Monthly Archives: May 2008

Christian Market Magazines

Most Christian magazines for children are not extremely high paying markets. However, if your goal is to direct the lives of children toward God, writing for these markets will be a blessing to you and to the children for which you write.

If you have a desire to write for this market, get Sally Stuart’s, Christian Writers’ Market Guide. There are about twelve pages of listings under children’s markets in her 2008 book. 

Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers, published by The Writers Institute, also has a listing for Christian magazines.

I can’t stress enough the importance of checking the market guides, studying the online sites, reading the articles published by each magazine, and following their guidelines.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK. It could be the difference between publication and drawers full of unpublished manuscripts.

You can do this!!

Contributed by Gloria McQueen Stockstill

 

 

Don’t Give Up the Ship!

Constant rejections from magazines can sink you like a torpedo if you let them. We’re told to remember that it is not our persons that are rejected, but since what we write comes out of the person it’s like our babies are being refused. That precious child we spent so much time perfecting, one we were so sure was one of the most marvelous pieces of literature ever created—how could anyone toss it aside into the trash bin?

Rule number 1: Commit your writing to God before you start anything. Number 2, which goes along with 1: If it is returned to you unappreciated, accept it was not God’s will for it to be published at this time and publishing house. Number 3: Don’t take yourself so seriously. The world might have been better off to read what you wrote, but will not fall apart if it doesn’t! Number 4: If you have been called by God to write, be diligent to pursue the craft of writing, and continue to write and submit. Eventually you will find the niche God has waiting for you.

So keep your “S.S. I Write” ship cruising through calm or choppy waters. God is the captain and you are the first mate. Tell those torpedoes “Ha, ha! You can’t hurt me,” as you watch them turn away from your ship without causing any damage. Change course and head for another port as the captain directs. If it is His will the next one will welcome you.

Happy sailing!

-contributed by Shirley Shibley

Think Outside the Box

What’s a great way to actually start earning a small income on a steady basis?
What’s a great way to break into the children’s magazine market?
What’s a great way to add a smile to a kid’s day?
What’s a great way to cure brain freeze when you’re stuck in the middle of a novel?
What’s a great way to start landing contracts and listing published credits under your name?
What’s a great way to add pizzazz to your writing day and just have fun, fun, fun?

To find the answer, match each picture with the correct letter and write the letters in the blanks.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Start a puzzle collection. Grab a stack of kids’ magazines. Photocopy a copy of every puzzle you can find. Be sure to note which magazine each puzzle was published in.
2. Target one magazine to study. Read the submission guidelines and note the kinds of puzzles they like to feature.
3. Search through your puzzle collection and choose the most exciting, over-the-top fun puzzle that you think would make a kid (and the editor!) itch to solve.
4. Ponder and pray how you could use that puzzle format to write a brand new puzzle for your target magazine.
5. Draw the puzzle on your computer. Or use a pencil and draw it by hand. Draw it on a sheet of typing paper and leave one-inch margins all around. When finished, use a fine-tipped permanent magic marker to trace over the puzzle. Photocopy two copies of the puzzle.
6. Prepare an answer key by filling in the answers on one of the photocopies. The blank copy and the answer key are now your master copies for you to keep. Make a photocopy of both to submit to the magazine.
7. Type out everything you possibly can about the puzzle such as instructions and the answer, etc. Add your name and contact info at the top. This is your “manuscript.”
8. Mail or e-mail the “manuscript,” the blank puzzle, and the answer key to the publisher, following the submission guidelines. Include a short cover letter that explains how this is a puzzle submission for their magazine.
9. Start the process all over again to prepare and submit a puzzle to a different target magazine.
10. And most of all–have fun!

Contributed by Nancy I. Sanders

Turning Your Words into “Pictures” for Magazine Stories

Creating magazine stories that pull your readers in requires dialogue and action. It’s called SHOWING instead of TELLING. Editors sometimes write “SDT” on manuscripts. What’s that stand for? SHOW don’t TELL.

SHOWING is especially important when writing a magazine story where illustrations are limited to usually two or three at the most. Your words must create the rest of the illustrations in the mind of the reader.
I’m going to use an example of how to SHOW instead of TELL from a Christmas story I wrote for a magazine. The following is NOT the way I actually wrote this portion of my story. If I had written it this way, it never would have been published!

This is TELLING:

The innkeeper’s son ran to his father to tell him about the amazing star, but his father was too busy to care. He had an inn full of tired, hungry guests to serve. The father told his son to fill a jug of water for the guests and to hurry back. A few minutes later the boy ran back to his father to ask if there were any rooms left. His father told him the inn was full. His son was worried about the pregnant woman and her husband he had just met. He knew they desperately needed a room. Even though the boy pleaded with his father to find room for the couple, his father insisted there was nothing he could do.

