Your topic is “Writers wear many hats.” You'd be writing in branching narratives. The audience picks its preferred ending to your story or script, interactively online or in other interactive formats such as board games, video games, and multiple story endings in books. People who do this for a living are called non-linear editors. When you write humor or comedy in children's fiction, you also write rhythm and timing with an element of surprise. The point is writing humorous material has many formats from gift books to stand-up comedy lines.
A single interactive script may incorporate several frameworks, including streaming audio narration, animation with voice-over, and montage. Other often-used frameworks—including comedy and drama—can be applied to new media presentations, as well.
The frameworks may vary from one category of facts or segment of the story to the next. In a documentary-style biography, you might include simple animation, backlit negatives, artwork, photos, or a narration to bridge the transitions.
The completed project should flow like one piece of cloth with no seams or hanging threads—like liquid, visual music. Using a varied selection of frameworks will help keep the attention of the audience and give the writer more options to set up a mighty conclusion. Be sure the frameworks don't overpower the information with too vivid an impact.
You want the readers to remember the life story highlights derived from listener.
Interactive gift books on computer discs (CDs or DVDs) can be true life stories (or fiction). They use a parallel story structure. This means readers can make several choices to change the events leading to different outcomes at different times. You can adapt an event to an interactive experience. This lets the audience enter feedback or gives a choice of how the story moves or ends.
Writing in Caricature
Writing in caricature is the essence of great dialogue writing. No one did it better than William Shakespeare, who was a master of writing dialogue in caricature. As your audience experiences the script during its performance, your writing will leap from two-dimensional text to the three-dimensional world of your audience's imagination.
As you write this way, fit your dialogue into imaginary dialogue bubbles above the heads of your characters. They begin to vibrate with charisma. The goal is to give each character the ability to influence, charm, inspire, motivate, and help the audience feel important.
The more important you make the audience feel, the better chance humor has of conveying a message of value. You may use carefully chosen humor with serious topics to hold the attention of the audience and to prevent the material from become too dry, abstract, or technical. Humor works well when it reveals pitfalls to be avoided. Your ability to make an audience laugh will increase the marketability of your work.
Drama is one of the best frameworks to use. To incorporate drama into a non-fiction memoirs gift book, include an experience with subplots framed like those in one of the fiction genres such as romantic comedy, adventure, mystery, or suspense.
Ask how the inner mechanisms work. Are facts readily available?
Or does the book allow the leading character or narrator to share only one experience as an interlude of inserted drama? Show contrasts in a memoirs book between the frameworks of dramatization, re-enactments, and demonstration. Contrasts are what makes a personal gift book of memoirs ‘alive’ rather than ‘flat’ in tone, texture, and mood.
How to use humor and comedy with rhythm when writing children's books, skits, and stories: Using the 1-2-3 rhythm in humorous writing for kids
Use the 1-2-3 rhythm in your humorous writing—with the beat or emphasis on the third word or syllable as in one-two-THREE. Write 30-second gags. Put them together. You have a children’s book. For more information on specialized writing for children, see my paperback book, How to Turn Poems, Lyrics, & Folklore Into Salable Children's Books: Using Humor or Proverbs.
The gags, of course, should be appropriate for the children’s level of understanding for the age group you want as your intended audience. Check your facts with booksellers and publishers as to what’s not salable and what’s welcomed as far as writing humor for children in the various age categories of children’s books. These age categories begin with 0 to age 4 for texture-and-touch books, sound books, and books read as stories to children by adults.
Often age 4 to 8 books have stories with repetition, sometimes rhyme, and usually a fable, message, or proverb. The ending has an element of surprise. Books for the age 9 to 12 reader contains adventure, history, biography, and stories of interest to students in the fourth through seventh grades. In books for the 9 to 12 age group, story books with female characters usually sell only to girls. Books with male main characters sell well to both boys and girls of this age.
Stories about animals on an adventure or special interest, science, how-to books, and humor appeal to children in the middle grades. The young adult group includes early teens and older. The range of humor expands in novels that run about 35,000 to 40,000 words and longer.
Young adult books contain adventure and historical plots, sweet teenage romance, and school or family-related real life stories and diary novels
Main characters that are female appeal mainly to female readers. This category includes diary novels. Boys will read diary novels if the main characters are male and the diary is an adventure, such as a story about camping in the wilderness in present or historic times.
In any of these categories, you can write humor, comedy, surprise, riddles, puzzles, mazes, or adventure with humor. Your goal is to inspire children to laugh. To find out what makes children laugh, visit schools as a children’s book author and ask children what makes them laugh. Keep a notebook of what they say as inspiration for writing humor. They’ll often tell you it’s that element of surprise and irony.
Use using surprise and humor with an attitude
Human can be a vehicle to get across a message, fable, proverb, timeless wisdom, history, or point-of-view. How do you actually write appropriate and uplifting humor or comedy in a children’s book?
In Melvin Helitzer's Comedy Writing Secrets book, the chapter on triples explains that it's the da-da-TA, da-da-TA, da-da-TA sequence makes it the most important number in comedy. According to William Lang's theory, a triple is "one of the most perfect formats for a joke, because there are only three parts to most comedic bits."
Use the preparation to set up the situation, anticipation to play out your triple, and the punch line to give the story payoff. The rule of three applied to comedy emphasizes three lines, three visuals, then the set up. Show 1, 2 as similar, and make 3 different. On three, get the laugh.
