Writing for Children | Children’s Writing | Stories | Writing
How to write a children’s story book
Are you thinking of writing your first manuscript and have the mind-set, ‘a children’s story book would be the best place to start, because let’s face it – they aren’t very complicated and the vocabulary is light.’ Welcome to the
million-members ‘club’. Don’t be under any illusion writers, children’s story books can be even more difficult to write than novels. Let me explain…
Children’s story books are quite simply a mirage, so don’t believe that what you see, is what is actually there…
How to write a children’s book/ Writing for children - Things to consider
Typically children’s story books will have no more than 750 words within it. Writing a story with only 750 words is a tough skill to master as you will come to find out. In many ways children’s books are like poetry. Every word needs to be chosen with precision and there’s no room for ‘beating around the bush’ to build suspense; suspense must be built throughout the story ideally within one line at the end of a page.
Do your research
Perhaps the most obvious and best way of learning how to write a children’s book is to read and absorb. Go to your local library have a look about through the age range you wish to address and take a seat. Think about what makes the title unique, enjoyable and qwerky and apply those concepts to your writing (not ideas).
Read, Write and Re-write
Once you have completed the first draft of your children’s story dont attempt to send it off to publishers straight away. Read the story over and over again until you can essentially recite the whole story without looking. An excellent way to spot careless narrative, is to read aloud. There can often be a break in the rhythm and that will become apparent during a vocal recidal of your story.
Are the characters fresh? Appealing to both boys and girls? Have they a unique selling point (USP)? Are they similar to other story characters? Have you used a common animal or one that is not so widely known? Do they hold the reader’s attention?
Are they likeable? Would kids find them cute, funny, adventurous etc?
Write a series
One way to boost your chances of having a children’s book published is to write a series of children’s books, aposed to one title. The reason for this is because generally children’s books do not make a great deal of money as the overheads of illustrations are much more expensive than a novel.
Show your work to children
The audience of your book are a great way to carry out research. Read your books to children in your family or children of friends. They will tell you the truth and you will quickly discover whether or not it has sustained their attention. Please bear in mind that illustrations of books capture children’s imagination so don’t take it too personally if they are not interested.
Moral message versus storyline
Within many children’s story books there is a moral undertone; however this moral undertone is often camouflaged by the storyline. The storyline must be at the heart of your reason for writing a book and the moral message subsidiary. Think back to the days of your childhood, what did you enjoy doing? I bet being preached a moral message doesn’t spring to mind!
Beware: Children today are significantly different and have very different interests to children’s in the past, therefore ensure your material is not out-of-date.
Writing for children is a difficult task so make sure you write and re-write and develop your story. After all, our children deserve only the best!