You know what children’s book format you want to write in. What do you do next?
Say, you want to write a picture book … read the post, To Draw or Not To Draw? and come back…
I’m glad we got that out of the way. Let’s talk about the meat and potatoes of this business: writing. It all starts here. I’m going to assume you can form a basic sentence. If you can’t, here are a few books you’ll want to read or at least have handy. (Don’t worry about writing this down now. I’ve provided a list of all of my favorite things that have received the C LIU Seal of Approval on the Faves page).
- The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print.
- A dictionary (Merriam Webster’s is the industry standard)
- A thesaurus (Roget’s)
Great! We’re ready. But wait … before you begin you might want to have some idea how long your work should be. Depending on the book format, word count ranges vary. Nothing is set in stone, especially when you get to middle grade and teen novels. But there are guidelines floating around. … Read this post to get a sense of how long does a book have to be.
Now you have some idea of how much you need to write. You sit in front of your computer and crack your knuckles. Then you type your first words. Uh oh … Where do I put my title? My byline? What font should I use? This post shares how to format your manuscript (see example).
We’re poised to write again. We type our second, third, fourth words. Our fingers vibrate with the creative juices of our minds. Our first character speaks. Oh-no. Do I indent this? Where do I put the quotes? When do I capitalize? Should I start a new paragraph? We consult The Elements of Style. E.B. White provides many of the answers, but…we need more. Thankfully, we have a copy of this on our desk: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print.
We type. We chug gallons of coffee. We take our meals at our desk and wear the same outfit for weeks. We finish the last page and then we grip the manuscript in our hands. Tears stream down our face. We sob with joy and declare, “THIS IS IT!”
Time for Step Four – Make It Good.