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Coaching KidLit Episode 31: Navigating Time in Storytelling

Coaching KidLit Episode 31: Navigating Time in Storytelling: Past, Present, and Future

In this episode of Coaching KidLit, hosts Sharon Skinner and Christy Yaros dive into techniques for effectively telling stories that involve backstory, flashbacks, and flash-forwards.

They discuss the importance of understanding the narrative perspective in time and the challenges associated with various methods of integrating past events into the present storyline.

Practical guidelines are given on how to balance storytelling elements to keep the reader engaged without overloading them with information.

Key Topics Covered:

01:00 Understanding the Narrator’s Position in Time
02:18 Creating Immediate and Relatable Narratives
04:13 Incorporating Backstory Effectively
05:36 Balancing Flashbacks and Story Flow
24:45 Prologues and Epilogues: When and How to Use Them
29:45 Actionable Tips for Writers




[00:00:00] Introduction and Overview

Welcome to Coaching KidLit, a podcast about writing and publishing good KidLit. We dig into various aspects of writing craft through a KidLit lens and provide inspiration and clear, actionable items to help writers like you move forward on their KidLit writing journeys. I’m Sharon Skinner, author accelerator, certified book coach, and author of speculative fiction and KidLit, including picture books, middle grade, and young adult.

And I’m Christy Yaros, Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach and Story Editor, focusing on KidLit, including middle grade and young adult.

[00:00:41] Sharon Skinner: Hey Sharon,

Hey Christy, how are you?

[00:00:44] Christy Yaros: I’m good. Let’s talk today about story, past story, present story, future, aka prologues, backstory, flashbacks, epilogues, flash forwards.

[00:00:58] Sharon Skinner: So we’re going to bounce around in time. I’m excited for this.

[00:01:00] Understanding the Narrator’s Position in Time

[00:01:00] Christy Yaros: I think in order to talk about story present and story past and story future we have to know where the narrator is standing in time first.

it could be in present tense and still technically not be happening right now. It could be in past tense and still be technically happening right now. You could be telling the story five minutes after it ended. You could be telling the story, a week, a month, 20 years. We don’t want to be as kid book writers in a place where the narrator is telling us about something that happened 20 years ago. because we don’t want to have the adult lens reflected through that. So where is the narrator standing in time is not like summer. It doesn’t mean that, it’s January.

It means what does the narrator know, and when do they know it?

[00:01:48] Sharon Skinner: where am I telling this story to you from?

[00:01:52] Christy Yaros: how much knowledge of the whole story do I have, when I’m telling it to you.

[00:01:57] Sharon Skinner: Right. So you can have a narrator stand pretty much anywhere in time. it could get more complicated if you have them standing in the middle of a space, starting a story, and then the story catches up to them and then they go from there.

That’s a little more complicated and it’s a little bit more challenging, but it certainly can be done.

[00:02:18] Creating Immediate and Relatable Narratives

[00:02:18] Christy Yaros: They want to feel like they’re experiencing it. at the same time without that, if I had known then what I know now,

[00:02:27] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, well, they want to feel like it’s a friend relating a story to them, somebody their age who’s, on this journey that they can tag along with, or who just went on the journey and they get to tag along with them.

[00:02:39] Christy Yaros: right? Like, suppose you just went to the supermarket, you come home, you tell your family, you’re not going to believe what just happened to me at the supermarket, right? Like you haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on it. It just happened. You’re not putting years of wisdom in between when it happened and when you’re telling the story, right?

So it’s pretty accurate probably of what actually happened, and you’re still the same person as the story happened to. as opposed to now, you’re telling a story about, well, when I went to the supermarket 20 years ago, and I didn’t know these things that I understand now, and I did this, but now I can tell you the difference between How I did it then and what I would have done differently now, or how understanding myself now more explains why things happen the way that they happened.

[00:03:34] Sharon Skinner: not only that, but it’s more immediate, right? It feels more immediate because we’re hearing about it right now. Even if it’s last summer, we’re hearing about it as if it’s a very immediate thing for that character

[00:03:47] Christy Yaros: and they’re not including reflection that they can do after the fact. Like, feel like it’s actually happening, and that this change is happening now,

so then if, if we assume that for us, most of the time, the narrator is standing at the same point in time as when the story is being told, then anything that has happened before is backstory

[00:04:13] Incorporating Backstory Effectively

[00:04:13] Christy Yaros: And then when we talk about how do we incorporate that into our stories, if we need to let the reader know things that have happened before the story has started.