Gags are tripods: Using groups of threes in writing or speaking
Write gags using statements in groups of threes. Everything you can put in threes become funny. Three friends, three words, three of most anything becomes a gag. Three relationships, three careers, or three issues of concern. Three funny statements in one gag works by evoking laughs faster. The brain recognizes groups of three to imprint and set up a burst of laughter.
Three elements of surprise. Three revealed hidden truths. Three comparisons of opposites. Three oxymorons. Three exaggerations. Three funny sounding words or words beginning with the three funniest letters, "p", "k," and "sch." A cat born with three legs is named Tripod. Does the name fit? What just happened in your brain to make the connection?
The brain is hardwired to respond to groups of threes
And threes become funny when used to show opposites, oxymorons, and reduced sentences that come to the point concretely with surprise: "the buck stops here," as well as metaphors and similes: "rosary-wracked as a Tuareg sheik in Coney Island." Humor. Gag. Compare opposites. It’s not often a sheik becomes rosary-wracked at a Coney Island burger stand. Use opposites to show contrast as you lead up to surprise.
Make abstract ideas concrete, clear, and concise, especially when you have 30 seconds for your gag to reach the punch line. As TV's Judge Judy's dad told her, (mentioned in her TV interview) "Do you see schmuck written across my forehead?"
Showing that the more things change, the more they stay the same is how irony makes a statement funny and concrete. It's a funnier way of saying the more abstract, "Do you see uninformed written on my face?"
The funniest gags use irony in many ways
How many ways can you show that the more things change, the more they stay the same? That's one example of irony. Surprise in itself as a gag is a type of shock value. Set the audience up for the surprise, but don't give a clue before the punch line, only a connection so they can form a real image.
You don't need the four-letter words for shock. Surprise will do it when the sound of the word, itself, is a gag. It's the "sch" sound. Like the "k" sound in kitsch, kvetch, kravitz, and even cranberry. And the "sh," "p," and "k" sounds are funny. We're wired that way, as animators say. View 1960s TV re-runs now on DVD of comedy series that used sound and surprise in humor, such as the Bewitched TV series.
Note the names of supporting characters in the series that emphasize the humorous-sounding ‘k’ word—Mrs. Kravitz, a supporting character that lived across the street from the Bewitched series main character in the series. Note how often the ‘k’ letter is used somewhere in the names of humorous characters in comedies and stories with humor.
Our brains are wired for funny with certain opaque sounds
These opaque nuances include the following: threes, irony, elements of surprise, reduction of words, simile and metaphor. Humor also uses opposites to bring together two very different words to make a whole new image.
One example would be a line like the following: "I was under such pressure in that relationship, that my hope chest petrified into the Hope Diamond." Here, you bring together two unrelated subjects, a hope chest (wooden storage trunk for brides storing gifts for a future time when and if they will marry) and the Hope Diamond.
You could substitute the words “wedding cake” for “hope chest.” Children of current times probably wouldn’t have a clue what a hope chest is. The term was common in the 1920s and 1930s. If you write historical humor for children, explain terms not used today such as “looking glass” for mirror.
In the 1930s women gave “old maid” parties on their 25th birthday if they were not yet engaged. You might write a book for teens or young adults with humor centered on family life in the early 1930s. The hidden message in the humor would emphasize patience as a virtue for all generations.
Humor makes children laugh when there’s a transition from one topic to the next. Use connecting words to create that element of surprise. Keep a proverb in mind as your message. In the humor connecting the Hope Diamond to a hope chest, the connecting word is the element of surprise.
The connecting word brings up the image of pressure: How to use exaggeration when writing humor
The pressure of millions of years of weight bearing down on a piece of coal turns it into a diamond. The pressure of being rushed to get married or submit to an old maid party at age 25 also is about pressure being applied.
Use exaggeration. What makes the transition and joins hope chest to Hope Diamond is the use of a connecting word. The connector helps the child’s mind to understand how two unrelated words connect. Exaggeration and connecting words helps the brain make the leap of understanding by “getting the humor.”
It takes pressure to turn coal into a diamond. You're using surprise here as the connector. You're using exaggeration in this gag. A relationship is under such pressure. The outcome is exaggerated. Pressure over time petrifies the coal, the pride, and the bride. Exaggeration gets a laugh in a timed gag. You can use this technique to turn poetry into gags.
You want to say: "all hands on deck," not "I'd like everyone up here." Three 30-second gags form a 90-second story plot or humorous dialogue in a children’s book or radio play. A spin-off of a humorous children’s book created from a humorous poem also can be used as Web-streaming video narrated by a standup comic or animated character.
Save as an MP3 file and upload the audio to the Web as a podcasted sound bite. Or use a dramatized video clip to promote your children’s book. You might want to research the question of whether we are born with a gene for reacting by laughter to anything in threes.
Gag writing in groups of threes are funny. Groups of threes taste like eye and ear candy for the brain's laugh center. Threes are funny because they're kinesthetic. They get to our feeling of high touch and low tech in a world where tech can be funny if the right celebrity is saying the most unexpected words, that secretly we expect the celebrity to be thinking.
Thirty second gags for the Web work well in young adult story books and humorous biography or nonfiction when the subject is about relationships or careers. The subject matter can be set in the workplace or at home.
Humor in 30 second gags works best when the area of focus for the punch line is about payoff
What does your character in the gag want most from behavior? There are four payoffs that get laughs in behavior because they are universal. Those payoffs are the following: power, rapport, exemption, and anger.
