Improving Choppy Sentences

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Although short sentences can pack a powerful punch in your writing, too many in a row become distracting to the reader. Choppy sentences may make your ideas seem disconnected, and your writing seem unsophisticated. If you find that you have a lot of short, choppy sentences in your writing, read on for a few suggestions to improve them.

When you have too many sentences in a row that begin with a simple subject, or repeat the same subjects in the beginning of a sentence, for example, She is, She was, She can…etc. Think about you how can rework that sentence. You can combine multiple sentences with a well placed comma to create one long sentence. Think about how you can show logical connections between your ideas by using words that show cause and effect. Look for words that show contrast, like such as, and then, just then…etc. Try and join your sentences by using phrases beginning with if, when, after, as, etc. You can manipulate the sentence and move phrases around to find the best way to convey your ideas to the reader.

Try and string together your minor details, you don’t need a new sentence for each piece of information. Think about how you can start your sentences in different ways. Think back to grade school, try a prepositional phrase or a dependent clause! Sometimes, you have to get back to basics.

When writing, it’s important to remember that variety is one of the keys to keeping your reader’s attention. Make sure you have a mix of long and short sentences, so you don’t end up with lots of choppy sentences that could distract your reader.

Happy Writing!

P.S. CLICK HERE For more Writing Help, and FREE Children’s Book Writing Templates

Day 5…Irritating

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“It was irritating to read all those adverbs.”

The first time I ever read Champ and Nessie was on 6/19/2014. (Wow!) The first draft of Champ and Nessie was 24 pages of unformatted text, 5486 words. Check out my post on The Journey Begins, for the backstory on what took me so long. My first for real editorial read was 4/11/2019. On that day, I cut 10 pages of redundant text and over used adverbs and transformed C&N to a 14 page manuscript. How, you ask? I omitted every single adverb, and most of the imagery that Author Zebulan Frayne had used.

Adverbs will KILL your story, get rid of them. This is a famous tip backed by Mark Twain and Ernest Hemmingway, so its safe to say, this is a no brainer when it comes to editing your book. One of the things that will make any writer stand out as an amature is too many adverbs. As a writer the last thing we want to do is appear amateurish. Especially, if you are a independent writer, the pressure is worse than ever.

With a background in editing, it comes natural for me to spot a “filler word”. But in case you don’t know exactly what to look for, check out our Writing Resource, Filler Words reference sheet to help you omit some of those unnecessary adverbs.

Print out your manuscript, or storyboard and go grab a red pen. Red line all the adverbs and re-read your story, see what makes sense to edit and what you need to keep. In the end, I bet you have a more concise text that is tightend up and clean.

To get an idea of how your manuscript is coming along, click on our Children’s Book Length Guideline and make sure your word count is on track for your age group and category.

Day 4…Fool

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If you fail to plan, plan to fail. One of the most sound pieces of advise I can give you is to plan, plan and plan some more. In the beginning, I failed to do this. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. About 6 months before Champ and Nessie was published, I decided to watch a few Author Tube videos on Self Publishing and I had quite the 5 subject notebook filled with notes and “to-do’s” after that. I realized pretty fast that I was going to be a 1 woman show after that. Publishing, marketing, tax paperwork, ISBN’s, obtaining my trademark and copyright, hiring my beta and ARC team, writing my story, editing my story – again and again, formatting my manuscript and illustrations, setting up my social media outlets, creating content, setting up my website and blog, setting up and maintaining my Author Platform…and the list goes on! Spoiler – it can be done!

Some people like storyboarding, some don’t. Some people will rework a draft 10 times, others can knock out a good story in one sitting. Let your writing success be your only option. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself, just get yourself out there! Ask 1000 questions until you figure it out. The writing community is absolutely amazing, if you can connect with other authors in your niche, you will have the best support team.

Any successful writer will tell you that they did not wake up one morning and decided “Today I will be a writer”, they simply are one. If you want to write, just do it! Write from your heart, because what you write becomes who you are.

