For questions, please contact Young Writers parent volunteer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Decide on a topic to write about.
Talk with others about your ideas.
Write about something you know, understand, or can find out about.
Write the kind of story or book you would like to read.
Get your ideas on paper.
Write your first draft on lined paper. Leave a space between each line so you can edit later. Write without worrying about spelling or mechanics (rough draft).
Think about creating scenes or understandings with words.
It is usually best to have one main character that the story is about.
Give the characters interesting names: Betty or Melita? Bill or Darius?
Funny people might have funny names: Mr. Smith or Mr. Green Jeans?
Be sure your story has a plot. The plot might be the character solving a problem.
The first sentence should "grab" the reader.
Give your story an interesting title.
REVISING - CLARIFYING
Re-read your work. Try reading your story aloud.
Have someone else read your story aloud. Listen to it as a reader.
Did you tell the reader all you had hoped to tell?
Try to show - not tell:
Telling: Mark felt badly when he made the last out.
Showing: Mark dropped the bat and stumbled back to the dugout. Tears blurred his vision and he didn't dare look at his friends.
Use the 5 senses to help the reader "experience" your idea and make your story come alive. (Tell how things look, feel, smell, sound, or taste.)
Check for strong, colorful words:
He ran from the house, or he fled from the house. Try to create scenes with the words: The meadow danced with daffodils. Sunlight sparkled in the dusk while the spiders spun and the birds warbled.
Vary sentence length and structure.
PROOFREADING - POLISHING
Read your story to check your spelling, mechanics, and usage. Put your work aside for a short time and then re-read it.
Have another reader help you proofread and polish.
Make sure that the finished product is legible.
PREPARING to be PUBLISHED
Decide if you want to illustrate your manuscript.
Plan page breaks and illustrations.
Plan your front and back covers.
Include a brief autobiography using "All About the Author" page.
Include a dedication page to someone who helped you.
The final copy should be typed or re-written in your best manuscript or cursive writing.
YOUR BOOK SHOULD HAVE THE FOLLOWING:
SIZEThe size of your book's pages should be either 8½ x 11 inches or 5 ½ x 8 ½ inches.
PAGE FORMATEach page needs a straight 1 inch margin around all sides for binding.
PAGE LAYOUTPages need to be numbered in pencil. This will allow the publisher to layout the book using book formatting between chapters and to fit the total page count.
DO NOT USE BOTH SIDES OF YOUR PAPERImages and words can show through when scanned. Use one sheet of paper for each page to eliminate seeing “ghosting” images through the paper.
PAPER COLORUSE WHITE PAPER. It will provide the best results. When possible use white paper for your story and illustrations.
COVERThe cover MUST have: Book Title, Author (student's name), Illustrator (if applicable). The cover needs to maintain the 1 inch border on all sides. The cover can include an illustration or photo in addition to the required text.
TITLE PAGEThe title page must contain: Book Title, Author (child's name), Illustrator, Grade, Teacher, School, and Date. (You may use the attached sample "Title Page").
DEDICATION PAGETo whom the book is dedicated. (optional page)
YOUR STORYThe story may be hand written or typed. Please proofread before submitting your final copy. The pages should be numbered in pencil and may contain illustrations. See "Tips for the Writing Process".
ILLUSTRATIONSIllustrations are optional and may be done by the author or by someone else.
AUTHOR PAGEThis page is an informational page about the author. (You may use the "All About the Author" page included in this packet.) A picture may be attached.
PUBLISHED BOOKThe Young Writers Committee will be producing a soft cover published book. All pages will be scanned to produce an electronic version of the book, if they are not produced digitally. If you choose to provide a digital copy with scanned illustrations please provide a jpg or pdf file. Digital books with drawn illustrations are also acceptable. The images must have a page number to ensure the right placement within the book. The images will be scanned and added to the book.
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