Gags are about reducing a long winded explanation to the smallest number of words. For example, the phrase, "All hands on deck," is a reduced number of words that means “Every person, please come up to the deck right now to work.”
Reduce the number of words to create gags that convey a universally understood meaning. Communication is about sharing meaning. If we can identify with the gag as something almost everyone goes through anywhere in the world, then the gag has the potential to be funny when placed in context with surprise and exaggeration.
Gags are practical ways of telling people all they need to know about a behavior or emotion. You explain shyness by the body language as in "He took a sudden interest in his toes." Use gags to show visually in words detailed, concrete ways of describing body gestures. Gags are the kind of tag lines you see in romance novels that describe the way someone speaks in tone and texture, movement, mood, and gesture.
Using The Four Payoffs To Write Gags: Power, Rapport, Exemption And Anger: The Payoff Of Power In Writing 30 Second Gags
To get power, a character in your book wants to understand nature. This character will become the butt of the joke and part of the gag. The desire to understand nature is funny when the punch line is timed to give the audience irony or an oxymoron.
To get power, you write a bunch of gags about women in the White House, about ambition, or about understanding technology, science, nature, parallel universes, fission, time travel, or business. You have stock market gags such as the “Fed dangling interest rates like diamond earrings.” You can adjust the “understanding nature” theme to any child’s age level or focus on writing humor for young adults. Even books for eight-year-olds can revolve around understanding technology to get power. The payoff is power.
Under the power payoff, you have jokes about scientists
You also have mystery or suspense novels for children. The storyline uses humor to unmask any fear of understanding nature as a means to achieving power. Children learn that science is fun and understanding nature does bestow the power of knowledge to be used in many ways.
Gags about the power payoff in understanding nature also can twist ambition. Power, life, and understanding nature will not be contained. Each must be used with compassion and responsibility. Your book could be about using humor to make the world a better and gentler place. Harmony or healing harp music could be another theme. Humor happens when the power payoff is likened to life.
Use humor to show how life, power, and the will to understand nature cannot be contained. Those three elements found in explorers and pioneers will find new frontiers to colonize—out of this world. Humor in science fiction or fact encourages children’s imaginations and ambitions. You might write a children’s book about how photography links children in many countries.
Gags about payoffs
Some of your gags will be about the payoff of going to any extreme to achieve power, especially when contrasted with people who look powerless. One example, would be a child who becomes a public speaker and travels all over the world speaking to children his or her own age.
In young adult books, power also encompasses gags about adults in the main character’s life who are perfectionists or bullies and those who put time squeezes on employees. The boss or community leader often is the target of a stand up comedy roast or gag at a corporate dinner. The toast is the roast. Payoffs of power emphasize ambition rather than security or hard working, untiring dedication.
Payoffs of power focus on gags about a person's precocious desire for achievement, climbing higher, understanding science or nature, and the desire to improve anyone and everything, such as the thirteen-year old stock broker who made a fortune or young genius out to dominate the world with technology or the megalomaniac who thinks he's invincible. Gags can show the positive or negative sides of the payoff of power.
The Payoff of Rapport in Writing 30 Second Stand Up Comedy Gags for Children
Rapport means going to any extreme to obtain attention. Gags about doing anything to find rapport with another person include the feeling and emotions behind people desperate to connect with another person. It's a way of beating loneliness turned into a joke.
Re-write the following two sentences as a funnier gag line: "I was so desperate for a relationship, that I was willing to fight. He said give me a break, and I replied, not until you give me a connection."
Removing passive verbs that are weak and replacing them with action in the present tense
Your first step would be to remove the weak, passive verb ‘was’ and use action verbs as you write in the present tense. The two lines are about finding rapport at a price. Rapport uses oxymoron and metaphor as well as opposites in tone, texture, mood, gesture, and words.
By comparing words that are opposites: ‘break’ with ‘connection,’ you have contrasting acts of behavior. He wants to break off rapport to get exemption from the burden of duty to the wife, and she will go to any length for connection and rapport.
Use emotions and behaviors to show the payoff of rapport when writing a gag. Some phrases have several meanings. For example, a comic can put people in stitches from laughing, and a bully can put people in stitches for laughing at him.
Rapport gags can be used not only in children’s books but also at fund raisers to promote causes. Gag lines take the nervous edge off. Fear plays upon the need for rapport. Use humor to stir people to action and/or donate money for fundraising purposes. Rapport in humor also satisfies the need to attract attention to a cause or character.
The Payoff of Exemption (From Duty or Burdens) In Writing 30 Second Stand-Up Comedy Gags or Humor for Children’s Books
The payoff of exemption means gags will get the person in the gag out of some duty or burden, some commitment or responsibility by withdrawal, exemption, or disappearing act. The person, normally hardworking more than ambitious, and devoted to strong institutions like the government, the military, hospitals, and utilities companies, being a stranger at home but at home with every stranger if it will give him or her more job security.
Gags describing the payoff of exemption usually are about a hard working, tired, and burdened person going to extremes to run away from duty. Use contrasts and opposites for humor. Exemption from duty or burden is the payoff.
Notable is the use of reduction of words to make a point usually explained by the use of a lot of words. An example of word reduction used to convey a universal or national meaning is "the buck stops here."
Humor also can be about being out of place or time and being perceived opposite from what you see yourself as. Exemption humor often is about complaining of need, scarcity, or lack in the face of abundance. Exemption gags compare opposites. For example, "I asked my husband for a hug, but he told me to wait until Christmas. He goes on vacation for the holidays."