[00:04:26] Sharon Skinner: Right. So there are ways to do flashbacks that we can do well. my biggest thing about backstory or whatever took place prior to where we are in the story is that we need to tell the reader only what they need to know when they need to know it. Otherwise you’re info dumping on them and you’re giving them a lot of information they don’t necessarily need to know. And this happens a lot with authors who are either new to this and they’ve built this character and they’ve built this world and they just want to give you all this information about it right now. They want to tell you all about all this creativity and get it out there.

But the challenge to that is that we don’t care about that. We care about what’s happening for this character and we want to see it, as you said earlier, through that character lens, not through some adult or somebody else telling us about this fancy world that they’ve built. So we definitely need to know certain things as the character goes along. We need to know what they know about things and that includes backstory. That includes things that have taken place prior to our entry into the story.

[00:05:36] Balancing Flashbacks and Story Flow

[00:05:36] Sharon Skinner: Them letting us know what those things are and how we get there is important because just suddenly stopping and saying, when he was a boy, of only three, Tobias did blah, blah, blah, it’s a break in the narrative that can be really jarring.

But if you have the character see something watching the bridge break. Crumble reminded me of the block towers that I used to build and my brother would kick over,

[00:06:06] Christy Yaros: And then also relating that, but then why do we care that happened to you and your brother when you were three, right?

[00:06:12] Sharon Skinner: what’s the emotional connection to that moment? Yes, we have to connect the dots,

I felt the same clutch in my stomach. We can get a visceral connection or an emotional connection or a logical connection for the character, but we need a connection. But we also need a causality for that memory. We need to know why they’re having that memory and then making that connection.

[00:06:41] Christy Yaros: especially if we want to feel like this is the narrator, the protagonist telling us the story as it’s happening. Like, are you really just stopping in the middle of your life and reminiscing randomly about something that happened to you five years ago? maybe, depending on the character, but. when you’re having a conversation with somebody else that goes, Oh, that reminds me of the time when and so here and then you always bring it back to why you’re telling them that story about your past that it helps you both to understand something that’s happening now or something about me, the one telling the story that helps you understand me better.

[00:07:20] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, there has to be a reason for it. And so we need, and it’s something, it should be something that we need to know. And we need to know it now, either because of what’s happening in the moment or what’s going to happen next.

[00:07:33] Christy Yaros: Not just because you feel like a clever writer who has to tell us all the things that you’ve thought about for your story. But again, as always, recognizing that in a first draft, There might be more of this stuff happening as you’re writing it than when you revise it.

[00:07:49] Sharon Skinner: those info dumps can be pulled out and then, just those bits can be sprinkled in where they belong. Oh, I’ve got two pages of backstory here about this character. And I actually only need these three lines right here, but the rest of this I can save for later because that might come up again or something similar might bring that up or this other aspect will come up.

[00:08:11] Christy Yaros: when we’re talking about revealing backstory, we have options in how we can do that. for example, whether it’s a character reflection, thinking about something that, like, just thinking about the time I had ice cream versus showing us the scene where all of those things happened. let’s talk about why we might choose one over the other.

[00:08:40] Sharon Skinner: does the character need that full scene in order to really understand why we’re there and to make that connection that we talked about earlier to what’s happening to the character now? Do we need just a quick summary, a couple of sentences of a memory that flashes?

I remembered the glass of water and I picked it up and threw it at the fire, that kind of thing, that’s a really lame example, but, just to give you some idea

If it’s something that’s more important that we want to get the full scene of what happened. And pacing is a big, big thing that you have to worry about too. You don’t want to stop the story completely to tell that other scene. if the pacing needs to keep moving forward, you never want it to feel like oh, wait, stop.

I’m going to tell you this other thing now. You never want it to feel like that. You want to slip people into the backstory as smoothly as you can, and then bring them back forward so that they feel like it wasn’t a, big tangent off to the side, right? So no matter how you do it, whether it’s scene or summary, you need it to be smooth. You need to make sure that it matters and then move us forward. even when it’s a scene, you have to keep it short. there are stories that are framed with starting at this critical moment in time that then back up and will tell you how we got there and then bring us back to that critical moment in time which may be the climactic moment or right about the climactic moment of a story. it’s doable as long as it’s done well and you slip us in and keep us going. Right,

[00:10:22] Christy Yaros: Yeah, I think that’s probably one of the biggest things is what you just said right there about not interrupting and whether it feels natural. just like as if you’re telling a person a story and you suddenly slip in some random, side bit or like back thing that happened to you and the person’s like, what does that have to do with anything?

