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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Overview Nonfiction: Timeless Styles

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

Topic =why plus what plus who plus how

Last week, for your article in progress, you have now chosen a potential style, a purpose, an audience, an age, and perhaps a voice. Now we’ll look at a few different style approaches over the next few weeks.

Basically there are four main types of books: biography, history, science, and how-to. They often overlap but the underlying core purpose will designate the foundation category.

The top timeless requests for magazine are: how to, informational, interesting personality, and self-development. Depending on your subject you may be able to get a feel for audience interest by taking sections of a proposed book and write articles from the chapters or as a blog. It’s a good way to test the waters as you plan.

For example, suppose you are fascinated by Abraham Lincoln and although there are several books written about him, you feel some of them are out-dated and old-fashioned in presentation and you’d like to inspire a new generation.

Would your potential biography be chronological, or specific highlights, or one key aspect, such as determination or honesty?

From your research and interest you want to choose which slant you want to share about your subject and how to shape it. What pattern looks the most interesting?

If you were writing a book on transportation, would you only include all transportation with wheels or only bicycles or only a particular kind of bicycle? How could that fit into a story about the history of bicycles?

For the next four weeks we’ll look at the specific magazine article styles. Choose four main points to consider for your topic as you do the action step below.

Also begin now to consider and experiment with your tone of choice. Articles and essays sometimes land under the same categories, but they do have a subtle difference that is defined by your primary purpose and audience again. Articles lean towards information delivery and an objective voice. Essays are often more subjective in attitude and explorative in presentation.

Action Steps:

            Viking Children’s Books listed their interest in these topics in the edition of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market 2017.
            “NONFICTION All levels: biography, concept, history, multicultural, music/dance, nature/environment, science and sports.”

1. Under which category do you think your subject would fit best? Why?

2. Suppose you have a biographical topic that represents a musician that falls into both music and multicultural. Which category do you think should be the primary focus?

3. Look up their catalogue and see if they already have books on your person, and/or someone similar in topic. Or a series? Is there a pattern? A missing space you could fill?

4. If you have a particular magazine you are interesting in submitting to, read several issues and note whether they lean towards an article style or an essay style of tone and voice.

Share: What primary category has your attention? Why?

Read deep, marcy

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