Monday, December 7, 2009

Changing Your Story's Genre - Children's Writing Pitfalls to Look Out For

I recently finished a fantasy story originally geared toward middle grade. Realizing it wasn't long enough (not enough words) for a middle grade story, I changed it to a chapter book.  Good idea, right?

Yes it is, but if you do something like this, you need to remember to check the age appropriateness of the words you originally used. You might ask why this necessary...well, it's the difference between an editor giving your story a second glance, or not.

It's so important that some publishers ask what grade level your book is geared toward. You had better make sure the vocabulary of your story and the intended audience are a match.

What exactly do I mean? Let's use an example:

The boy performed amazing magic. Was it an illusion or real magic?

If you were writing this for a 6th grader, the word illusion would be fine, but say you are writing for a 3rd or 4th grader...then you'll need to change that word.

According to a book that provides words for children's writers, "illusion" is in the 6th grader's vocabulary. You would need to change it to a word such as trick or fake to make it age appropriate for a 3rd grader.

The use of words goes far beyond that of choosing age correct words, they can be used to say the same thing using different words. Words are so amazing!

Next post will be about three great resources, including the name of the book I mention above, for finding words suitable for particular ages.

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Donna M. McDine said...
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Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Thanks for stopping by Donna!