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Submitting stories: narration vs. dialogue

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When submitting stories to most children's magazines, is there a preference : stories with lots of narration/description or do they like stories with mostly dialogue?  Or a combination of both? For example, if their submission guidelines state they like humorous tales, do they want a well narrated story or one with lots of dialogue between the characters?  I recently submitted a story and the rejection stated there was too much description and narration.  Maybe it depends on the magazine.  :confused2
#1 - October 23, 2010, 06:09 AM

I think it TOTALLY depends on the magazine. It's really helpful to pick up the last few issues and study, study, study. Each one is different, so that story you just submitted may fit better in a different magazine without too much change. If you really want to land that magazine, then get an issue or two, make note of length of stories, length of sentences, pace of story, mood, edginess, etc. Then tailor that story to the magazine and resubmit (only after making significant changes.)
#2 - October 23, 2010, 06:21 AM

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I agree.  Reading the different magazines with a writerly eye is key.   A Carus Magazine group story, for example, is very different from a Highlights piece.    Each magazine has its own flavor and style.  I make it a practice, and it has become one of the joys of each month, to go to the library and read the new month's issues.  Our library has HFC, the Carus Magazines, Jack and Jill, Humpty-Dumpty, American Girl, and Boy's Life.   It really is helpful and inspiring to read what they choose to publish and how they edit their pieces to fit the style of the magazine.

I think, however, to anwer your specifi question, that most of these magazines favor a blend of narrative and dialogue because, unlike in a picture book. the text tells most of the story.

Laura
#3 - October 23, 2010, 07:07 AM
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And it also depends on the story. I've had stories that are almost all dialogue and some that are almost all narration, but most are a mix of the two. But I concur with the others. Study at least half a dozen issues of a particular magazine. Read the stories. Type up some of them to get a feel for what they look like in manuscript format. Get a "feel" for them -- for tone and style. Then revise your own story. That's pretty much how I break into a new magazine.

Good luck.
Vijaya
#4 - October 23, 2010, 08:20 AM
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