Exemption gags also use exaggeration. Exemption gags use complaint to point out realities. Some gags are about legs or arms taking up space in planes, busses, and trains. Other exemption gags point out differences between men and women regarding who claims more personal space around a bus seat.
Timing and exaggeration are combined. By combining exemption from duty or burden with comparison of exaggerated opposites, the timing and punch line work together to get a laugh by using the element of surprise. Surprise is funny. Exaggerations are funny. Exemption is funny. Combine all three and reduce the number of words to make a universal statement similar to "the buck stops here," and you have a gag.
The Payoff Of Anger In Writing 30 Second Stand-Up Comedy Gags
Anger has long been taboo in children’s books, unless it comes from the town villain, and children are the heroes, saviors, or good guys in a children’s novel for the aged 9 to 12 category. Anger when used as a payoff to create a gag in a 30 second time slot means showing what villains do, to what extreme villains will go to annoy somebody else to get their payoff.
The payoff is not that the children get angry so much as it is to get an anger response out of the villain who must be transformed into the nice guy by learning a universal lesson. In humor, the schlemiel (victim) is the person who gets splashed in the theater by sodapop poured from the balcony by the schlimazel (villain or bully). The story must move forward so that the victim actually turns out to be the hero who saves his village or does a good deed that makes the town a better place.
It has been said in humor that you have a doer, the schlemiel, and the person done unto, the schlemazel. These are Yiddish words often used to describe the practical joker and the innocent receivers to whom practical jokes happen. In related, Aramaic cultures, such as the Lebanese, Syrian, Assyrian, and Chaldean ancestors, in humor, the schlemiel is a "deeb," a sly wolf with a plan, and the schlemazel is a "dib" or unaware and innocent bear who is on the receiving end of the gag. It's the schlimazel or dib whose payoff is in inciting anger, annoyance, or frustration from the schlemiel or deeb, the victim, the stooge, the one who is done unto.
The person using the payoff of anger in a gag could be a teenager who tells a grownup that he did something bad or brags to others in order to get his mother mad in order to rebel. Teaching rebellion to rebellious kids is one payoff of the anger response in humor. However, booksellers and publishers would be reluctant to buy books that teach rebellion, unless it’s done in a context, such as a history of the American Revolution of 1776, with the outcome being liberty for the nation—and where a child plays a hero’s role.
Another response is using the three friends like the "three amigos" or "three musketeers," in a gag scene who work together as friends to fulfill a mission of annoying the heck out of somebody who wronged or hurt them or put others down. So to use anger to save the world from a tyrant in a gag, means saying words that would get on the nerves of the dictator or person in power about whom one can make jokes.
You can be funny without being insulting. Saying something intelligent with the element of surprise or exaggeration makes use of proverbs. The payoff of anger in gag writing also uses sounds. The "p" sound is funny as in the word, "pickle." Combining the "p" and "k" sound is funny as in park. Yes, park is a funny word. Look for funny sounds that reveal surprise and opposites in a short sentence. "Pickles, the parrot was speechless when my cat sang for the birds."
Writing humor with a short time slot of 30 seconds for a gag depends upon you offering the element of surprise, of comparing and exaggerating opposites, of using oxymorons, such as "an illiterate writer." All this is funny in a split second of recognition by the audience. What makes people laugh is something said using reduced words that rings true for them. Use a phrase that suddenly reveals the truth, a truth that most people not often admit. Revealing the truth suddenly is funny.
Exaggeration works along with revealing a hidden truth Do you want to be funny, touching, or convincing? Use surprise, exaggeration and reduced words that reveal universally understood commands. Use oxymorons, opposites, and suddenly revealed truths. Use words that begin with funny sounds and letters, such as "sch" and "k" or "itz" or "p." Use the four payoffs, which are: power, exemption, rapport, or anger to understand how to write 30 second gags and humor or skits.
Use surprise and sudden truth
What is universally recognized as humor? What is culture-specific? People look for intelligence and truth in humor. Say it smarter, and use timing in the punch line by looking for exaggerations, oxymorons, or opposites compared. Sometimes surprise is sudden truth.
Write the hidden emotions. In stand-up comedy, gags work when the celebrity speaking the line gets a laugh for saying the particular words. The words may work only when a celebrity repeats it, or an animated character, as in a cartoon character saying, "I'm not really bad, I'm just drawn that way," from the movie, Roger Rabbit. Make sure the words can be spoken by anyone and still get a laugh even when the words are in a paperback story book.
The best advice humorists give for gag writing is that surprise makes us laugh loudest or longest and next loudest, exaggerations in words. When you have a short time such as 30 seconds for a gag, say or write it in fewest words and get to the punch line using surprise, uncovered truth, and comparing opposites. Humor is funniest when it reveals step-by-step people’s universal emotions to children in a way that is a positive learning and entertaining experience.
Here are some of my books that may be of help to authors.
Here's how to turn your poem or folklore-type lyrics into salable children's books—step-by-step and how to use humor to make your books memorable and popular. What children want in a book, poem, or folklore, is a cave where they can go to be themselves.
Do you want to adapt your poem to a storybook that tells a story in words, and pictures—or only amplify the images that you create with words? Would you rather turn your poem into a picture book that tells a story with pictures?
