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Children's book and short story edits

Well, last night we dug into an awesome piece of children's fiction and a fun speculative short story. I wanted to share a few of the insights we picked up along the way (along with the video of our edits, of course).

  • Children's books

  • Every word counts in children's books, so your prose matters even more than other works. Convert the prose of your children's book to poetry and then convert it back to prose. It seems like extra effort, but you'll be surprised at how the sound of your language improves.

  • Figure out the core story of your children's book. Start with the theme, develop a one line "plot thread", and then develop your character's GSU (goal, stakes, and urgency) to drive them along the plot thread toward the revelation of theme.

  • Never written a children's book before? Try it. It's a great way to work on story structure with a lower time commitment than a novel.

  • Short Story

  • Read over some of your favorite writers and see how they balance scene description, narrative summary, action and dialogue. Try to use the same proportions in your writing for a cleaner result.

  • Character change has to be even sharper in a short story. Show me someone with a flaw early on, and let me see the hero overcome it!

  • Use dialogue to showcase the character. A character who says, "My, my, my." is different than a character who says, "Oh no, I'm so worried." Great dialogue will make your writing more economical.

Well, here's the video with a lot more detailed comments on these stories, but I hope these general tips for the literary forms help you in your writing!

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