1. Keep the book between 28 and 32 pages.
2. The text should be between 800 and 1,000 words.
3. Keep your readability consistent and your characters relatable.
4. Hook the young reader in the first paragraph or page.
5. Make your story a page turner.
6. Illustrations complement and enhance the story.
7. Allow the reader to anticipate what is going to happen.
8. Develop meaningful, imaginative, and creative content.
9. Stimulate communication and socialization via your book.
10. Never talk down to a child, especially in the written word.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies advises you to plan carefully for holiday expenses to avoid a Red Tuesday™ caused by using credit to finance Santa.
In answer to a recent survey, about being prepared financially for the holidays, only 20 percent of responders said they were “prepared” or at least somewhat prepared.” The unprepared 80 percent need to plan now. Those who can stick to a plan will be better off when the bills come in.
To help you stay within your means this holiday season, follow these five tips for a holiday costing less:
1. Draw names from a hat (one you already own). If you buy for a large circle of people who are all connected (families, co-workers) this is a way to reduce the number of gifts on your list, which will reduce the amount of money you spend. Even if everyone does not want to participate, you can eliminate a few gifts among the ones who do want to draw names.
2. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Whether you draw names or not, make a list of every person you will buy for. Assign a dollar amount to each name. As you buy gifts, mark them off the list and note the amount spent. If you cannot resist going over budget on a gift, you’ll need to make up the difference from someone else’s gift.
3. Demonstrate the true spirit of giving. A charitable donation is a perfect gift for those hard to buy for on your list and you may be able to take a tax deduction for the year. Parents with children who are having a hard time understanding that it is better to give than to receive will find that a gift donation is a wonderful way to illustrate that point. Research the charity and share some of the stories with your children and encourage them to share them in turn with the person the donation was made for.
4. Give gifts with a personal touch. Making something special for someone, whether it’s a hand-knitted sweater or a tin of homemade cookies, or bookends you’ve made, shows you care enough to spend not just money, but time on them. Many unique, one-of-a-kind items can only be bought secondhand. Again, spending your time to research gift ideas tailored to specific people on your list makes your gift extra-special without breaking the budget. Used bookstores, garage and estate sales and secondhand stores should not be overlooked and can yield great bargains.
5. Go retro with old-fashioned entertaining, decorating, and gift-wrapping ideas. Potluck suppers will allow everyone to contribute to your holiday dinner. Stringing popcorn and cranberry chains for decorating while watching a holiday movie might become your favorite family activity this year. The Sunday comics make wonderful gift-wrap and are a fun way to recycle.
Make all purchases using cash, check, or debit card. When shopping, leave your credit cards at home so you won’t be tempted to buy something that was not planned and you won’t have to worry about a Red Tuesday when the bills arrive in 2013.
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
- W. Somerset Maugham
"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
-- C. S. Lewis
“Constant work, constant writing and constant revision. The real writer learns nothing from life. He is more like an oyster or a sponge. What he takes in he takes in normally the way any person takes in experience. But it is what is done with it in his mind, if he is a real writer, that makes his art.”
-- Gore Vidal