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Openings That Will Grab Your Reader

Here are just three of the many ways to open your nonfiction article or book for a juvenile audience:

Anecdotal
The evening is silent except for the rhythm of the cricket's song. Out of nowhere, a giant black glider soars from the darkening clouds toward the ground. There's a slight scratching sound followed by a tiny scream.

The barn owl, the fiercest hunter of the evening sky, has found its victim.

Quotation
"These waters foam pure white. Best keep your wits about you. And be ready to bail when I give the order." Those are the words of advice whitewater guide Jim Clemmons gives his crew before they take off down West Virginia's New River on board a flimsy rubber raft. Jim's crew will soon learn just how flimsy that raft is.

Statistics
The rain forest is home to more different species of plants and animals than any other habitat on earth. But this incredible habitat is dying. Every sixty seconds, an area of the rain forest the size of a football field is being destroyed.

This tip was taken from the course Fundamentals of Writing for Children

Writing for children can be both personally and professionally rewarding. It means returning to a child’s point of view, full of wonder when learning something new and letting your imagination run wild. Bright, curious young readers demand realistic compelling characters and exciting plots just as much – if not more – than their adult counterparts.

This workshop will teach you:

  • Fundamental techniques of writing stories for young readers that can be applied to fiction or nonfiction writing
  • How to create characters children can relate to, including dialogue basics
  • The elements of storytelling, including principles of a strong plot
  • The best way to begin your story, carrying through the middle, and fulfilling the story promise
  • How to find your voice and create your tone
  • The keys to successful rewriting and revision

Learn more about Fundamentals of Writing for Children

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Award-winning author Clare Chambers discusses the fear and excitement of switching genre gears in her new historical fiction novel, Small Pleasures.

Poetic Forms

Exquisite Corpse: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the exquisite corpse (or exquisite cadaver), a collaborative poem that would make a fun poetic game.

How Opening Ourselves to Other People Can Make Us Better Writers

How Opening Ourselves to Other People Can Make Us Better Writers

The writing process is both individual and communal, as receiving constructive feedback and outside encouragement helps our drafts become finished manuscripts. Author Peri Chickering discusses how opening ourselves up to others can make us better writers.

What Forensic Science’s Godmother Taught Me About Writing Mysteries

What Forensic Science’s Godmother Taught Me About Writing Mysteries

Stephanie Kane discusses the impact of Frances Glessner Lee, the godmother of forensic science, and her crime scene dioramas on writing mysteries.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Still Alive

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Still Alive

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, reveal that a character who was thought deceased is actually still among the living.

Mark Anthony: On Destigmatizing Paranormal Communication

Mark Anthony: On Destigmatizing Paranormal Communication

Author Mark Anthony hopes to educate and normalize paranormal communication with his new spirituality book, The Afterlife Frequency.

Ways Animals Have Interacted With Writers Through the Centuries

Ways Animals Have Interacted With Writers Through the Centuries

Across the globe and spanning lifetimes, animals have always operated as more than simply animals within the stories they reside. Author Richard Girling discusses how animals have interacted with writers throughout the centuries.

Margaret Verble: On Combining Facts and Imagination in Historical Fiction.

Margaret Verble: On Combining Facts and Imagination in Historical Fiction.

Pulitzer Prize-finalist Margaret Verble discusses the process of writing her new historical fiction novel, When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 586

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a scary poem.