Will words take second place to illustrations? Decide first whether you will write a story book or a picture book. Then use the images in your poem to clarify your writing. You won't be able to read a picture book into a tape recorder or turn it into an audio book or radio play. You will be able to narrate a word book for audio playing.
Start with an inspirational poem, proverb, or song lyrics. Ask children what makes them laugh. You can make something out of nothing. You can make a story out of anything intangible, such as an idea with a plan still in your mind.
Capture your children’s dreams, proverbs, song lyrics, and the surprise elements that make them laugh. Record imagination--“what-if” talk, and personal history. A folktale or story is something that could come from any place in the past, from science, or from nothing that you can put your hands on.
What children want in a book, poem, or folklore is a cave where they can go to be themselves. When suspending belief, children still want to be themselves as they navigate fantasy.
The story book becomes a den or tree house where children can go inside, shut the door, and play. Introduce children to poetry by showing how you transform your poem into a children's book by expanding and emphasizing significant events in the life story of one child.
Poems, memorable experiences, significant life events or turning points are all ways to make something out of nothing tangible. You begin re-working a concept, framework, or vision. Here's how to write, publish, and promote salable material from concept to framework to poem to children's book—step-by-step.
More Ways to Bring Creativity to Niche Topic Writing and Illustrating Projects for Kids
Example of helping kids to turn their favorite poems, proverbs, or lyrics into expanded stories or children's books. You can write children's books either nonfiction or stories that emphasize eating healthy nutrition such as lots of vegetables, fruits, and other good foods that build up children's minds and bodies. Listen to my MP3 audio podcast on how to write popular-style children's books.
Use universal proverbs, poems, and folk tales to find and expand story material that you will turn into children's books. The more your pictures speak, the fewer words you need to tell your story.
You may find helpful my MP3 audio podcast of the full-length audio MP3 file podcast version of How to Write Popular-Style Children's Books. You can download the instructional techniques on writing children's books as your inspirational guide.
Download the talk and use it as a guideline for inspiration to write your own original works. Looking to turn your poems or song lyrics into children's books or stories? Additionally, what can be helpful is my "Let me take on Wall Street" poetry series.
Can you turn your own poems into children's stories or books? Listen the the MP3 audio podcast of the poems or read the print version of these poems at Examiner.com site of the poems. Use your favorite original poems to practice turning into children's books.
Also check out my paperback book, How to Turn Poems, Lyrics, & Folklore into Salable Children's Books: Using Humor or Proverbs by Anne Hart (Aug 17, 2005). See my uTube video on how to write children's books where you can incorporate themes on nutrition or imaginative writing using poems, proverbs, or humor.
Your next step is to connect with schools that invite book authors to classrooms or auditoriums. You can be the writer in residence
Ask children what makes them laugh, what makes them feel like themselves, and what they'd like to see in a book written with a particular age group in mind.
You can use proverbs and animals to illustrate what vegetables and fruits are eaten by the animation-type animals. For younger children, text and touch with fabric in the books can imitate the feel of vegetables and berries or various fruits.
Visit schools if you want people to know you turn poems into children's books that emphasize healthy nutrition. Let teachers, librarians, children, and parents' groups know you write and/or illustrate books for children. Visit schools and become involved with programs that invite children's book authors to visit schools, community centers, libraries, or other public settings to talk to children in group settings.
Healthy nutrition projects through books, stories, and writing projects: Speaking to Kids in Schools about Nutrition as a Guest in Creativity Enhancement
Before you visit each school, create a program that you can tailor to fit the needs of a particular teacher's curriculum. Ask for a written contract from each school. Make sure the contract shows what you'll be paid and what you're expected to do for these half-day visits.
Speak to small groups in classrooms or larger groups in auditoriums. If you don't want to speak yourself, then organize speaker's panels of authors and publishers who create, develop, or market children's books. Offer to match speaker and school from among a list of published authors.
Provide keynote speakers for writers or educational conventions and school visits. Charge a 20 percent commission for matching the speaker with a school, professional association meeting, event planner, or corporate convention if the speaker is paid.
Stay connected with nutrition-oriented books for children
Stay connected with authors and publishers and the people who buy books. You can work part time matching speakers with schools or professional associations and writers' conventions. You'll get to know authors who speak publicly for a fee and their publishers. Your poems are hidden markets for children's books. Here's how to turn those poems into books and spin-offs. Not all writers enjoy speaking in public.
Popular children's book authors who spend a half-day visiting a school command fees of $1,500 or more per visit. Inexperienced authors usually are offered less to start. You can host book signing events for more than one author and include yourself.
Work with your local PTA and ask whether you can have a teacher send home order forms for your book with each child at the end of the school day. Plan writing contests in partnership with various book stores
Many books and articles tell you how to write a children's book and how to promote your published writing. This book shows you step-by-step how to turn your poetry into salable and popular children's books and spin-offs such as songs, audio books, animation scripts, games, toys, puppet theater scripts, or learning materials.
The formula for adapting a poem to become a children's book is to make your poem more concrete-more detailed by using action verbs instead of adjectives. Active verbs replace most adjectives when you turn your poem into a children's book. Pare down the words in your poem to only what is necessary to make clearer the story line and most important message.
After all, it has been said that you get to the universal through the details. You show value by simplifying the message. Simplification means using short sentences that engage all the senses. A person isn't merely described in a story as shy. He takes a sudden interest in his shoes.
Vegetables can become animated figures in storybooks
Show body language and gestures. Gestures after dialogue in a novel or story are labeled as "the tag lines." These gestures are used to describe action behind the words. An example is: "Yes," she sniffed with disdain.
Tag lines are body gestures that answer the question 'how' she or he said the line of dialogue in any story or novel. These body gestures are seen by the person to whom your particular character speaks.
Then that character reacts to the other person's body language and words with body gestures of his own. You describe the gestures with more tag lines. Additional words of dialogue are spoken. Then you insert a sentence of description.
Children's books for readers aged four to eight use a few sentences of text and nearly an entire page filled with illustration. Older readers use less illustration and more text. First decide what age group you want to emphasize.
Topic-themed poetry for children
Next, select a suitable-themed poem and make a list of the most important messages in the poem. Your last step is to circle the words that stand out as story material before you begin to write your book. Kids can write nutrition-themed poetry, lyrics, or short stories.
Do you want to adapt your poem, folklore, or song lyric to a story book of words or pictures? Use words to amplify your images. Use pictures to expand words.
Tell a story with pictures. Let words take second place to illustrations when you write picture books for the very young child, aged 0 to 4. Words outnumber pictures when you're writing for children aged nine to 12. Many children's books for readers aged 4 to 8 use two thirds of the page for pictures and one or two paragraphs of words.
Decide first whether you will write a story book or a picture book. Then use the images in your poem, song lyric, proverb, oral history, or folkloric tale to clarify your writing. You won't be able to read a picture book into a tape recorder or turn it into a radio play. A book emphasizing words over pictures can be adapted to narration for an audio book or radio play. Here's how to make your abstract, salable poem vividly concrete and turn it into a well-crafted children's book.
Making a Concrete Story out of an Abstract Poem
Capture Your Children's Dreams
Start with an inspirational poem or song lyrics. You can make something out of nothing. You can make a story out of anything intangible, such as an idea with a plan still in your mind. An oral history, folktale, or story is something that comes from nothing that you can put your hands on. Capture your children's dreams.
What children want in a book, poem, or folklore is a cave where they can go to be themselves. When suspending belief, children still want to be themselves as they navigate fantasy. The story book becomes a den or tree house where children can go inside, shut the door, and play. Introduce children to poetry by showing how you transform your poem into a children's book by expanding and emphasizing significant events in the life story of one child.
Poems, memorable experiences, significant life events or turning points are all ways to make something out of nothing tangible. You begin re-working a concept, framework, or vision. Perhaps long ago that concept resulted in a poem.
Imagination helps you write or design books out of seemingly nothing. Make the intangible very tangible. Create your own universe by turning your abstract poems into concrete stories for children. Craft your own pop-up books or write fiction, science, or history for older children.
With illustrations in the best places of your story, you can create children's books, audio books, or CDs with narrated stories set to music or spoken with sound effects, music, and healing tones for your imaginative tomes.
After you have adapted your poems to children's stories, you'll learn to launch your stories in the media, promote your stories, and market your stories. You'll need to find free publicity. Here is how to do it and how to start with the basics. Start with a collection of your poetry. Select one poem that you will expand to make a book for children. Page length varies with age-about 22 pages for children aged 0-4; 32 pages for children aged four to eight, or 64 pages in length for children aged nine to 12. Page length refers to the book when published. Teen or young adult novels run about 35,000 to 40,000 words.
Design your own book cover. Scan it and turn it into a digital photo with a resolution of 300 dpi saved as a .tiff file. That way you can email it or upload it to a publisher's browser or save it on a CD. Put your story into print using publishers of your choice, including print-on-demand publishers. Narrate your stories on tape, save to your computer, and transfer to a CD or DVD. Include in your multimedia presentation illustrations or photography, video clips, healing music, and text. Let's begin.
What Poetry Will You Choose To Turn into Children's Books Emphasizing Healthy Foods?
Take your poetry collection suitable for the age group you choose from preschool to young adult and teenage readers and match it with a proverb so you can begin to adapt and expand your poem into a story. For an example, take the concept of making something out of nothing. All over the world there are folk tales about making something from nothing. The theme begins with a creator making a universe or a world out of nothing. Only there is no such thing as nothing. Basics always seem to come in threes-intelligence, matter, and energy.
You can personalize intelligence, matter and energy into any triune entity from father, son and Holy Spirit to mother, daughter and nature, back to intelligence, matter, and energy. Or parallel universes, rebirth, and life force, and anything else that represents the triune concept of everything coming in sets of three in this universe.
Use any proverb you want to emphasize in your story. My favorite concept is that you can make something out of nothing. If you can make a purse out of an overcoat, so can you fashion a story from a proverb. Who made something out of nothing? One day an entity created intelligence. Intelligence created energy.
And energy created matter. Then matter created parallel universes, all with different laws of physics. And on the farm, intelligence created the idea of life. And life could not be contained. So life expanded through wormholes to all the universes.
Intelligence created gravity. And gravity leaked from one universe to this universe, creating a weaker force. So something always came from nothing, because at the root of nothing always is intelligence.
How do you show something can come from nothing? First, read the children's book (ages 4 to 8) titled, Something from Nothing, by Phoebe Gilman. Discuss the way the author unfolds the story.
The story comes from an old folktale
A boy receives a blanket from his grandfather as a baby. The boy grows attached to this blanket. Like everything else in this universe, the blanket has a life span in the sense that eventually it wears out.
