Friday, November 27, 2009

Learn to Write Conflict in Children's Books

By Lisa Brunel

If you want to learn to write children's books, you should absolutely start by reading some of them, this is because after you have read a few, there are a few things that snap into focus. The first thing that you will likely notice is that all of these books have some sort of conflict that is resolved at the end, and after you have created a good character and a good setting, you are going to need a conflict or a difficulty that he or she needs to overcome. The conflict gives your character something to do, and something to fight for; essentially it gets the story off to a good start.

Remember that particularly if you are writing children's books, you do not need the conflict to be very large or very earthshaking. On the other hand, just because the conflict does not seem large or upsetting for you as the writer that doesn't mean that it can be the same for the character! Your character needs to be involved in the conflict, and they need to be dedicated to resolving it. Whether your character's conflict is conquering the monster under the bed or just wondering where the missing sock went, you'll find that he or she needs to be involved in solving it. If you can make your character care about the issue, you can likely make the audience care as well.

In some ways, children's books have the same requirements as adult books. Think about reading a story where the hero goes to the store to pick up some milk; unless something interesting was happening or unless something was being resolved, it would make for a dull read. A children's book where everyone goes to the zoo and looks at the animals might work for very young children who just want to look at the animals, but older children will swiftly want a story where "something happens," and if you want to learn to write, this is something that you need to provide your reader.

That being said, come up with a problem for your characters to solve. It can be a large effort or it can be a small one. Think about what your character wants and think about what he or she would do if that were taken away from them. A fraction of how you learn to write is going to be answering questions like this. Knowing your characters and what they want is extremely important, and you will find that once you give them a problem to solve, you have your story right there!

If you are interested in learning to write, remember that your conflict is going to be an important part of how your story will move forward. Remember that if you want to write children's books, conflict is going to be an important part of how you move ahead and what your needs are and you should learn to write conflict well. Take some time to recognize conflict in other people's children's books and to make sure that you understand how it is going to work in yours. Sign-up for the free newsletter that will bring you regular writing tips and articles, straight to your inbox, on writing for children. It's well worth checking out!

Article Source:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Reviewers for Your Book

Are you looking for attention from reviewers for your newly published or about to be published book?

I am pleased to announce a new program designed just for you. We will be emailing a monthly newsletter to our email database of more than 1,000 book reviewers. This will give you the opportunity to expose your book to reviewers at print/Internet magazines, daily/community newspapers, and television/radio stations.

To introduce this new program, we are offering a low introductory price of just $99 to include your book in our first monthly email scheduled for December 15th. We will include your provided front cover image, your 150-word or less description, and your contact information so that reviewers can contact you directly to request a review copy of your book. Be sure to have some of your book ready to send out.

There is no way to know for sure how many will request a review copy, however, if you don't do something to get the word out about your book, nothing will happen.

Contact us if you are interested: Book Reviewer Program

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Are You Up to Speed With Hyphenation?

By Rich Talbot

It's neither a dash nor an underscore (_), the hyphen (-) is a punctuation mark most commonly used to join two words to make one - and for such a small character, it has an important role in any text document. In fact the hyphen has an entire function dedicated to its use in Word 2007.

Hyphenation deals with the role of the hyphen when used to separate words at the end of a line. A word that appears at the end of a line, but is too long to fit completely on that line, can be hyphenated. This is especially helpful if turning the word to the next line avoids unsightly gaps in the text on the previous line.

Obviously the difficulty is that, when inserting a hyphen in a word at the end of a line, it does not form a permanent part of the spelling of the word. The rules for deciding where to insert a hyphen, therefore, can sometimes cause confusion. Some prefer to divide words between consonants - for example 'splen-dour'; and some between vowels - 'appreci-ate'. Words of one syllable should never be divided - for example 'rhythm'. As a rough guide, the hyphen should be positioned in the word at a place that eases reading the text.

Word 2007 has a sophisticated hyphenation function, which undertakes most of the decision-making for you. The hyphenation feature can be used to prevent gaps in lines when text is justified, or to make text more equal on lines when using 'ragged' copy. Hyphenation also prompts a better understanding and awareness of the shape of the words on a line, and enables the author to create a more professional and polished looking document.

