Going to the New York SCBWI conference (Picture taken by Debbie Ridpath Ohi) made me want to sing. The atmosphere crackled with creativity, and I came home overflowing with inspiration and blissful melodies. Connecting with my tribe motivated me to get my manuscripts ready to submit. The conference reminded me of these 3 ways to make my story sing!
1. Read (or sing!) your manuscript out loud.
If you write picture books, this will be easy. Emma Walton Hamilton says you should read your picture book aloud 10 times! Even if you write middle grade or YA, Jordan Brown insists that your manuscript is not ready unless you have read your entire manuscript out loud. Reading our stories aloud helps us notice problems with plot, pacing, tension, and grammar. If we read our stories aloud to our target audience, we can also learn when the manuscript works (or doesn't) by paying attention to our audience.
2. Confirm that your story shows the most important event (or melody!) in your main character's life.
If the stakes aren't high for your character, the story won't be interesting to read or write! If you write about the most important event in your main character's life, your book is much more likely to resonate with people. Kami Garcia says that that finding the right book at the right time changes lives.
3. Know about recently published books that sing and compare to your manuscript. Know how your story's melody is different.
Jessica Garrison and Jordan Brown both said that publishers want to see something that is current, yet different from other things that are already published. Knowing the market helps you know if your story is something that people will want to read. And that's what it's all about, isn't it?
Kirsti Call is a homeschooling mom of five. Her debut picture book, The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall, came out December 2013. Her family band, Calling Out, plays songs written by her children. She contributes to Writer's Rumpus, and Kids are Writers. If you visit her house, you’ll likely find her singing and getting ready to submit stories that sing. You can find out more about her at www.kirsticall.com.
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