As the boy grows up, his grandfather takes the worn and frayed blanket, and makes it into a jacket that also becomes special to the boy. As the jacket frays with age, the grandfather makes a vest, then a tie, handkerchief, and finally a button.
Note how the item grows smaller and smaller as the boy grows older. The point is when the button is no more in sight, the grandfather, a creative man, always makes something.
When there's no material or tangible button in sight, the grandfather still can make something from what seems like nothing but actually is imagination or intelligence because the ending of the story emphasizes that you can make a story from nothing.
Actually, you get the feeling at the end of the story that the reason why you can make a story from nothing is that you don't need a piece of cloth (matter) to create something. All you need is intelligence and energy, which you have when you create a story from so-called (perceived) nothing. Your eyes deceive you, because you can create something from 'nothing.' You can write or voice a story.
That's the point you need to understand when you adapt or 'turn' your poems into children's stories. You need a message, a point of view, and a proverb. Then you turn your poems into a storybook for children
The poem that has a message based on a proverb or old folktale with a point-of-view or universal value is the type of story you want to write. It's ageless, timeless, and can be used by teachers and parents for children's activities based on your story book about nutrition or animated characters that are trees, vegetables, flowers, or fruit.
As an activity, people who work with children can have their students guess the next item that will be sewn, grown, or built from this type of a story book. When you adapt your poem to a story, go from the largest to the smallest. Children need concrete items to handle such as story strips. You can create blocks of paper cut into strips so students can put the story in order of size or time like a puzzle. Maybe you want a fresh angle on making something small out of something big-such as a story set at a recycling machine depot. Cans are crushed and fashioned into toys or utensils.
Use your imagination to recycle these universal folk tales from around the world based on proverbs or concepts of creation. You're taking an abstract concept of creating something out of nothing and making your concept as concrete as possible by example and detail. You're illustrating making a button out of a blanket or a purse out of a sow's ear, or a story out of a proverb or poem. Children like concrete examples, even repetition of rhythm to make the story memorable.
Using Repetition and Rhythm in Children's Books for Ages 0-4 and Ages 4-8.
Children's books read by parents or preschool teachers such as bed-time story books emphasize illustration, rhythm, repetition and cadence. The picture is large and takes up most of the page. Text consists of one or two lines in large print at the bottom third or quarter of the page. The child looks at the picture while the adult reads the story.
Note that if you write a similar story for children ages four to eight, the words would take up to a paragraph per page. Text comes after the illustration and uses two-thirds of the page.
Look at text examples of picture pre-school books designed for children age four to eight to read. Adults would be reading to four-and-five year olds as children begin to read as early as kindergarten. By the first grade, these types of books can be used for interaction as the child reads some words and the adult helps the child sound out the words in relation to familiar illustrations.
The child soon associates the pictures with the large print words. Illustrations dominate the page, taking up two-thirds of each page or are placed on a two-page spread. Text consists of one or two sentences for younger children up to age four and two sentences to a short paragraph for children up to age eight.
Words are in the vocabulary usually used by teachers and publishers of children's books with mostly familiar words used
New words have a rhythmic sound or beat. Repetition of rhythm and action are used throughout the story book. In a nonfiction book, questions are asked and answered in large print, two-sentence paragraphs. Illustrations take up one-third to half the page in nonfiction, informational books for children aged four to eight.
When writing fiction for children or descriptive nonfiction, use rhyme and repetition or beat, rhythm and repetition so that each sentence has the same number of syllables or beat. As this type of writing is used so frequently in poetry, using your poems as an inspiration or source for children's story books keeps you aware of the beat, rhythm, or optional rhyme.
Use these children's stories that describe a familiar site to inspire you to write your own stories or adapt your poems to the reading level of young children by becoming aware of how well the rhythm of poems or the beat, such as hexameter, works in children's books, especially for the age four to eight set. Also, I've included some stories for 0 to age 4 children to be read by an adult.
When adapting your poems to books for children age 0 to 4, use texture, tone, and mood. The texture of the pages should be three-dimensional. Children should be able to touch and rub their fingers on the warm, fuzzy or quilted material on the cover or inside the book. Pop-up books are common
You can also learn to design your own pop-up books by learning paper folding. Courses in adult education sometimes offer a course in hand-crafted gift book making. Using terry cloth or stuffed animals on the cover or pop-ups inside the book help to hold the attention of a child of preschool age as the adult reads the words.
Children feel and touch the texture, look at the illustrations and begin to associate the written word with the pictures. Storyline runs about one or two sentences per page for books published for children under age five. In books for children aged four to eight, text runs about a paragraph per page.
Keep paragraphs short and sentences very short-less than 10 words per sentence. Paragraphs consist of two sentences or three very short sentences that fit on the page under a large illustration that takes up at least two-thirds of the page. Text usually takes up the bottom quarter of the page with about an inch of space left under the text. These, usually hard-cover books for children aged four to eight run about 32 published pages in length. If you print your own books, be sure the cover is sturdy and waterproof.
Blank pages with textures or pop-ups, plus a hard cover increase the size and look of the book, which may be large in size, often 9 by 12 inches
The cover may have texture to touch such as a terry cloth animal or face, or may be smooth, waterproof, and colorful to hold attention. If you publish your own children's books, don't put a tiny illustration at the top and a whole page of text in the middle.
You'll find that distributors and bookstores won't stock children's books that have too much text. You can't use the excuse that your book is meant to be read by adults. Books are for children to look at. And young children's brains are hard-wired to look at large pictures and one or two sentences of text.
