August 7, 2020– Who is telling a story, and from what perspective, are some of the most important choices an author makes. Told from a different point of view, a story can transform completely. Third person, first person, and second person perspectives each have unique possibilities and constraints. So how do you choose a point of view for your story? Rebekah Bergman explores the different ways to focus a story. (Directed by Gibbons Studio, narrated by Susan Zimmerman, music by Fred Roux.)
October 23, 2019– We’ve all been there. Pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, we’ve all written scenes that don’t work; they’re boring and bland and we sit staring into the abyss wondering where we went wrong. The good news is that we can fix it! Here’s how…by using our five senses.
- Sight-What is around your character? What do they see from their point of view? Are there landmarks? Describe in detail what your character sees. It’s better to write too much and pare down afterward, than it is to write too little.
- Sound-What does your character hear? Is there dialogue? Is more dialogue needed? Do they hear their own thoughts? Is there internal dialogue between the character in their head?
- Smell-What does your character smell? Is there the scent of salty ocean air? Fresh baked cookies? Rotting flesh? That escalated quickly, but you get my point.
- Taste-What does your character taste? Blood from biting their tongue? Vomit? Coffee? The taste of someone else?
- Touch-What does your character feel? Do they feel the softness of cashmere against their skin? Do they feel the brush of another character’s hand against their own? Do they feel cold metal against their temple?
Here’s the thing, it’s important to write and get the words on paper before you can even think of editing them. When you do find a scene that needs a bit of meat on it or that is boring, use your five senses to expand the part and then edit from there. Happy Writing! X LLB
May 29, 2019– Book editors are essential and very expensive; their expertise comes at a price, but their advice is invaluable! Here’s an awesome infographic that explains the different types of book editors and what they do as well as when you’ll need them in the writing process, brought to you by our friends at savannahgilbo.com.
February 1, 2019– Things come in waves around here and I think that it’s kind of funny; sometimes all I’ll receive is middle-grade manuscripts, then the next time I’ll receive sci-fi submissions, and lately everyone seems to be sending me their ideas for children’s books. Since I’ve had such an influx of kid’s book submissions, let’s talk about how to better your chances of getting a picture book deal with my house.
There have been a ton of incorrectly submitted kid’s book queries and manuscripts in their entirety sent to me as of late (we’ll talk about queries in another post) so I thought that I’d be very specific on what to submit.
- Time– Know that if you do get a deal signed with me, your book (any book) will take 2-5 years to hit the shelf. If this is too much time for you to wait then you have bigger problems and this industry will eat you alive. Patience is of the essence and great things take time. We are not in the business of rushing a book, throwing it on the shelf, and hoping for the best. Every single thing is calculated beforehand in terms of a marketing plan, securing the best illustrator for the project, editing the manuscript, obtaining dates for book signings, and cover design. If you’re not in this for the long haul and don’t have a ton of patience, you’re going to be in trouble.
- Word Count– Is your picture book between 250-800 words? My personal preference for this type of book is 600-800 words. I prefer this length because it gives us time to get the story across and create a compelling character without leaving any loose ends.
- Character– Is your story character driven? Is your character relatable? Does the character participate in a universal childhood experience? If your story is none of these or only one of these, it’s back to the drawing board for you. Don’t bother submitting because you aren’t ready and you don’t understand your market.
- POV- Which point of view is your story told from? There’s
onlyone that matters and it’s the child’s point of view. Don’t make mom or dad the main character. Kids see the world from their perspective and not ours. This means that if they’re in a grocery store forexample, they probably won’t be able to reach a box of cereal from the top shelf. Or maybe it’s a mass of people in the store and the child comes to eye level with everyone’s butts. You get the point (of view).
- Fresh-Is your story something new, fresh, and from a different angle? Let’s use the universal childhood experience again; picky eater books all read the same except for the very good ones. Dragons Love Tacos is a perfect example of a good one because it deals with foods that kids hate, but it puts a fresh and fun spin on it. Sure, making tacos for dragons may not be a universal childhood experience, but not liking certain foods is! Another awesome example of a fresh, different angle kid’s book is The Day the Crayons Quit. Talk about genius!
- Kids-And perhaps the most important question of all is, will your book appeal to kids? They are the target audience and if they don’t like it, you can believe that their parents won’t buy it for them. If you’re not writing with kids in mind, then you shouldn’t be writing for kids in the first place.
There you have it! Before sending in your work, know the rules above and I promise that you’ll better your chances of working with us. X LLB
June 11, 2018– Are you making any of these mistakes while storytelling? If so, STOP! Your writing and sales depend on it.
- You’re not telling the story that you want to tell. This means that you care too much about what’s trendy, what’s popular, and what other people are currently reading. This may sound harmless, but what happens is that if you’re writing for trends, you’ve probably already missed the boat and the concept has been done to death. Write what YOU want to read, and you’ll never go wrong!
- A weak opening. The first couple of sentences of your novel are CRUCIAL. Why? Because people will stop reading if they get bored. Start where the action is!
- Terrible narrative. Terrible narrative makes me mental. Seriously. If you’re not going to sit your reader beside the main character then what’s the point? Your readers need to care about the character, and one of the best ways to do this is to ensure that they FEEL and EXPERIENCE everything your protagonist does. Your novel is an escape for your reader, you want to take them away to another place and you can’t do this if you have horrible narrative. Pick a point of view and stick to it.
These are just three tips in a myriad of thousands, but I think they’re very important! Here’s to your success!