Guest Post: Editing for Children by Stephanie Faris

I’ve always known that writing for children was a lot harder than writing for adults. The author has to get it just right or their young minds wander and then they are done.

Today I have a children’s author willing to share the secrets of her editing process. pull up a chair and welcome Stephanie Farris.

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I feel like I’ve been edited in almost every genre imaginable. I started my career as an aspiring romance novelist and although I was never published, I had plenty of revision requests to teach me what romance editing was like. I also wrote for confessions magazines like True Story and went through multiple drafts, although those edits were mostly self-inflicted!

As a professional freelance writer, I deal with daily edits on the nonfiction pieces I write. In fact, I spent part of today editing an article on business marketing. At its very foundation, editing is editing is editing. However, children’s writing can be different from any other type of writing you’ll ever do, and the editing process is definitely different!

Editing for Voice

Voice is critical when writing for children. My chapter books have a completely different tone and sentence structure than my middle grade novels. Not only do my editors have to look for typos and grammatical errors, but they have to make sure I’m capturing the voice for the age group with every sentence I write. When we decided to age Piper up to seven from her Junie B. Jones-inspired age of FIVE, that meant a great deal of rewriting. But once we got the voice down for the first book, I could carry it forward to the books that followed.

Editing for Age Appropriateness

If you write for anyone under the age of sixteen or so, you always have to keep in mind that you’re writing for impressionable young people. This is especially true of picture books, chapter books, and middle grade fiction. Even with my middle grade books, I find some parents get upset if the characters have crushes or (God forbid!) kiss. Since the books are recommended for children between the ages of nine and thirteen or so, my editor keeps those things in mind, as well. Some of my edits have simply been to keep the books age appropriate.

Editing for Continuity

Piper Morgan is a series, and sometimes months pass between writing the next book. That means I need to go back and refresh my memory every time! Fortunately, if I miss something, my editor is always there to catch it, like a fairy godmother. But I suspect this type of editing isn’t limited to children’s writing. It’s something you take on if you decide to do a series.

Children’s fiction is challenging and fun, whether you’re plotting, writing, or revising your latest manuscript. I’ve been very lucky to have extremely talented editors who catch things I miss during the revision process. Without them, I can honestly say my books wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are!

 

 

Piper Morgan Makes a Splash

By Stephanie Faris

 
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About the Book:

Piper Morgan tries her hand at acting in the fourth book of the charming Piper Morgan series.

Piper’s mom is helping out at a local pool shop, and the owner wants to shoot a commercial for his store. Piper thinks it’s the PERFECT opportunity to get in front of the camera and experience a little bit of showbiz. But will Piper’s contribution to the TV commercial make a splash—or will it go belly-up?

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

About Stephanie:

 

Stephanie Faris is the author of the middle grade books 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the Piper Morgan chapter book series. An accomplished freelance writer, her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Pacific Standard, Mental Floss, and The Week, among many others.

Contact Links:

 Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

 

 

IWSG 35: Passing On The A to Z Challenge

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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April IWSG Day Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Co-Hosts:
Christopher D. Votey Madeline Mora-Summonte
Fundy Blue Chrys Fey

To be honest when I look at different ways to promote my stomach clenches. So I will probably never participate in the A to Z Challenge. Although, I’ve thought of different things I might try.

Telling a story in 26 pieces is the one that appeals most.

But here’s the thing, I’m too insecure to post a story without an editor going through it.

The only thing I’ve put out there without the professional touch is my blog and no doubt there have been glaring errors I’ve missed that my readers did not.

So what’s a girl to do? I have a rep to consider.

I’m nervous enough when a trained professional has given it their approval. Even then I still feel like I’m running around naked. Trust me. No one deserves that.

What about you? Would you publish anything (besides a blog) without professional help?

Conflict Through Crisis 2

Last week I shared what I learned at SWiC16 when Daniel José Older spoke about moments that change lives. Here’s the link.

Moments of crisis.

A crisis in a character’s life is the moment the story begins. All the moments after it are the realigning of their life back into balance. It’s this search for balance and attempt to make sense out of these events that creates the character arc.

It’s a natural response to:

  • An unstable time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome
  • A condition of instability or danger, leading to a decisive change.
  • A dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.
  • The point in a play or story at which hostile elements are most tensely opposed to each other.
  • A time of intense difficulty or danger.
  • A time when a difficult or important decision must be made
  • A crisis is a situation in which something or someone is affected by one or more very serious problems.

Thank you Daniel for you insight into creating a better character and story through crisis.

What crisis would you use to intensify your character arcs?

Conflict Through Crisis 1

When I was away at the SWiC16, Daniel José Older was a keynote speaker. He talked about working as a medic.  Some stories were funny, lighthearted and others cut a little deep.

What cut deep?

That all of us have moments in our lives that bring about change. They are moments that leave a mark. Once they occur, we  are forever different and carry that moment with us forever.

They can happen when reading an outstanding book, through spiritual enlightenment or a religious experience, meeting someone who becomes a part of our life,  or witnessing/surviving an event.

These moments build our character and make us the people we are today. Whether we were brave about it or not doesn’t matter. What matters is how we let these moments change us.

After a crisis it is impossible to continue as if it didn’t happen.

For example, although doctors face life and death daily, they still go home and live their lives. The life and death events do not affect them on a personal level.

However, a near death experience can be life altering.

Have you ever used a personal crisis within your story and did help build the tension as you intended?

Writing External Conflict

It can be defined as anything getting between the protagonist and their goal. The easiest example is the antagonist. The measure of tension is based on the determination between the antagonist and protagonist. The more cunning, and skillful the antagonist the harder the hero must work to succeed.

One thing to keep in mind is the main antagonist of the story doesn’t have to been in ever scene. In some cases, other things get in the way of the hero’s success.

In a scene the antagonist can be anything from the setting to a ally.

Some examples a protagonist may face are:

  • Any character determined to stop them
  • Settings: a flood, blizzard, unfamiliar location, imprisonment, stuck on the road with motor trouble
  • A group of characters: law makers, rule enforcers, and simple peer pressure
  • Consequence from an event: broken bone or other physical damage, loss of memory, loss of transportation, loss of support and/or trust, loss of safety net

Throughout the story there will be all kinds of things to challenge the hero and their success. What’s your favorite?

Gleaned from: