I've just finished selecting the stories for Bridge House Publishing's latest anthology, the one that will support the Children's Hospices. Some of the reasons are listed below.
There was really no story. This happens so often. I'd even query some I've seen in the New Yorker and in the Sunday Times colour supplement. Good writing has made some authors there get away with it. But you can't in an anthology for children. You have to have a story that works.
The plot was clichéd. Oh, dear, we’ve read this over and over....
The story was not for the junior school child – content or language was too old or too young. Only reading more and more of this material will help the author to get this exactly right. Some contact with junior school children would also be useful. Start offering author visits or do some voluntary work at your local school.
The story was too far-fetched. Back to the problems of story again. Only this time it’s the opposite problem. Some stories were just too melodramatic and not convincing.
There was too much telling and not enough showing. That old chestnut. But it is really important in short stories especially those written for children.
The story was too sad for this particular collection. We did stipulate that we wanted uplifting stories.
There was a roving viewpoint; this does not suit stories as short as these. This is also a very common problem amongst inexperienced writers.
We couldn’t give individual feedback but at least we let people know the points above. And now we’re letting the wider world know.
Happy writing, everyone.
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