Thursday, October 7, 2010

NWFCC Announces Karen Cioffi's Virtual Book Tour: Writing Tips

This month I'm hosting Day 4 of Karen Cioffi's Virtual Book Tour for all the children's book authors/illustrators who are part of the October Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center. Without further ado, I'm pleased to announce: Writing Tips from Children’s Writer Karen Cioffi

I recently read a post about writing for children. It focused on the story’s characters.

Basically, the post advised to create and know your characters inside and out before beginning the story. In fact, it suggested that the author build the story around the characters once they were fully developed. While this is good advice, and many experienced authors recommend this technique, there are some authors who occasionally watch their characters unveil themselves right before their eyes.

This is such an interesting method of writing. Your character introduces himself and gradually reveals bits and pieces, and blossoms as the story moves along. I’m currently working on a middle grade science fiction manuscript that is using this style. I didn’t intentionally start the story this way . . . it just happened.

You do need to be careful with this method though, you may lose track of all the bits and pieces that make up the character. So, a good way to keep track of those quirky telltale marks, expressions, behavior patterns, and physical features is to note them on a separate page or character card as they become unveiled. You wouldn’t want your character to have brown eyes in one chapter and blue eyes in another - unless of course, it’s a science fiction or paranormal and part of the storyline.

Actually, in this particular story of mine I used the ‘seat-of-the-pants’ method of writing for the entire story. I had no idea what the story would be about until I began writing it. I’m about half finished with it, and I have no clue where it will go from the point it’s at now, but it’ll be interesting to find out.

It’s true that many authors prefer the outlined method of writing, and I actually do also. Although, it seems once in a while a story and the characters can lead the author through an entire manuscript without the benefit of a structured outline. I find it so fascinating, watching characters evolve and a story unfold. It’s almost like magic . . . characters . . . a story . . . even worlds appear from thin air.

Karen is an author, ghostwriter (for authors, bloggers, and businesses), freelance writer, reviewer, acquisitions editor intern, and on the team of DKV Writing 4 U "" She is also the founder and manager of VBT Writers on the Move, and co-moderator of a children’s writing critique group.

Be sure to leave Karen a comment or question, she will be checking in throughout the day to interact with our visitors.

Follow all 7 authors on their 6-day Virtual Book Tours and leave comments and you could win the Giftbox Giveaway from the National Writing for Children Center.

Kep following Karen's tour on Oct 8 at - "On the Go With Karen Cioffi"

Thank you for your time and interest.


  1. Yes, they do appear from 'nowhere', don't they, and then make sure you listen to them! :0)

  2. Hello Karen:

    I'm delighted to be hosting you today and look forward to what the day brings!

    Hi Carole Anne:

    Thank you for stopping by and visiting with Karen today. We appreciate your support!

    Best wishes,

  3. Hi, Carol, thanks for stopping by, and YES, it's important to listen to those characters when they have something to say or unveil!

    And, thank you Donna for featuring me today. It is certainly appreciated.

  4. How exciting! I've never tried to just let the characters lead the way. They just might do a better job than me. I'll have to have a go at that soon. Thanks, Karen.

  5. I've heard of this technique before. Where the character comes first, and then the character shows you what happens in his/her life (plot emerges). Sounds exciting, if it works for you!
    elliebeetle (-at-) gmail (dot) com


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