The hyphenation feature can be set to automatically or manually hyphenate text, insert optional or non-breaking hyphens, and set the maximum amount of space allowed between a word and the right margin without hyphenating the word.

By selecting Automatic Hyphenation, when a word is too long to fit on to the end of a line, Word 2007 automatically hyphenates the word over two lines. Automatic Hyphenation is a great facility if you are confident of where a hyphen will be inserted. If the text is edited, then Word automatically re-hyphenates the altered text as required.

Manual hyphenation gives the author more control to select where a hyphen should or should not appear. Again if you edit the text, Word will offer any alternatives to new line breaks, and will not automatically hyphenate words. This is particularly useful when using compound nouns and verbs such as 'in-house' or 'e-mail' and where house style dictates the spelling.

An optional hyphen can be used when you want to ensure that a word will only be hyphenated at the end of a line in a certain place. For example, to ensure that the word nonhyphenated is never broken as 'nonhyphen-ated'. An optional hyphen can be inserted after 'non' and before 'hyphen'. To insert an optional hyphen, use the keys 'CTRL+HYPHEN'. To view optional hyphens, select the function Show and Hide from the Paragraph group on the Home tab.

A non-breaking hyphen can also be inserted in words or phrases that you do not want to be broken at the end of a line. For example in the sequence of numbers, 'Telephone: 555-5555' the telephone number should not be broken over a line.

A non-breaking hyphen can be typed to ensure that the number will not be split over two lines. To insert a non-breaking hyphen, click where the hyphen appears and key 'CTRL+SHIFT+HYPHEN'. Now the entire number will move on to the next line and will not be split at the hyphen point.

Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on Microsoft Word courses, please visit

Article Source:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Metaphors - How to Use Them When You Write

By Duncan Fisher

Everyone uses metaphors. Rightly so. They're a natural way to illustrate. Use them wrong, though, and they can really foul you up.

Don't want to get fouled up? Then know the 3 good rules about metaphors (and all other figures of speech, for these apply broadly).

1. Don't mix them. Saying something like "knowing the ropes paves the way for a fruitful harvest," for example, as I saw in a real memo once, is illogical. (Ropes, pavement, and agriculture have nothing to do with each other.) Why does logic matter? Because if you mix imagery like this, you'll rightly be accused of not thinking through what you're writing.

2. Don't set off your metaphor with "quotation marks" or the British 'inverted commas'. It's amateurish. Your reader is smart enough to know when you're using a figure of speech. You'd only use this punctuation if you were defining some unusual or made-up word. This is called a "neologism." Even with a neologism you'd only use quotation marks once, when you defined your new term; ever after, your reader wouldn't need them. Neologisms aren't usually metaphors, in any case. So just remember, no special punctuation for metaphors.

3. Make up your own metaphors. Don't use ones you've already heard. This is important. First, using someone else's one makes you look lazy, which you are. Second, because it's lazy, sooner or later you'll accidentally mix one, or you'll use one that isn't quite right for the situation. And you'll lose your credibility. So never talk about needles in haystacks, or taking bulls by the horns, or anything else you've heard before. Invent new ones.

Here is some vocabulary to be clear about. These are three terms you'll hear from time to time, whenever people are talking about figures of speech. A metaphor, technically, is an implied comparison, such as talking about all world being a stage, and the people on it players. A 'simile' (pronounced SIM-uh-lee) is the same idea, only more obvious, and it employs 'like' or 'as'. So, her tears fell like rain; her lips were sweet as wine. That's a simile. And finally: 'cliché'. This is what printers used to call the plate used for stereotype printing. Now it refers to any term, phrase, or idea that's repeated so often as to lose its meaning. (You can see why 'stereotype' is now used the way it is, too.) 'Wallowing in self-pity' is an example of a cliché. The term is overused. When it's applied imprecisely to a situation, it is said to be 'trite'.

Okay? Now stoke those fires, keep your powder dry, clear the decks, and write.

For 20 years Duncan Fisher, PhD, has been showing people how to get their writing chores done and out the door fast, no matter what kind of training they have (or don't have). He's got an easy system that guarantees your success! Duncan's motto? "Start writing now ... even if you can't write!" Visit him at today!

Article Source:

Who links to my website?