Day 3…Post

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Post Script…You are awesome!

The fear of the unknown can make any aspiring author run for the hills. I know this to be a fact, as I ran several times, as far away as I could away from Champ and Nessie’s unfinished manuscript. The question that hung over me day after day was, “What do I with this this story now that it is actually starting to feel like a real book?” There are many things I wish I knew at the beginning of this journey, hence my desire share my new found knowledge with the world!

One of the first, and most important things is figuring out what age range you are writing for, and then write within that word count.

Most writers think they are writing picture books for age 3-7, that is the most common category. If that’s you, then shoot for 750 words, that is the sweet spot. If you write a picture book more than 1000 words, you’re sunk. So don’t be afraid to take out that red pen and slash and dash until your word count is way down!

Another super important tip, is to make sure you start off your story quickly! Many books fail because they lose the attention of the child or parent in the first page. (Sad, but true.) In Champ and Nessie, I had written a long winded, beautiful story setting “deep in the heart of Pangea…” And after I realized my manuscript was 20 pages too long, my first 4 pages of text, turned into 1 paragraph.

In Champ and Nessie on first page, you are immediately introduced to the story setting, the main characters, and then right into a dramatic scene. So try and minimize the backstory as much as possible, don’t set the scene, just tell us what is happening.

You have such a short space to tell your story that you can’t waste any time. The pacing of children’s stories generally move very quickly. Launch your story on the first page, then introduce us to the main problem or “key” point of your story as soon as possible.

Click on my free Children’s Book Length printable for reference!

Check my other posts on Writing a Children’s Book and I hope you find some inspiration to Write Your Story!

Day 2…Plant

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Think about your goal. Realistically, what will it take to make your dream a reality? How can you make it happen? As a writer I know inspiration can strike in abundance or be lost for months on end. Don’t stress out over things you can’t control. Empower yourself to think positively and take baby steps forward every day!

Really think about what you would like to accomplish and take a moment to think about these 5 prompts below.

  1. My goal is…
  2. First I have to…
  3. Next I will…
  4. Then I will…
  5. Finally I can…

How many emotions just flew through your mind? Excitement? Fear? Insecurity? Confusion? One extremely important thing I learned this year publishing Champ and Nessie, is that you have to water your idea every day! Every. Single. Day. Instead of thinking “I have so much work to do!” or reminding yourself daily that the finish line is so far away, think positive! Don’t think about what you need to do in a month from now, focus on the task in front of you. Baby steps move us forward every day. Think instead “I am so excited to work on this amazing project!”

Plant your seed below! Fill out our Free Goal Worksheet below. Then, focus on what you will need to do next! Notice how I will, and I have to, turn into finally I can!

I hope you will share your journey with me! Email your goal sheet to!

Click here to download your Goal Worksheet

Check out my post on the Power of Your Subconscious mind!

Day 1…Flame

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If I ever have the opportunity to ask an author a question, I usually want to know about their very first idea. What was that first, tiny spark that turned into the massive flame that became their completed book or series? I know a lot of hard work went into writing that story in order for me to hold their book in my hands. How did it all begin? I am always fascinated when I hear stories about how a tiny spark, turned into a great flame. Most authors if you ask them will tell you it all started with a single spark of inspiration one random day. I know if you asked me, I would tell you my inspiration came from my husband, over the course of many random (this book is never going to happen) days. I don’t know where or how I came about writing again. It got lost somewhere in the struggle of life, work, and motherhood. I always wanted to feel a lightening strike, a lightbulb moment, where a story came to me in perfect glory. It took me a little while to realize it never happens like that. I finally reached a point in my life where I know, you just have to do what you love. And discovering writing again has made me realize that. Once you have your eyes open to stories and magic and mayhem and mischief, the sparks come from everywhere. I remain fascinated and thankful for these moments of inspiration, especially since I am now a published author.

What sparks will light your flame? Where will your next wave of inspiration flow from?