Why are you telling me this right now? You don’t want your reader to feel the same way. you can do it in a way, I think with summary that, purposefully makes them think, wait, what? Like if, say you’re showing Sharon and Christy fighting and then it’s like, just like last time and you keep going, right?

tells us that this isn’t the first time this has happened and doesn’t give you enough where you’re like, what? What do you mean just like last time?

[00:11:12] Sharon Skinner: but it’s enough that You know that this isn’t the first time we’ve had a fight, and then you move forward. So yes, it puts a little question in your brain, but it’s not the kind of question that stops you in your tracks. that’s the other thing.

You want to be careful that the questions that you leave unanswered, in a reader’s brain, don’t stop them in their tracks. That’s why if there’s something that happens out of character or feels out of sync or unusual, the character needs to address it at least. I noticed this or I have this question about what just happened and then I move on.

As long as the reader knows that you know that there’s a question there, they’ll be happy with it even if you don’t answer the question right then and there. They won’t sit there and worry about it. They’ll know they’re going to get an answer at some point.

[00:11:59] Christy Yaros: And then like a place where maybe you would show our first fight would be if the first time it happened, I didn’t do to defend myself. Now growth has happened. We’re fighting again. And now I flashback to show how I didn’t say something. and then present, I say something.

And now you’ve shown us what you used to be like, what you’re like now, how things have changed, and there’s a reason to have seen the fight in real time as opposed to just something in there.

[00:12:33] Sharon Skinner: I think that’s a good example of how that works.

[00:12:35] Christy Yaros: I don’t know why we’re fighting Sharon.

[00:12:37] Sharon Skinner: I don’t think you can have a story where there is no backstory at all. You certainly can have a story that has no flashbacks, but I don’t know that you can successfully get away with a story that doesn’t give us at least some hints about things that happened before. Yeah. In the thoughts and behaviors of the character, if nothing else, or the characters around them, dialogue and things like that. Hey, you’re the person that I saw yesterday. now there’s backstory. Because we need to know that a character has lived prior to this, entering this story, and that they live after we exit the story.

we don’t want to step in and think that this character just, was made out of whole cloth and dropped on this first page and that there’s nothing more to them because then they’re flat. we don’t get that well rounded sense from them that they are a full-fledged human being or a full-fledged being that we can care about.

And it goes back to what you were saying earlier about we need a reason to care, no matter how we enter the story, we need at some point very quickly to care.

[00:13:43] Christy Yaros: And I think we need to understand how your character has relationships with other people, because we learn as much about the character from what they do and what they say as how they interact with the world and the people around them and how those other people interact with them.

These don’t have to be paragraphs, pages of things, they could be one word that can tell you that this isn’t the first time something has happened, or that it is, or just the reaction, you know, if someone comes up to you and hugs you in the hallway, and you, you’re like, my body freezes, we know this is something like you have some kind of either past relationship with them that’s unpleasant, or this is a surprise to you or whatever, versus, you know, your friend comes up and hugs you and you hug them back.

This is establishing something that’s normal. Or maybe in the beginning of the story, you freeze, but towards the end, you get more comfortable with it.

[00:14:40] Sharon Skinner: So I think that it’s important to know your characters and your world and understand where they’ve been before the story starts, before you enter the story, because it isn’t even necessarily where the story starts. Their story may have started before we enter the picture in the book, right? The point at which we enter may not be where their story starts, but it’s where the reader gains access to what’s going on with the character, right?

[00:15:12] Christy Yaros: Right? I mean, we’re trying to start our story as close as we can to the day that something is different. and that different thing could be something that’s been building for months or years and has finally come to a boiling point. We’ll need to know how it got there, but it doesn’t mean you have to tell us, here’s everything that happened to get us to that moment.

but we’ve talked about this before, how our character is the sum of all of their experiences, plus their personality, plus the world that they live in. you and I can both walk into a room in the same situation and react completely differently and both be in character for how we would react.

But there’s so many reasons why you would have a reaction versus the reaction that I would have. And we don’t necessarily need to explain all of them, but what is it that would make us say, that’s such a Sharon thing to do? That’s such a Christy thing to do.

[00:16:05] Sharon Skinner: we need to know as writers. what it is that the backstory of our characters, the things that have made them who they are in order to know how they will react in a situation. So that’s important for us as writers to really get to know solidly who these characters are.

We need to get to know them on a deeper level so that we know how their journey through the story matters.

[00:16:30] Christy Yaros: you also want to be able to keep that character consistent throughout having, right, that knowing that this is how they are around all adults, except for this adult. And so they act this way, this is how they are around their friends, but not with this friend, keeping it consistent so that you don’t feel like, wait a minute, or consistent enough to where you’re changing it.

Right? And we can see that you’re changing it on purpose and that’s a growth.

[00:16:56] Sharon Skinner: Or if they’re doing something that’s not consistent, we need to know why in that moment. We need to know what they’re thinking or feeling that’s causing them to be different in that moment than they would normally be.

[00:17:10] Christy Yaros: And, and again, this all goes to knowing the more you know, you just don’t have to tell us all of it. And we get, and also trusting your reader, which we talk about a lot, trusting that the reader is going to pick up on these things too, without you having to hit them over the head with an info dump or a flashback, or even sometimes even without backstory, you can just know that there’s something more. and it’s enough.

[00:17:38] Sharon Skinner: so if there are ways to do it in the midst of action, in the midst of a scene where you have the flashback, the causality of a memory or you have something that causes the character to start daydreaming or drift away or remembering something, there are ways to do that. You can also give us space breaks or chapter breaks and then drop us into a different time as long as you ground us very quickly and as long as we know why we’re there.

Either then, we don’t have to know immediately why we’re there. But we have to know pretty quickly why we’re in that past moment. We have to know why, how it connects, like you said, how it connects back if it’s a whole scene.

Still have to know how it connects back.

[00:18:28] Christy Yaros: Yeah. And, and sometimes that’s action happening in one scene and reaction happening in the next where they’re reflecting back. And that’s where we get the backstory or the flashback about why what happened in that scene mattered to them in a different way or something. but thinking about again, like if you were watching a movie, If the camera kept pausing to tell you, wait, hold on.

Like if Sharon walks into a room and there’s a cat, hold on, let me tell you about this cat. And you tell all this, right? Like, do we need to know?

[00:18:59] Sharon Skinner: Well, honestly, I’ve actually seen films that do that. but they’re done purposely to do that for a reason, right? most KidLit, you don’t see that because it’s jarring and it bounces you back and forth a lot. I think you could get away with stuff like that more in like YA, but in middle grade and lower, it’s, I think if you did you just too much of that, you’re going to lose your reader.

[00:19:27] Christy Yaros: And thinking, having a purpose for why you’re doing these things, not just because you need to get this information out or. Knowing that this is the right spot for it and that it doesn’t interrupt and, and again, keeping in mind, especially with lower grades, younger children, how much are we expecting them to keep in their head?

if something is happening right now and you’re pausing to tell us about something that happened before, how much can they hold

[00:19:57] Sharon Skinner: there are times when we need to remind the reader of things that happened before as we go along. So little mentions of, Oh, that’s right. I left my lunch at home, or, yesterday the door was yellow, but now it’s red.

And especially if you put a question in the reader’s mind. and you’re going to delay answering it. Sometimes you want to bring that thread through again and remind us.

Anything that’s going to take us out of the story, and make us have to try and remember something or look back. I mean, you have the potential to lose them. So just even as an adult,

but there’s a balance. There’s a total balance because, I’ve been felt I have felt like fine. I know this already. You’ve told us this 14 times, there’s so there’s a difference between, bringing it to the surface again here and there and doing it so often that the readers like annoyed by it.

trusting the reader. I like to have my clients when we’re doing revision and my spreadsheet, as you know, I know how much you love spreadsheets, but that’s a column that I have in there is when a flashback happens. and when, even significant backstory is revealed. So that’s something you can track because you really don’t want to overdo it on the flashbacks.

[00:21:16] Christy Yaros: Because if you’re going to keep flashing back, then the question I think comes up of like, why didn’t you start the story in a different place? If you have to keep going back and telling us stuff that happened before, why are you telling us this story now? Maybe you’re trying to tell a different story or that you’re not, the other things that we’ve talked about.

You’re not trusting us to know without going back constantly or it’s something we really don’t need to know. We don’t need to know now.

[00:21:45] Sharon Skinner: I think in early drafts, that’s always a struggle is where do we start? Where do we enter the story at? and at what point do we exit? Because you could tell a story from the day someone was born until the day they died.

but that’s not typically how we do things. Now, that might make an interesting biography of someone if they’re famous, but typically we’re trying to make a point, going back to, we’re always trying to make a point if of something we’re trying to say something with a story or show something about the characters or what have you in a story.

So where we enter and where we exit matters because The entry point and the exit point are all about what you’re encapsulating, so what is that story that you really are telling? So if you are, like you said, trying to fill in all this backstory, then why are we here? Why didn’t we start over somewhere else?

[00:22:39] Christy Yaros: and likely you wouldn’t even start us somewhere else because nothing was really happening, you’re just explaining a bunch of stuff, so it’s, so like, you probably still wouldn’t want to go back. I think I’ve rarely seen a manuscript that I felt started too late. I more often than not see something that has started too early, where you’re giving us too much things that we don’t need to know at all, ever, or that can be sprinkled in later.

[00:23:07] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, I think that’s common. because I think we’re really writing our way in a lot of times and we don’t realize that’s what we’re doing, but that’s what we’re doing. we have an idea for a story and we decide to start and we start writing our way in and we’re learning things that we need to know, but certainly that the reader does not need to know.

I know with my first published novel, I threw away the first two chapters and the fourth chapter ultimately, which became, so the third chapter became, the first chapter and chapter five became chapter two because I was writing about stuff that I needed to know, things that I needed to know. If my character was in this situation, what would she do?

So I was getting to know her, but the reader didn’t need to know all of that. Or if, and when they did, I could drop in a line here and there to show who she is and why she acts the way that she does in that moment.

[00:24:05] Christy Yaros: And then conversely, I feel like I see more manuscripts that end too late than end too soon.

[00:24:14] Sharon Skinner: I agree. Like you said, I’ve seen a lot where I’ve had to just cut 20, 30, 40, 50 pages off the end because the writer, well, part of it is we like our characters. We’ve had a great time and sometimes it’s hard for us to know when to say goodbye.

[00:24:30] Christy Yaros: then that leaves the question if sometimes we start too soon because we’ve got too much stuff in the beginning and sometimes we keep going on for too long and perhaps things that start too soon could be incorporated later.

[00:24:45] Prologues and Epilogues: To Use or Not to Use

[00:24:45] Christy Yaros: But we could also have a prologue and an epilogue. Nobody seems to like those in, every agent and editor will tell you don’t do prologues, don’t do epilogues, and yet they exist.

[00:24:58] Sharon Skinner: The reason they say that is because people do it so badly for the most part.

I think that prologues have a tendency to be info dumps. And. that’s why they don’t want to see them because usually your story doesn’t even need it. A lot of times a prologue is unnecessary for the story that you’re telling, because like you said, you can filter those things in as flashbacks and memories and segues and things.

and also with an epilogue, what are you telling us here that you didn’t know where to end the story and now all of a sudden you need to tell us what’s going to happen? I do think there are places for them. where we do want to know that the characters live on and rebuild or what have you, that there’s a future for them.

And that sometimes we need a setup that’s, we can’t quite get, like you said, because we’re not getting it from that character. We need a, maybe we need to be in a different, character viewpoint or something in order to see what’s going on before our hero enters the story. So there are uses for them that where they’re very effective, but I think what happens is that too many people think they need a prologue to set up the world and set up the story.

A lot of times you don’t need we’re talking like actual prologue, not the things we’ve talked about in other episodes, like epigraphs and little quotes and poem snippets and things that might go at the beginning of a chapter talking about something that actually happened before the story started that we might need to know.

[00:26:26] Christy Yaros: And I think maybe in a case where it sets up something in the world that there’s no way the character could. Let us know that without you really breaking the story, it might be necessary.


[00:26:39] Sharon Skinner: Well, we see, we’re seeing books and I know the Midnight Library is not a KidLit book, but honestly, that story where it starts is kind of prologue y. but it starts right away. Right? And the author was smart. The chapters are not numbered. They’re just named. So you wouldn’t know if it was a prologue or the start of the story anyway, because it’s just where we open.

[00:27:12] Christy Yaros: Interesting. But again, there are things that books aimed at adult audiences can get away with that books aimed at kid audiences can’t if not just because of our audience and what their expectations are what they can handle, what is going to interest them, what they’ll tolerate, versus what you can do with adult books.

It’s true. And, but genre too. you’ll see with things like, fantasy, they’re much more, open to seeing a prologue in fantasy than I think in a lot of other books. I think you see a lot fewer prologues in contemporary. you might see a few in historical fiction, but fantasy is one of those places where you see it more often. so I think what we’re trying to say is that story present is where it’s at. And don’t take us out of story present unless you have a good reason to do that. Keep us in the moment, experiencing it with the character, that sense of immediacy and only bring us out when you really need to let us know something that is going to confuse us, or that we need to know in order to understand the story as a whole.

