully concentrate and stay focused at all times. Maintaining your focus for sustained periods can be a difficult task to do. Psychologists suggest a powerful form of concentration for writers called ‘flow’. This refers to an individual fully engaging in the task they are doing. For a writer, ‘flowing’ concentration is essential to write pieces with utmost fluency.

Inability to concentrate can be fruitless, especially for a writer. In order to make each day productive, writers must employ these 5 basic tips to stay focused on work and exercise their minds for better concentration:

Stick to the Schedule

The type of schedule you keep doesn’t matter as long as it caters to your needs and helps dedicate time to your book on a regular basis. If you’re not experienced in writing projects, avoid scheduling as you…

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Blog Tour “The Loyalist Legacy” by Elaine Cougler

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Rebellion in Upper Canada: Real and Fictional Characters

My first introduction to Bishop Strachan was many years ago as I was taking teacher training in preparation for becoming a high school teacher. Each day our group sat in a large lecture hall and listened to the person at the front extol the virtues of yet another early educator in Ontario. As the days went on my interest in these paragons waned. Strachan was one of those who seemingly did no wrong.

Fast forward many years. During the research for The Loyalist Legacy, the third book in my trilogy, I found the Bishop Strachan of Ontario legend, the man with countless buildings and colleges named after him and who did so much to form Upper Canada College, but I also found many negative references, the kind of nuggets a writer loves to discover.

This allowed me to use the illustrious bishop as a villain in Legacy, a type of character every writer needs to add punch to a story. Of course I may have stretched the truth just a little as that’s where the fiction in Historical Fiction comes in, but the fact remains Strachan’s privileged group caused a lot of problems for the settlers, Loyalists or not. The “Family Compact” got its derogatory name because those in power simply appointed their relatives and friends to important positions charged with the running of the fledgling country. That meant the common people had no say, a circumstance that became more and more dangerous as factions arose to thwart the “Family Compact”.

In the excerpt below from The Loyalist Legacy, William’s brother Robert is in a hotel when anger at the government comes to a head:

“Quiet, men! Cease and desist!” Someone near the bar struggled to be heard, with no success. The lean man jumped up onto the long bar, much to the barman’s consternation, and shouted again. This time he stomped his boot on the bar and the barman hollered; the room went silent as all eyes turned to watch. “Gentlemen.” The man’s glance included everyone packed into the room. “You’ve come here today for one reason. One reason only.” He paused, nodding his close-cropped head and gathering his thoughts. “You’re tired of our government’s power over us all. You’ve had enough. And you want to do something to break their hold on us.”

“Whose hold?” A voice came from off to Robert’s right, back in a corner, but he couldn’t see who it was.

“Ah, you want a name?”

Many voices answered back. The young man raised his rough hands for silence. “Well you know it…the Family Compact.” Again he raised his arms and waited. “That group in York and parts east who control everything we do. They only want us for the sweat and toil we give to shape this land.” Shouts of agreement broke his stride but soon he continued. “What do they give us, those powerful rich bastards?”

“Nothing!”

“No say in our lives.”

“And how do they make our lives miserable?”

“Clergy lands!”

“Empty lots!”

“No help on the roads!”

“Our own preacher can’t even marry us!”

“And does this group of rich and powerful men, this Family Compact, listen to us?” He raised his arms to silence the crowd. “No. Our elected members might as well stay home and tend their crops, do their road work and raise their children. Nothing they decide is final. Their votes mean nothing. The Family Compact just do what they want, regardless of the Legislative Assembly.” He paused in the ensuing clamor. When the noise threatened to take over the meeting again, he stamped and roared for attention once more and gradually the heated voices subsided.

Robert and Logan looked at each other and at the man with them. His face was beaming as he studied the groups all over the room, even rising from his chair the better to see everyone. Robert didn’t know whether to be shocked or delighted that so many gathered here agreed with his own sentiments. He could hear their stories around him as each person shouted out his own troubles with the powerful reach of the government.

“Down with the King!” A voice louder than all the rest temporarily stopped the racket as men looked to identify the speaker.

Into the sudden quiet another voice, high and thin, squeaked out over the heads of the red-faced men. “Rebellion!”

Excerpt from The Loyalist Legacy.

When the War of 1812 is finally over William and Catherine Garner flee the desolation of Niagara and find in the wild heart of Upper Canada their two hundred acres straddling the Thames River. On this valuable land, dense forests, wild beasts, disgruntled Natives, and pesky neighbors daily challenge them. The political atmosphere laced with greed and corruption threatens to undermine all of the new settlers’ hopes and plans. William cannot take his family back to Niagara, but he longs to check on his parents from whom he has heard nothing for two years. Leaving Catherine and the children, he hurries along the Governor’s Road toward the turn-off to Fort Erie, hoping to return in time for spring planting.

With realistic insights into the challenging lives of Ontario’s early settlers, Elaine Cougler once again draws readers into the Loyalists’ struggles to build homes, roads, and relationships, and their growing dissension as they move ever closer to another war. The Loyalist Legacy shows us the trials faced by ordinary people who conquer unbelievable hardships and become extraordinary in the process.


 

Praise Elaine Cougler’s writing: 

“….absolutely fascinating….Cougler doesn’t hold back on the gritty realities of what a couple might have gone through at this time, and gives a unique view of the Revolutionary War that many might never have considered.”

Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews.

 

“….an intriguing story”                                              A Bookish Affair

 

“I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story.”

Book Lovers Paradise

 

“Elaine’s storytelling is brave and bold.”                     Oh, for the Hook of a Book


BUY THE BOOK LINK –US:

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https://www.amazon.com/Loyalist-Legacy-Trilogy/dp/1539451283/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478040721&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Loyalist+Legacy+Elaine+Cougler

 


 

elaine-low-resABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

LINK TO MY SITE http://www.elainecougler.com/news/author-bio/

 

 

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR LOGO AND SCHEDULE  http://www.elainecougler.com

 

Elaine Cougler can be found on Twitter, Facebook Author Page, LinkedIn and on her blog at http://www.elainecougler.com/blog/


 

…Authors, the longest days…waiting for your editor’s feedback… Susan Toy tells it…

Susan Toy is a guest on Seumas Gallacher’s Blog and has published a fantastic post about “Idiot Author’s Guide to waiting for Editorial”.. Thank you, Susan Toy!Photo 4

 

 

Seumas Gallacher

…an Idiot Author’s Guide to waiting for Editorialcomment… from my terrific pal, Authoress, Susan Toy

10 Ways I pass the time while waiting for my editor to finish editing my novel …

by Susan M. Toy

 It took about 12 years to complete a final draft of my second novel, a draft I felt was finally ready to send to my most trusted first reader—my editor.

 You’d think after all the time the file has sat in four computers and various memory sticks during all those years, sometimes never seeing the light of day, I’d have embraced patience and would now be willing to allow for whatever further time was necessary to complete the editing process. After all, I know that it does take a great deal of time and concentration to complete the stellar and most thorough job my editor is currently doing.

 But…

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