Snore, snore! ZZZZZZZ. Oh, sorry, I fell asleep. That was BORING—boring beyond belief! I merely gave the reader INFORMATION. There was no action whatsoever. This kind of writing will not pull your readers into the story and get them emotionally involved. Basically, your readers just won’t care. They’ll want to take a nap (o;

This is SHOWING:

“A star?” the boy’s father said as he lifted a heavy water jug onto his shoulder. “I don’t have time to look at a star. We have an inn full of tired, hungry guests to serve.”
“But Father, I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s amazing and it’s right over our—“
“Son, please! It’s only a star. I’ve seen thousands of them.” His father shook is head then thrust a clay jug into the boys arms.
“What I really need is for you to stop star gazing and help me. Fill this jug at the well, and hurry. Our guests are waiting.”
It wasn’t long before the boy bolted back through the doorway, out of breath. “Father! Are there any rooms left?”
“Son, the inn is bursting at the seams. I gave the last room away hours ago.”
“You’ve got to find something,” the boy pleaded. “There’s a man and woman who need a room. They can’t stay on the streets of Bethlehem.”
The boy’s father threw his hands in the air. “Hundreds of people need a place to stay. We don’t have room for everyone!”
The boy grabbed hold of his father’s arm. “But Father, she’s going to have a baby—NOW!”

Do you see how I gave the reader the information that was in my first example, but in a way that made it come alive through action and dialogue? I wanted the reader to sense the excitement and the urgency the boy felt. SHOWING pulls your readers into your story. It makes them care.

Flip through your favorite children’s magazines. Notice how the writer uses dialogue and action. As you read, think about the “illustrations” that SHOWING has created in your mind. Can you “see” with your mind’s eye what’s happening in the story? If you like what you’re reading—it has everything to do with “SDT”.

Copyright 2008 Sheryl Ann Crawford

Discover…ing Girls

            About two years ago, I wrote an article for Children’s Writer about the tween magazine, Discovery Girls, which included an interview with the Senior Features Editor, Sarah Verney. 

 

            In this article, I mentioned how reading magazines such as Discovery Girls and American Girl will help anyone who is writing middle-grade novels or short stories, especially if you need help deciding what the character should wear, how she would act or speak, what the specific concerns of that age group are.  I also pointed out the differences between these two publications. 

 

Both Discovery Girls and American Girl are aimed at the same market, but there are essential differences between them.  American Girl is targeted towards the younger age range of tweens and focuses on crafts, puzzles, and products.  Discovery Girls, for the older tween, is more hip, fresh, and as Editor Vareny says, “for girls who are facing confusing feelings and exciting challenges.”  So, if you are writing for tween girls at either end of that age range, it’s worth the time and effort the check out these magazines.  A double-page spread in each issue of Discovery Girls features profiles of 14 real-life girls from a different state each month, including quotes about how they feel  and what is important to them.  What better insights into the minds of girls 8-to-12 could an author ask for? 

 

            From my research, I also learned that Discovery Girls does accept submissions (especially short, non-fiction pieces) from adult contributors.  They like to see a crisp writing style, using a 5th grade reading level.  They especially look for articles that lend themselves to creative graphics.  Verney strongly recommends studying the  magazine (available at Barnes & Noble) and the website  http://www.discoverygirls.com/  for more detailed guidelines and specific departments that accept contributions.  Also, more information about Discovery Girls can be found at the website Veronica recently recommended http://kidmagwriters.com/   Click on Archives and Editors Speak.

 

            Do check out both of these magazines if writing for this age group appeals to you. You’re sure to find it interesting, helpful…and it might even pay off!

 

Contributed by Marjorie Flathers

 

 

 

 

 

                      

Monthly Magazine Magic

           I remember clearly my first magazine subscription and how amazed I was when I learned that the postman would bring it to my door each month. Wee Wisdom was packed with stories, poems, and activities. It even had ideas for starting clubs. I was seven years old – that time of life when a magazine of your own is a treasure. It was a treasure for my mother, too. I know this to be a fact because I overheard her telling our neighbor that Wee Wisdom kept me from begging to buy Sheena, Queen of the Jungle from the magazine rack at the drugstore.

 

          Other favorites in my elementary school days were Children’s Playmate and Jack and Jill. I poured over each copy with friends. Sheena was still tempting, and, by that time, so was Tarzan of the Apes. But comic books didn’t offer the activities that we found in Playmate and Jack and Jill – things like simple science experiments, silly jokes, even recipes.

 

          Mostly, though, I gravitated toward the stories. As I read them, I saw that complications must develop in order to keep the reader interested (plot). I realized that the people in the stories could change (character development). I became aware of the way people sound when they talk (dialogue). I learned that everything has to happen somewhere (setting). I was introduced to that exciting story genre, the serial. Having to wait for a month for the next installment made me realize the power of a chapter that ends in a cliffhanger.

 

          As I reached my teens, Calling All Girls, “the complete magazine for teens,”  entered my life. At fifteen cents per copy, I certainly got my money’s worth. I still remember the advertisement for “look-alike sweaters for steadies.” That was the era of the first home perms, and ads featured two teens with identically coifed hair and the subtitle: “Which twin has the Toni?”

 

          But I spent most of my time reading the short stories.  They entertained, and they  challenged. I devoured them like a starving person. I saw myself in the settings. I heard my own voice in the dialogues. I reveled in the development of plot. Never to Be Forgotten was the name of a collection of stories from Calling All Girls. I read those stories and re-read them. I don’t remember what they were about, but I do remember that they spoke to some part of me that was ready to listen.

 

          I saved a lot of magazines as I grew up. They were stored for years in my mother’s basement. Then they made their way to the file cabinets that line a wall of my garage. I was prowling around out there the other day and began leafing through old copies of Jack and Jill, Playmate, and Calling All Girls. Wee Wisdom seemed to have disappeared. But guess what I found at the bottom of the stack? Two copies of Tarzan of the Apes and one of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.

 

          I wonder how that could have happened?

 

Contributed by Marilyn Cram Donahue

Rebus

Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio