My son, Joe, reading The Giving Meadow, my book with 4RV Publishing.
Here's a little of what I've discovered writing for children. I hope you enjoy.
Children love books. Whether it’s sitting down in mommy’s lap or curling up in a quiet corner to read, a good book gives them a grand adventure. However, writing for children is a lot more challenging than you think.
Typically, children’s stories are shorter and use simple language, but a short story may not be a good story. Here are some elements to keep in mind when writing for children.
One of the elements needed for a good children’s story is plot. It should be fun and engaging. Remember, today’s children’s books compete with TV, video games, Wii, and movies. Take children on an adventure in your book. Don’t be over simplistic. The story should follow a logical sequence of events that children should understand.
Keep in mind your plot should have some conflict as well. The conflict should be aimed at the age level you’re writing for. Conflict in children’s writing doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be an escaped cat, a move to a new town, or the first day of school. Just remember to bring the conflict down to a level that children can understand.
Also remember there are different age ranges and audiences in children’s literature. You want to gear your plot and conflict to suit those ages. You have board books, picture books, early readers, beginning chapter books, and young adult books. If you’re not familiar with these formats, you might want to do a little research. Read books in the targeted age range you want to write in. Talk to kids about what they like to read or don’t like to read.
Another element in crafting a good’s children’s story is characterization. Children have to be able to relate to the characters in the story. What helps is to keep the dialogue as natural as you can. (If you use any)
Another thing to remember is that a children’s story doesn’t have to tell a moral. It should first be fun and engaging to read. Also, a children’s book doesn’t have to rythme. Some writers haven’t mastered rythming and they may come up with a poor rythme scheme. Don’t force it. Remember a good book doesn’t have to fit into a series. Let a series be an outgrowth of a good character.
Overall, writing for children can be very rewarding, especially if you craft a story with a dash of adventure, a pinch of fun, and a tablespoon of character.
All the elements are here for great story telling and writing. Thanks for a wonderful article and for the photo of a child who enjoys what he is reading. Have a wonderful summer! There will be lots of material for you to write about I am sure.ReplyDelete
Ginger, thanks for popping. I'm just tickled pink that Joe enjoys the book!ReplyDelete
Great photo. I'm sure your children enjoy your books as do others.ReplyDelete
I loved reading to my son. We would read at least three books a night, or, when he got older, three chapters. I miss those days :)ReplyDelete
Can I just say I totally agree with the 'Lix' comment (Language Level) which is so difficult to get "just so" for specific target age groups of readers (though maybe Kipling managed it in the above stories ... LOL!)ReplyDelete
I'm excited because I've just found an Agent who has agreed to read a sample of a children's book I'd love to see published. I've used a rather inept Pirate crew as the central characters and included talking animals, a mad inventor and a young 'apprentice pirate' who cannot remember the early years of his life... planning to build it into a series!
Interesting post about children's books, something I've never tried. I think its harder than you make it sound.ReplyDelete
Yes, Barbara, writing a good children's book is very hard.ReplyDelete
Paul, good luck. Did you consider submitting to 4RV?
Vivian and Liana, Joe loves having books read to him. Right now he's into the "Olivia" series - she's the talking pig. At our relgious education about a month back, the teacher asked him to fill in the blank. The question was: I love my Daddy because..." He said, "He reads me stories at night." I melted...ReplyDelete
Barbara, believe it or not it's easier than you think, but then I find my stories come best to me if I don't force them. They come naturally.
Paul, sounds like your stories have a lot of potential. Consider submitting to 4RV.
Steph, you write great children stories. My four grandchildren are saying THANK YOU for the Giving Meadow. Your little Joe is adorable. What a great promotion picture.ReplyDelete
I like the way you made writing for children sound like a recipe for fun! What an adorable picture of Joe with your book.ReplyDelete
A fantastic picture. Your son looks so cute enjoying your book. Good points about writing for children, Steph.ReplyDelete
The adorable picture of your son Joe reading and enjoying your book says it all. Congrats on your children's book. I started writing a children's book years ago but never finished it. Your post's very helpful.ReplyDelete
Great blog, Steph. Joe's a cutie. I think you gave sound advice about writing for children. What looks simple on the outside, is rather complicated--especially using the right language for children yet making the story interesting. I don't think I would ever attempt it.ReplyDelete
My 10 year old niece likes stories that have funny dialogue and interesting titles always get her attention.
I wish you all the best, steph.
Steph--he's adorable. I'm not so good at writing children's stories. I've written two, and one sits in my computer--very short--and one for a charity book. And had to get my writing friends to help me with a plot. But my plot ended up being my own, Guess I needed a little jolt. Congratualtions--CeliaReplyDelete
Mona, thanks for popping in. I'm glad they enjoy the story!ReplyDelete
Beverly & Maggie, Joe enjoys the story very much.
Diane, you should finish your story. You're a good writer. I'd love to see it.
Sarah, ditto, you said it. My son, Andrew is 9 and the same elements appeal to him. At his age, the Magic Treehouse Series really appeals to him so we've been reading some of their books this summer.
Celia, what really helps me is teaching my Sunday preschool. Being around those children really inspires.
Thanks to everyone for popping in. I appreciate it.
Great article, Steph.ReplyDelete
I have a great-niece who is five and began reading fourth grade chapter books at the age of four. She can read the words, but doesn't understand many of the concepts.
Do you think that could be a niche that authors could write for, or would the sales be too slow?