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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Overview Nonfiction: Timeless: How-To

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

On the surface a how-to seems almost self-explanatory but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget a key detail. This is rich territory for any age but especially for ages five and up as these subjects combine details and information with curiosity and possible future inspiration.

How-to pieces go beyond arts and craft projects to exercise, finances, organization skills, doing chores, and sharing talents.

Keep it truthful. Keep it simple. Keep it accurate. Keep it doable.

Truthful. Make a connection with your reader. Are you sharing from a love of your information? Did you totally mess up the first time you tried to make this topic yourself and have a funny story to tell? Is it something important to know how to do but can also be dangerous if done incorrectly—like a teenager learning to change a tire? Don’t make light of any complications, but be sure to give solutions. Share=Connection.

Simple. Precise. Concise. Step-by-step instructions. Take time to explain a word that might be unfamiliar or confusing. Don’t make assumptions. Give a detailed list of requirements both in material and time and potential cost.

Accurate. Point out the potential glitches. Is there stage where they will need help? For the very young enable them to understand waiting time. Are there any potential dangers that older teens or adults need to be aware of? Food allergies or something can become slippery. Protect eyes or need gloves?

Doable. Personalize again. How much fun? How many more times? What possible projects can come next or expand or new ideas to follow up on. Make other possible connections.

How to Build a Kite can connect to arts and crafts, a family outing, a party, building skills, types of tools, and supplies.
How to Fly a Kite can connect to skills needed and festivals and history and types.
How to Know Where to Fly a Kite can lead to a study of wind and environment.

How-to can also be woven into narrative stories either from the viewpoint of a fictional character, a personal memory of your first time trying it out, or as an interview.

The goal is for readers to be excited to try it for themselves and not just see a list that they hold and say, “Do I have to?”

Action Steps:
1.     Make a list of any how-to side subjects that might connect with your article from last week.

2.     Then choose one and see how many parts or angles you could develop.

3.     Choose two and write them up: one as a brief sidebar, and one as a whole article itself.

4.     Look up some possible magazine markets to submit to. Remember that magazines sometimes work a year ahead, so submitting an article in the fall for the following summer, or vice versa, is not unusual.

Share: The title of your article.

Read deep, marcy

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