Would you agree?

[00:28:32] Sharon Skinner: I agree. See, we’re not fighting.

[00:28:36] Christy Yaros: not this time.

[00:28:39] Sharon Skinner: Not like last time.

[00:28:40] Christy Yaros: just like every rule we talk about, and every standard of doing things, there are always exceptions. If it’s done well. So I think that’s just a caveat we always have to say for everything that we say, don’t do. Like, there’s always somebody who can do it,

[00:28:57] Sharon Skinner: Yeah, these are not hard and fast rules. They’re guidelines. this is the current trend of how we’re seeing things written. This is what’s being published and what’s being well received. But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable of coming up with a new structure or a different methodology that is going to wow all of us.

[00:29:23] Christy Yaros:

[00:29:23] Sharon Skinner: Okay. So I think we’ve talked a lot about all of this. I think we’ve covered everything that we wanted to cover. including a story present, story past, story future, and how we can present those in a work.

So what do you have as an action item for our listeners today?
[00:29:45] Actionable Tips for Writers

[00:29:45] Christy Yaros: So I like to use a timeline of events to see where things are happening With having a point on your timeline sort of in the middle as your story present, or where you’re starting the story, knowing that flashbacks and events and things that happened in the past still belong on this timeline, even if they’re not happening chronologically in the story, right?

so outlining your major events and things that an important events from the past that you know, are going to be important for you to incorporate somehow into your can just be something on a piece of paper, like literally a line where you have, now and show the timeline of where your story, whether your story is taking place over a week or a month or a year to show those.

And then also to. back out the things that, maybe even starting from when your character is born and like which important events you’re gonna, just to keep it straight. If my story present is June 2024 and then putting June 2023 because I’m going to talk about last summer

And if you see that You have a whole lot of stuff on the left of that starting point. Like, why? And do we need to know all of those things?

And maybe it’s something you do in the beginning, and maybe it’s something you do after you have a first draft. You go back and you kind of pull out, like I said, where I would also have in the spreadsheet, every scene, if you’re outlining by scene or chapter, if you’re outlining by chapter, that one of these things occurs.

And you notice that it’s really heavy, that you either shift where your story begins, or whether we need to know all of that information.

[00:31:29] Sharon Skinner: that’s really good. so you’re taking a timeline and you are putting the story start in the middle, and then you’re putting everything that happens in the story on the right hand side. And then you are taking, anytime you have a flashback, you’re actually including that on the left side for your backstory.

[00:31:46] Christy Yaros: Yeah,  what do you got for us?

[00:31:50] Sharon Skinner: So, for my action item, for those of you who have written a draft, and are in that place where you’re ready to look at revising or re-envisioning it, I would say, hone in on the first few chapters and look to see if you’re doing some of these things that we’re recommending you not do, like starting in the wrong place.

Are you starting in the right place or are you giving us a whole bunch of backstory before we care about the character? At what point are we going to care enough to go into backstory with you and still want to come back out and stay with the character?

So look at your, especially the first three to five chapters.

As we have a tendency to dump a whole lot of stuff up front in our stories, and if you have a full draft, you know where the story ends or where you currently have it ending, and how does that sync up with the beginning of your story? Have you set the promise of the premise up in those first chapters and then delivered at the end of the book?

Or where did you deliver and did you go on a bit long at the end? Because that’s the other thing that I always recommend you look at is did you end in the right place? are you hitting the landing on the end?

[00:33:09] Christy Yaros: I think that that’s pretty useful, especially because then maybe you’re pulling some of that out and making it an epilogue. If you can make a work, you’re pulling some of that out, making it a prologue, or you’re peppering it through the story and flashbacks and backstory or you just don’t need it at all.

And it’s something you tuck away in your heart as work that you needed to do.

[00:33:28] Conclusion and Final Thoughts

[00:33:28] Christy Yaros: There you go, two action items for figuring out your story, present, past, future, and all the things that go along with that. So thank you again for joining us and listening, and we will see you soon, or you will hear us soon. We won’t see you, but we know you’re there. Bye!

[00:33:50] Sharon Skinner: Bye for now!

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Coaching KidLit, a writing and book coaching podcast for writers who want to level up their KidLit writing game. For more about us and to discover what a book coach can do for you, check out coachingkidlit. com and follow us on social media.




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For more information about Sharon Skinner, visit or follow her on Instagram @sharon_skinner_author_bookcoach and Twitter @SharonSkinner56.

For more information about Christy Yaros, visit or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @ChristyYaros.


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