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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Overview Markets: Part Four: Manuscript Preparation

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

My apologies for the delay on Part Four.

Are you ready to send your article out? Have you lined up a list of potential markets? If one magazine says no thanks, get ready to send it to the next and keep going down your list.

At this point you’ve revised the content, done a spell check, made sure your computer program used the right word such as from and not form, checked for extra space breaks, had an impartial reader give you feedback and have followed all the submission requirements re word count, font size, and margins if required. Now take a close look at overall clarity.

In his book, The First Five Pages, Noah Lukeman divides the primary reasons that manuscripts get rejected by editors into three main categories: Preliminary Problems, Dialogue, and The Bigger Picture.

Preliminary problems include the normal spelling, grammar and punctuation but go beyond to include word choice, weak sentences, presentation, style and Lukeman also adds sound, style, adjectives and adverbs. 

Basically look at your language to make sure it said what you want it to say. Make your words count. Make your sentences active with strong verbs.

            Does your opening include a clear topic plus your position/attitude? Is it interesting? Create curiosity? Attract a reader’s attention? Indicate a plan of development or a preview of points to be covered? Why will your readers want to read more?
Paragraph Clarity

Unity: Is there a clear opening statement of the main point?
            Is the material on target in support?

Support: Is there specific evidence to support the opening point?
               Is there enough specific evidence?

Clarity: Are they distinct, easily and correctly understood, not only grammatically but also in concept?


 Does the article have a clear method of organization? Are transitions and other connecting words used to tie the material together easily?

Is the conclusion satisfying? Did it tie up the article topic without restating or summarizing the main points? Did it reach out to make personal or universal observations about the implications of the theme? For the age audience do you have next steps to suggest to build upon their curiosity?

Action Steps:

                        1. Send out your article. :) 

Share: What is your topic and age category you chose? Or share your opening sentence.

Read deep, marcy

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Overview Markets: Part Three: One Sheet: Sample

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

Here is an excerpt from my one sheet for my novel Lightbearer. It was set on the left hand side of the page with my bio on the bottom right. On the actual one sheet it is framed in an invisible box, which sets the following material up almost as a poem in 28 lines. This was important to me as it helped visualize the tone of the story.

You’ll notice that it gives genre, age category (implied by young man), main character, and story question. Basically enough to see if anyone is interested. It’s still general because I don’t know under what circumstances it will be read, so I’m not giving all the details yet.

Concrete specifics will come in the proposal. Then you will need to give the plot line and ending. Note too that some of this introduction material also appears later on the back cover as well as marketing text.

In the land of Lorica, in a place beyond time where prophecies
have been lost in ancient history and only myth
and legend remain intertwined with history, a Ka’hane arrives.

“Ask yourself what would fill you with shame or shrink
your soul to do day after day. Ask yourself what would be worth
dying for or even harder, living, for, with no hope of reward
or recognition or assurance you had chosen rightly. Especially
when the Darkness returns. What will you choose then?”

Jonne, a young man on the brink of vocation in Lorica,
is jolted by the stranger’s piercing remarks which lead him
to emotional, spiritual, and relational struggles as he tries to discover
the timeless question of his purpose and identity by becoming
a Lightbearer, a vocation people no longer even believe exists
or is relevant. The Lightbearers are a faithful remnant that stand
as watchmen for El Olam, God everlasting.

            Share: What is your first question re this story after reading this invitation to read it? Or what details would cause you to say not interested?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Overview Markets: Part Three: One Sheet

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

One-Page Sell Sheet
1) To Pitch

Think of it as a visual pitch and cover letter together, but with a shorter bio. Author Terry Burns says “it is a page with key information in that an editor can pull out and take to a committee meeting to pitch the book.” He includes an attention getting phrase or question as title. Once again: 1. This is my product. 2. Are you interested?

A potential series can be included here as well as in the cover letter.

One editor I know occasionally opens the calendar door for one-sheet submissions. He clearly states some specifics he wants to see. If he is interested he then requests a brief proposal: a cover letter, a one-page synopsis and three chapters. What I appreciate is the quick response. It’s an immediate—yes or no possibility. One caution though when submitting a one-sheet for a novel or longer non-fiction. Be sure the first or even second draft is complete. When a publishing house asks for one-sheet submissions they are usually looking for a completed project not an idea.

However often magazines and journals have specific topics or set themes and are looking for fresh perspective. One author I know writes regularly for a well-read audience but she has to wait for an email invitation from the senior editor to pitch. The timing is tight. If they say yes, she needs to be able to write up the article within a few weeks. So she sends two or three different pitches in different categories, as she doesn’t know where exactly the ‘holes’ are. Often her pitch might not fit the required immediate timing, but often her ideas will get a follow up invitation for the next edition.

2) To Prepare

Keep your own set of one-sheet ideas. Then if an opportunity opens you will be ready.

For example, you’ve noticed in your research that often the fall/winter issues that request nature might use pieces on hibernation. You’ve followed all the guidelines and polished your article till it shines. But they just bought one. No worries. Because of your research you have two or three alternatives that would be related without overlapping.

So whenever you research an article, make one-sheet list of possible sidebar or additional ideas to keep for your own file. When you have captured a child’s curiosity and hunger for discovery the best question is what comes next or how or why or where?

Think of your articles as stepping-stones. And from the research on your novel you will have a potential series of non-fiction pieces for either magazines, or blog material, or marketing.

Just as a query letter, or cover letter keep them succinct and inviting.

On Saturday I will post an example from my novel.

Action Steps:

1.     Take your query letter from the last blog and turn it into a one-sheet.

2.     Make a list of side topics to go with your main pitch.

3.     Turn them into one-sheets.

4.     Make a list of any information you now need to fully develop these ideas angles into article or a longer project.

Share: How many article angles do you have from your original topic?

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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