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Prevent Plot Problems with Your Children's Book

Not all plots are the same, but some common plot problems can creep into your children's story when you’re not looking. Here are a few guidelines about approaches you should avoid so as not to muck up your plot:

  • Action with no actor: When you’re writing a scene, make it clear who’s doing the action. Don’t make your reader hunt around previous or successive paragraphs to figure out who is the star of the scene.

  • Actor with no action: Don’t go on and on about a character — any character — without making sure he does something relevant to the plot. In other words, if you find yourself mired in lots of description or backstory or pages of dialogue in a row, your character and your plot are not moving forward.

  • Scene it once, scene it twice, but never thrice (or more): Although some writers like to write from different points of view (POVs) in alternating chapters, it’s not a good idea to repeat a scene just so we see it from another character’s POV. We got it the first time. Now move on.

    Never try this storytelling tactic unless you have character bibles for each character with a POV. You have to know your character very well so you get his or her voice down pat.

  • Not-so-lovely loose ends: Remember that character you introduced in the second chapter? The one who was giving your main character a hard enough time for you to mention him by first — and maybe even last — name and spend an entire chapter on him? Make sure you let the reader know by the end of the story what happened to him.

    Don’t leave any of your plot points without some kind of closure, either. There are plenty of readers out there who will notice — and who will hate it. Conversely, don’t go on and on belaboring the ending. Make it short and sweet.

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