Writing Children's Books For Dummies
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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.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Lisa Rojany is a writer and publishing professional. Lisa has her own company, Editorial Services of L.A., for writers of fiction and nonfiction.

Peter Economy is a Wall Street Journal best-selling business author and ghostwriter with more than 125 books to his credit, including multiple For Dummies titles.

Bob Nelson (San Diego, CA) is founder and president of Nelson Motivation, Inc., a management training and consulting firm based in San Diego, California. As a practicing manager and a best-selling author, he is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of employee recognition, rewards, motivation, morale, retention, productivity, and management. He is author of the bestselling book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees (Workman) — which has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide — and coauthor of the best-selling book Managing For Dummies, 2nd Edition, with Peter Economy (Wiley), as well as 18 other books on management and motivation.
Bob has been featured extensively in the media, including television appearances on CNN, CNBC, PBS, and MSNBC; radio appearances on NPR, USA Radio Network and the Business News Network; and print appearances in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and many more. He writes a weekly column for American City Business Journals and a monthly column for Corporate Meetings & Incentives, among others.
Dr. Nelson received his PhD in management from The Peter F. Drucker Graduate Management Center of Claremont Graduate University in suburban Los Angeles, and received his MBA in organizational behavior from The University of California at Berkeley. For more information on products and services offered by Nelson Motivation, Inc. — including speaking or consulting services — call 800-575-5521. Visit Bob at his Web site: www.nelsonmotivation.com.

Peter Economy (La Jolla, CA) is a freelance business writer and publishing consultant who is associate editor of the Apex award-winning magazine Leader to Leader, and coauthor of the best-selling book Managing For Dummies, 2nd Edition, with Bob Nelson (Wiley), Giving Back with Bert Berkley (Wiley), The SAIC Solution with J. Robert Beyster (Wiley), as well as the author or coauthor of more than 30 other books on a wide variety of business and other topics. Visit Peter at his Web site: www.petereconomy.com and be sure to check out his Free Book Project at: www.booksforfree.org.

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