Some advice for children’s writers (and maybe even those writing for adults) prompted by a manuscript I recently received in my role as a freelancer for a writers’ advice agency.
Don’t start your novel with the line:
Tommy was bored…
It started out as an ordinary day like any other…
There’s nothing technically ‘wrong’ with either example, and in fact – as I pointed out to the writer of this particular ‘Bored’ opening – it was quite valid in that the idea was to lull the reader with a low-key opening and then hit them with a dramatic development.
But the fact is, those devices have been done to death! I can almost guarantee that any agent or publisher’s reader will let out a little groan as soon as they see it – and you don’t want to get off to a bad start!
A newer trend I’ve noticed coming up on the rails, and one which will eventually fall into the same category if it doesn’t already, is the idea of children being whisked into another world via a computer/computer program. It’s still a fascinating idea with great potential – but if you use it, make sure you give it an original slant!