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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Overview Nonfiction: Target

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

“Information is useful, it is palatable, it is fascinating. And it is compelling to the reader.” Jane Yolen

Target= Why plus what plus who.

Jane Yolen also adds that all the information needs to become recognition.

As a result of brainstorming and initial research you now have some ideas you’d like to explore as potential articles or chapters. Now begins a tighter focus to connect with your intended audience and make the information you’d like to share recognizable to them specifically—even though you may be dealing with a completely new concept for your age category.

The age now determines your vocabulary, your style of presentation, which examples will be most effective, and how much research to share. Also if you have a particular market that you plan to submit to, you will need to gauge the length as well but not on your first draft.

Subject and style: abstract versus concrete, objective versus opinion, vocabulary level, subtle or precise are all target aspects to consider once you know the overall effect you choose.

One vocabulary detail to remember is that children don’t usually begin to think in abstract terms before age ten so until then metaphors might be very confusing and too abstract. But a simile might work especially for the very young who want to understand everything.

For example, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, combines many concepts throughout his story: numbers, food, days of the week, growing size, a chrysalis and metamorphosis.

His through narrative line is hunger, which he announces in the title and continues through each page. Even without knowing vocabulary words a one-year old understands being hungry.

Eric Carle walks the tiny caterpillar through a week of eating and growing larger every day. “On Tuesday he ate through two pears but he was still hungry.”  By centering the young reader with a day-to-day reality he becomes ready for the science that is too abstract for terms yet but concrete.

“He built a small house called a cocoon around himself.” A new word is introduced alongside the reality of being wrapped up. A chrysalis is visual on the page. Again a toddler will connect with the idea and image.

“He stayed inside for more than two weeks.” Carle gives information that may not be understandable yet but stays true to the development of metamorphosis. When the now big caterpillar ate his way out of the cocoon, “he was a beautiful butterfly.”

The same undergirding concept of hunger and caterpillars would work all the way up to a college level audience by adding increasing information, language, and appropriate science theory. 

The target question is still what overall effect do you want your readers to leave with? Will this be a sense of the wonder that undergirds science, an example to explore an art project, or a how-to project to examine?

Action Steps:
1.Choose your age target’s vocabulary level and main examples to use to connect with them.

2. Make a list of the information you intend to share. What will their age group recognize immediately and what will need explanation?

3. Make a list of potential metaphors or similes.

Share: Which metaphor or simile makes you smile?

Read deep, marcy

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