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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Fictional Picture Books with STEM topics
« Last post by JodyJS on October 06, 2019, 02:44 PM »
Ah, gotcha! When I want to know what the science standards are in my state for certain grades, I google the Dept of Elem Ed and look at their science curriculum. BUT (easier?) if you can find NF books for kids at your library that cover your topic or similar topics in the age range your ms targets, then I'm betting you're on solid ground.

As to the pitch, I'm not sure you need to be super-specific for publishers; usually "Ages: 4-8" works for most PBs.
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Fictional Picture Books with STEM topics
« Last post by marla-lesage on October 06, 2019, 02:32 PM »
Thank you ladies! Story first isn't really the problem though... I've polished the story & then thought is there a STEM twist here. I'm just having a hard time knowing if it fits within the curriculum for the targeted age range of the story.  & if it does, how do I include that in my pitch to publishers - or do I?

I'm using the backmatter to expand on the science that is in the story but not explained beyond what is necessary for the story itself to make sense. 
In the backmatter I've included info on tides, some info about the tidal zone ecosystem & animals that live there.  Some facts are presented in the story but in a very natural way - if they weren't there the story wouldn't make sense and the plot is dependent on the setting!
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The Art of Grammar / Re: Usage of commas after “first” in these sentences
« Last post by Anne Marie on October 06, 2019, 12:49 PM »
I really want the commas after "first" and "at first"; however, I wouldn't want the comma after "sometimes."  But I believe everybody that there's not a hard and fast rule. :)

AM

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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Fictional Picture Books with STEM topics
« Last post by JodyJS on October 06, 2019, 11:52 AM »
Totally agree with Vijaya (no surprise there). Story comes first. I have two books that are nonfictiony-fiction, Prudence the Part-Time Cow and A Chip Off the Old Block. Prudence is about a cow who's trying to fit in with her herd, but her science-mind makes it hard. Chip is about a rock trying to find his place in the world. It contains lots of rock puns and nonfiction back matter about rocks, etc. Good luck!
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The Art of Grammar / Re: Usage of commas after “first” in these sentences
« Last post by Pons on October 06, 2019, 11:44 AM »
" In spite of what some may say about ‘rules’ of punctuation, use of commas is optional in many cases and very much depends on personal preference, avoiding ambiguity and promoting clarity of message.  This clarity is not just about the sense the reader can obtain from the text; it is also about creating the effect the writer desires."
I love this quote from David. Comma use is all about clarity. There used to be more hard-and-fast rules about comma usage, which makes me wonder if this particular critique-er is a little older, or maybe was taught by someone who is Old School. I think all your sentences are fine without commas, but commas could be included if you want. Adding the commas would definitely affect the flow of words.

That being said, there are times when commas definitely should be used. As you've found online, there is a lot of discussion about this, and feelings can run high.

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David, thank you for the quick reply and helpful links.  I was quickly overwhelmed by trying to sort through Google reviews, so the specific article recommendations are very helpful.
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It's funny how many arguments simple comma usage can spark, but I agree with https://grammarpuss13.blogspot.com/2016/01/using-commas-with-fronted-adverbials.html

" In spite of what some may say about ‘rules’ of punctuation, use of commas is optional in many cases and very much depends on personal preference, avoiding ambiguity and promoting clarity of message.  This clarity is not just about the sense the reader can obtain from the text; it is also about creating the effect the writer desires."

So neither is wrong, comma or not. And in your cases, I'd leave them out.

You can also read http://theeditorsblog.net/2015/08/27/introduce-me-with-a-comma/ and search for "single-word adverbs"
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Fictional Picture Books with STEM topics
« Last post by Vijaya on October 06, 2019, 08:56 AM »
The story has to come first Marla. And that often means simplifying the research. I'll give you an example--my story Teeter Totter is a very good demonstration of its physics. In my original version, I was also trying to show how weight influences the distance where you sit from the fulcrum (the pivot point). Also my animals were mean to one another (all taken from my childhood). The editor loved the story but wanted it simplified. I was very happy with the way it turned out...and my animals were even nice to each other.

https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2011/01/feast-of-epiphany.html  has a picture of the story. And when I did a search I discovered it's also narrated. Cool!

Similar story with Ten Easter Eggs--in the beginning they were very mathematical, doing geometry as well, but when I refocused the text to only chick-like things and then rhymed it, it was picked up from the slush. So my advice is to keep the STEM element focused just on one thing and really work on the story. Make sure you have age appropriate conflict and a resolution. A surprise is always helpful.

Good luck!
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Upcoming Education & Writer Events / Re: List of Writing Workshops & Retreats
« Last post by hairaplenty on October 06, 2019, 07:21 AM »
Thank you for keeping this updated! Very helpful!
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Hi everyone,

So I just got some more local feedback on a short PB that I had also posted in the boards.  I need to check wether the commas added by one critique are absolutely necessary.  I understand that generally you use a comma after sequencing words.  In most cases I would.  But I also usually put commas where I naturally pause, and in this case adding the commas changes the flow of how I heard the sentences when I wrote them.  The sentences in question are “First find a place where the branches are low.” (This is not followed by any additional sequencing words such as “next”, “second”, “then”, etc. if it matters.). The other sentence is “At first you may not be able to climb very high.”  Once again, not followed by any other sequencing phrases.  So, do I have to use commas after “first”?  TIA!  Editing to add I also just noticed that the critique also added a comma after “sometimes” in this sentence- “Sometimes it’s nice to sit by yourself.”  Advice on that as well, please.

Sarah
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