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Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Drew’

Guest Post: Take Aim and Target Your Children’s Writing by Valerie Allen

In Guest Blogger, writing on November 25, 2012 at 12:01 am

As a children’s author myself, I am particularly pleased to welcome this week’s Guest Blogger, Valerie Allen. Valerie, who also presents workshops on the same subject, shares her philosophies on targeting specific audiences, and what to take into account when doing so. Welcome, Valerie, and thank you for being my guest.

To successfully reach their target audience, children’s writers must keep in mind four basic considerations: the child’s age, grade, reading level, and interests.

Age Level                                                                                                                             Most children enjoy reading about characters who are a few years older than they are. Children want to reach beyond their peers and experience possible future events in the here and now as they read. Most children’s books are written within an age range, for example, 6 to 9 years or 10 to 12 years.

Grade Level                                                                                                                       Grade level is usually an indication of a child’s reading skills, such as phonics, sight words, and comprehension. Books do not have to be written at an exact grade level, but within a grade range, such as preschool through Kindergarten, or sixth through eighth grade. Most computers can easily provide the reading level by grade. This is often written as 3.2 meaning third grade second month or 7.9, which means seventh grade ninth month. Keep in mind grade levels are based on the school year with September as the first month. A reading level of 4.5 would indicate the youngster is in January of the fourth grade.

Reading Level
A child’s reading level is not always the same as his or her grade level. Reading is based on comprehension as well as word attack skills.

There are 250 basic sight words, which make up approximately 70% of all reading. Most children have mastered these words by the end of third grade. Basic sight words are typically one, two, or three-letter words. An informal way to check your sight words is to highlight all of the little words on a given page of writing.
                                                                                                                                            Interests
Books based on hobbies and interests are varied and must be written within the youngster’s age, grade, and reading level. Vocabulary is critical in these books and the author often includes an index of terms and definitions, with or without diagrams. Both fiction and nonfiction can be used to engage youngsters in reading about their hobby or interest. Using the solar system as an example, you can write a book that:

1.  Describes the solar system and encourages learning and understanding
2. Provides facts, greatest moments, or important figures in space exploration
3.  Tells a story involving a child who wants to walk on the moon.

As adults we can make an instant connection with others when we mention Dick and Jane, Nancy Drew, or The Hardy Boys. Today’s young readers will connect with Hop on Pop, Harry Potter, and Pippy Longstocking. Helping children read for pleasure and information is the primary goal for an author of a children’s book. Creating those enjoyable memories that last a life time is the reward of writing for children.

Valerie Allen, psychologist, author, and speaker writes fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. Her two books for children in grades three to five are, Summer School for Smarties and Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends. She presents writing workshops for authors based on her book,Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged.

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Write, Publish, Sell! by Valerie Allen - Book cover
 

Find Your Passion, Find Happiness!

In Guest Blogger, writing on October 14, 2012 at 12:01 am

This week I am delighted to introduce my guest, author Marianne Spitzer, with her heart-felt post telling us about her various passions. One of which, of course, is writing. Welcome Marianne and thank you so much for being my guest.

There are many issues I feel passionate about. The first is my faith. I believe a relationship with God is the most Marianne Spitzer - Profile image on http://www.acblogger.wordpress.comimportant relationship I can have. If I trust in Him things will turn out the way they should.

I am also passionate about health issues. Cancer is the biggest of these. It has taken too many people from me including my grandmother, father and my son-in-law when he was only 37.

I am an emotional writer and when something happens in my life I write about it. It is usually the length of a short story, but after the words are on paper, I feel better. I write out feelings I can’t say out loud. It is very therapeutic, at least for me.

I have been writing since the sixth grade when my teacher told my mom that she should make sure I write something every day because someday I would write a book. I thought about it for years, but life has a way of detouring our plans. A husband, children, grandchildren, and all the joy and pain that come from life kept me from starting that novel. I had an idea and maybe thinking about it for years made it easier to write.

I divorced, my children grew up and left home and now my grandchildren do quite well without grandma around all the time. It was then that I decided it was time to tackle a novel. I also have rheumatoid arthritis which keeps me from doing a lot of outdoor physical activities. My lap top became a good friend. I am a night owl and I find the night a wonderful time to write mysteries and dream up plots and scenarios.

I wasn’t sure if I was ready to publish a novel and not sure how to go about it. I decided to first write short stories that I had told my granddaughter, Brittney, when she was young. I self-published Princess Brittney Stories to minimal success. It got my feet wet as they say and I tried a book of essays and I had a bit more success. I was ready to self-publish my first novel, Gypsy Spirits. When it began to sell, I was excited. I had already begun a second novel, The Letter, and also self-published it. It has been my best seller to date. I have finished writing the sequel to Gypsy Spirits entitled Annamarie and Magdalena. I am in the midst of editing it and will begin a sequel to The Letter during this November’s NaNoWriMo.

Since writing is my passion, I find it has helped me deal with the difficulties in my life caused by my Rheumatoid Arthritis. While others may be able to run and jump and go to fairs and carnivals walking from place to place, I can get lost in a world of my own making. A world no one except me understands. It’s a wonderful world where I can decide how my characters come to life or leave it. It’s a fun thing to do and I enjoy it immensely.

I feel passionately about the fact that everyone needs something to take them to a place that calms them and makes them happy. Our world is stressful and frightening at times. I find my calm place writing. I suggest you find yours whether it is knitting, woodworking, hiking, photography, or any of a number of things. Enjoy the happy things in your life and be blessed.

Bio:

Hi, I am a grandma of two wonderful grandkids and writing is my passion. I began writing when I was in grade school and never stopped. Everything about writing excites me. I love summer and star light, but snow and ice make my dislikes list. I love to read of course and some of my favorite writers are Wendy Corsi Staub, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. When I want something a bit scarier, I read Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft. Of course you can’t beat classics such as Dracula and Frankenstein. I prefer books over movies and have always loved mysteries since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book a long time ago.

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Marianne Spitzer, Author

Books by Marianne Spitzer

Gypsy Spirits on Amazon - Book cover Princess Brittney Stories on AmazonThe Letter on Amazon - Book cover The Hair Comb and The Crystal Ball on Amazon - Book cover

Annamarie and Magdalena - Coming soon - Book cover

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