How To Write A Children’s Book is a huge subject worthy of an entire book. Even so, I’m confident that the information and tips you’ll find on this page will prove more useful than most books I’ve seen!
Working with children at an educational and academic level can be one of the most fulfilling endeavors an individual could ever undertake. Starting the journey with the children from when they can barely pronounce the vowels to the time when they can read an entire story flawlessly can be an exciting journey. Many people have dedicated their writing to children only. On the flipside, there are many aspiring writers who are targeting this exciting niche. This is where it gets tricky since these people do not know how to write a children’s book.
In essence and structure, a children’s book is no different from writing for adults and I recommend you check out Mark Timlin’s Write A Book In 60 Days That Will Sell for a solid guide to writing and getting your work published. In essence this means writing for a market that exists. That is especially true in the world of writing and publishing for children. When it comes to how to write a children’s book, there are huge differences that stretch beyond the structure, wording and appearance. This feature looks at some of the issues that you should keep in mind if you want to write a children’s book that will meet the twin goals of children’s writing: giving pleasure and educating and informing.
How To Write A Children’s Book #1: Be Precise
The first thing to bear in mind when setting out to discover how to write a children’s book is that you have to keep it brief. Brevity is important. Everybody knows that children’s attention spans are not very long since they get distracted easily. No child has the patience and perseverance to read a long story. This means that the book should be as short and straight to the point as possible. More so, it should have very few characters, a very brief introduction that meets the rising act and then climax very quickly. On the other hand, the conclusion should also be short. Many children are not the kind of readers who can read up to a certain point and then stop to come and continue with the story later.
Children need to start and finish the story in one sitting. Therefore, it is important that the story be as short as possible to allow for this. This can be done by avoiding unnecessary details. Do not put in too much information about the characters and the setting. In fact, the only information that you should reveal of the characters should be that which contributes to the plot. You are writing for children and not for readers of Dickens, which is what you should keep in mind when learning how to write a children’s book.
How To Write A Children’s Book #2: Use Short Sentences
Like I said above, many children cannot concentrate for a long period of time. Part of learning how to write a children’s book is learning how to write in short sentences. If you write in sentences that have three or four conjunctions, you will lose them. Your sentences should be short and precise. An example of a story for younger children could start like this: “This is Tom. This is Mary. Tom is Mary’s brother. Tom and Mary live in London.” The sentences are short and contain enough information to bring out the meaning.
You should also remember that you are trying to help the children improve their reading and how they pronounce the words. With very long sentences, they might make very many pronunciation mistakes and quit reading out of frustration. On the other hand, with short sentences they can only make one or two mistakes at most and after correction, they will get the full meaning of the text.
How To Write A Children’s Book #3: Avoid Stories with Sad Endings
When getting down to the nuts of bolts of how to write a children’s book, you must put yourself in the child’s shoes. Children are delicate readers and you do not want to sadden them with a traumatic story. They might lose interest in reading altogether as they might be afraid that another round of reading will end in tears just like the last one did.
Some of the greatest children’s stories have a ‘Happily Ever After Ending’. Think ‘Cinderella’, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Pinocchio’, ‘Rapunzel’, ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’ among many others. All these stories have a happy ending. Even though there might be a cruel and harsh twist in the middle of your story, it must not end that way. In addition, child psychologists also encourage that the evil characters in the story should reveal there good side such that by the end of the story, the child can conclude that they are good after all. However, this is not as important as ensuring that the story ends in a happily ever after kind of way.
How To Write A Children’s Book #4: Intrigue and Excite
Another factor ignored by many writers is that the story should be made as interesting as possible. When planning how to write a children’s book, you must think long and hard about your story. Although you cannot plan for the intricacies of plot you might attempt when writing a psychological thriller for adults, you can and should make your story as interesting as possible.
Nobody wants to read a boring story, not even adult readers. It puts people off and gives your name a bad reputation. You do not want children to go to the book store and prefer to read a book by a new author than you whose books they have read before. Add some twists and turns to the story; include the element of suspense and a little bit of humor. Mystery fiction is usually one of children’s most favorite categories. This is because it leaves them wondering how some thing will happen and how the story will end. The element of suspense is the most important one when it comes to children’s stories as it is the main one that keeps them glued to the story.
How To Write A Children’s Book #5: Know Your Readers
You should also know about your target group. This is, of course, children. But then again, children are of a wide range of ages. The book you write for a 5 year old will not be the same that you will write for an 11 year old. The key difference here is in the structure of the sentences and the brevity of the story. Normally, a five year old may not endure the torture of reading a twenty page story. An eleven year old would scoff at the idea of reading a story that is only 5 pages long. Therefore, you should specify what age group you are targeting. The stories you are going to tell should also be aimed at the relevant age group. The stories that you tell your 6 year old daughter are not the same that you will tell your 11 year old son.
Finally, many people who want to know how to write a children’s book should bear in mind that communication with the publisher is very important. The name of the book will be associated more with you than with the publisher. You should therefore insist on your publisher to include such things as colorful pages, pictures and lots and lots of color on the pictures to attract the children’s attention.For more information on writing in general and on how to write a children’s book, check out these writing resources: Mark Timlin’s Write A Book In 60 Days That Will Sell and Million Dollar Story by Jim Driver: The Writer’s Guide To Successful Storytelling.