Children in the middle grades of elementary school enjoy books with two sentences to a paragraph of text at the bottom of the page. If the child is an avid reader at age eight, the child will gravitate toward large print books with illustrations and an impelling story line, including adventure and historic themes.
For older children, readers want to become engrossed in the story and characters that drive the story. Note the popularity Harry Potter and Goosebumps series.
The storyline engrosses the reader and is back up with high media coverage and publicity reaching the circles where children are present and paying attention. The artist has free reign to illustrate the book so that the picture describes the one-sentence text. For example in the left hand column, we see the number one. This refers to page one. The left hand, larger column contains the one-sentence of text.
The artist then knows to place the illustration for the first page above the line of text, and the publisher's book designer knows how many pages will be in the book. In some books, a publisher may ask for one sentence or one paragraph on each page, whereas another publisher may place two paragraphs on one page. Under each page of illustration one or two lines of text may be placed.
Blank pages may be inserted by the publisher to fill out the rest of the book and include a title page with the publisher's information. Keep the book pages containing text and illustration an even 16 to 32 pages for children aged up to four. For readers aged four to eight, use the 32 published pages format. For children ages 9-12, the 32 page format may increase to 64 pages. Each publisher may be different in the number of pages specified as how many pages to insert text on, with instructions to the artist. Sometimes an illustration spreads across two pages.
The artist may increase the size of the book
The book designer may insert more pages for publisher's address or the title page. If you're publishing your own book, allow pages for the title, name and address of publisher with ISBN and/or Library of Congress number, and any illustration or textures inserted in the book. Some books may come with a CD pouch on the back inside cover of the book. Use this only if you're including an interactive, multimedia CD or DVD with your children's book.
If you publish your own book, obtain an ISBN and EAN Barcode. International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a number issued by the R.R. Bowker Agency that is used to classify and track a given title. The majority of bookstore chains, wholesalers, and distributors track titles solely with the 10-digit ISBN. Place the ISBN on the publications page of your book. Put the EAN Barcode on your book's back cover. For further information on obtaining an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), see the ISBN website.
When you write children's books, observe the format of how the book pages are numbered when submitting to a publisher or printer
In one column, you see the page number. Each page contains only one sentence of text. The rest of the page instructs the artist and publisher to insert a colorful illustration on the particular page numbered in the left-hand column.
Two tabs are skipped and the sentence of text is placed in the right hand, larger column. In the story below, the text part of the book submitted by the writer for publication takes only 30 pages for the rhythmic, short text.
The first two pages are left blank for the artist and publisher's input, totaling 32 pages for the book
You have 30 pages of actual story writing or adapting your poem, plus two pages left for publisher's information. Page one is labeled 'cover' and page 2 is left blank. Page 3 begins the story or poem's actual words. Page 3 repeats the book title and contains the sentence, "You have two eyes." Starting with page 4, the alphabet is introduced and follows through A to Z. The book uses non-rhyming, but rhythmic text with a steady beat that can be set to music if the content were put on a multimedia CD. I adapted the words that run in alphabetical order to a children's book format from one of my free-form poems written back in 1959.
Your own stories may be written in the form of a book or adapted to musical narration and put on a CD for interactive use as learning materials or for listening. With added video clips, a DVD may be produced. Illustration on a DVD would become animation. You'd team up with an animation cartoonist or animator, and your book format would be adapted to animation script format.
See this book's chapter 3 on writing animation scripts with animation script sample. Use branding techniques on your poems. See chapter 2 on branding and creativity. I give poetry a mascot, the cat because poems have at least nine lives. Your poems can be adapted to at least nine formats in order to make them salable and competitive in the publishing world.
A poem has at least nine lives-
1. Text-formatted published children's book or pop-up book (as you see below)
2. Cartoon-style animation on DVD
3. Graphic novel as in a comic book
4. Puppet theater, narration with music on a CD or read as an audio book
5. Recited publicly in a theater, auditorium or club as poetry or monologue
6. Toy, such as stuffed animal, doll, house, robot, or action figure
7. Computer or Video action game
8. Song lyrics set to music, MTVs, musical skits, rap, and advertising jingles.
9. Learning materials and interactive multimedia for school subjects such as science or even infomercials played at events, expos, trade shows, product demonstrations in department stores, and broadcasted at conventions, video-streamed online with avatars (robotic personalities online), or podcasted on the Web as MP3 files or syndicated internationally online as feel-good poems or humor on RSS feeds.
Here's a sample poem below for the high-school age student to look up the terms and expand into a children's story or storybook as practice or an exercise in using poetry with arcane or researchable words to simplify and define for a children's story or picture storybook.
Check out this sample poem and give it a different angle by changing the words but keeping a similar rhythm and motivation for inquiry
Helping kids use their dictionaries to look up words and increase their vocabularies
The purpose of the poem is to inspire children to look up the unfamiliar words in a dictionary to increase their vocabulary and recognition of words
(copyright by Anne Hart)
How Many Generations in My Temporary Container?
The redundancy and flux in my mtDNA
Shows you why I arrived perplexed today.
The loose curl of my tresses reveals ontogeny's stresses.
Tolerating changes on the fly,
Neutral drift asked molecular drive why I landed somewhere in the frozen sea
of genetic redundancy.
My inner, tangled bank whispered rules
Between consenting molecules.
Why such plieotopy in my many modes?
And such kaleidoscopic codes for roads?