If you are going to write a book, and you intend on it being successful, you need to know these things.
1) There should be CHARACTERS. Loving, compelling, flaw-driven, emotionally-shipwrecked, quirky, humorous, endearing CHARACTERS. Give us CHARACTERS who we can cheer along their journey or cry with them on their journey. Whether you are writing Picture books, Chapter books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, or Adult; we want to feel some kind of connection with these characters.
2) There should be CONFLICT. There is NO! NO! NO! story unless there is opposing forces. The CHARACTER should be going up against something or someone. For instance, to have a strong book, the character should be up against one of the four example listed below:
* CHARACTER versus man – this is the character challenging another character. The antagonist (someone who antagonizes the character) trying to keep the character from reaching his or her goal.
** CHARACTER versus society – this is the CHARACTER challenging society. I am working on a nonfiction picture book. The CHARACTER is an African-American paratrooper during World War II. At that time, the Army was segregated. African-Americans were considered second-class citizens. And the people who were chosen to lead them would address them not as soldiers, but as the “N” word. This is a prime example of CHARACTER versus society. Society considered this man inferior and so treated him as such. Separate water fountain, bathrooms, schools, etc.
***CHARACTER versus nature – this is the CHARACTER challenging the natural elements – fire, rain, hurricane, thunderstorms, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, blizzards, etc.
****CHARACTER versus self – This is the little voice inside the character that is telling him whether or not to do something. If I do this…then this will happen. The character is questioning his actions.
If you do not have one of these things going on, then you do not have a book, story, or Newberry winner. SORRY!
3) There should be CLIMAX. (Get your mind out the gutter, but it is the same thing/feeling :D) This is the most exciting part of the story. It is where the antagonist gets defeated. The part where the hero wins. Or the part that is the turning point. Things changed, whether for better or for worse.
According to Ask.com, there are three definition to better understand the CLIMAX of a story.
1. In a story, the CLIMAX is a point when the events in the story gather greatest intensity, thus leading to a conclusion. Usually, after the climax, the story moves of to a logical conclusion, thus resolving whatever conflict had been introduced.
2. The CLIMAX of a story refers to the point where the reader knows who wins in the conflict. It is said to be ‘the most exciting part of a story’ although sometimes that is not the case. In the climax of a story, the reader or audience is able to know who between the protagonist and antagonist wins.
3. The CLIMAX of a story is usually the highest point of interest in the story, when the characters are brought together and the reader discovers who wins the conflict.
In conclusion, writing takes time. And writing a Newberry Award-winning book takes more time. But you can do it. If you include these three elements in your writing, you are creating books that will end up in the hands of many. Go write that winning book. You will be glad you did.