Imagine you’ve spent months, or even years trying to create a children’s story that you think has just the right ingredients to be THE one. You can hardly wait to dash your perfect story off to the publisher. You might be in a hurry to submit it, but before you make a hasty decision, you need to cover your bases. What are some of the things you need to check out? Well, some of the things might be easy to overlook.
Double Space Your Manuscript
What happens if you forget to double space your manuscript? Unfortunately, the editor will probably toss it into the dreaded circular file! Why would he or she do that to your masterpiece? Remember that editors are busy people. If your story is single-spaced, it’s too time consuming and difficult to read, especially when time is precious.
What are some of the other steps you need to take to be sure your story is ready for prime time? Did you remember to check for typing mistakes, or spelling errors? These details are important, because if you submit an article with sloppy sentence structure, spelling errors, or awkward sentences, a rejection letting will be in your mailbox soon. Remember to read and reread your story. It can be tiring to edit your story for hours on end, so you’d be wise to take a break. Go for a walk, or do something you enjoy and come back to your writing later, when you’re refreshed. You may even decide to wait till the next day before you have another look at it. It’ll give you a fresh perspective so you’ll notice things you’ve missed previously.
Does your story have a good opening, with action? Will it hook your reader so he or she won’t want to put it down?
Did you remember to include enough conflict in the story? You know that conflict is the problem that gives your story suspense. Did you remember to make your main character about the same age as your readers so that they will relate to your character? These are all things that will help make your story more appealing.
You’ll want to be sure that your readers can understand the words you’ve written, so you can check “Children’s Writer’s Word Book” by Alijandra Migilner (Writer’s Digest Books) for children’s stores between grades 1-6. It also contains valuable publishing information geared toward children.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Finally, are you ready to “own” your work? Are you proud to sign your name to it? Are you positive that your best effort will be on display for your readers? This is an important step to take before your story is ready for submission. Have you done the necessary revisions, or are you settling for your first draft? So many things can change between the first draft and the finished product, in my view.
In summary, here’s a checklist to help you include keys to success:
1. Is your manuscript in the proper format that your publisher recommends?
2. Is your opening riveting so your reader will be mesmerized by it?
3. Have you checked carefully for spelling, grammar, and typing errors?
4. Are you proud to put your name on your work?
If you’ve followed these steps, I’ll bet you’re going to be thrilled with your final results and your publisher will find it irresistible. Congratulations!