C is for Children's Books (How to Write)
Everyone wants to write a children’s book. Don’t they? If you are one of them, I am offering 10 ½ tips to help you write a children’s book.
1. Capture a Spark!
First, you’ll need a story idea. Maybe you already have one. Maybe you like the thought of writing a children’s book someday, but you don’t have an idea yet. That’s okay! Once you get an idea, which can be as simple as a child going to school, you can begin writing your story.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, an idea for a story can come from anywhere. I’ve written a children’s story (not published) which was inspired by a fly. Yes, a fly. My mom has written a series of children stories and it all started with pea soup. Yes, pea soup. So be on the lookout for an idea. It could be anywhere!
2. Read as many children’s books as you can get your hands on!
Reading children’s books can help you understand the language you need to use and popular themes.
3. Know what age group you want to write for.
Children’s books range from one word on each page to chapter books, so do research to find out what age group your story idea and writing ability would better suit.
4. Create your characters.
Even a children’s book needs a main character and minor characters. The great thing about children’s books is that a character can be an animal or even a teddy bear.
See: Writing About: Children for more tips on this.
5. Pick a setting.
This can be the child’s house, a classroom, or a magical realm.
6. Write out the plot.
Children’s stories don’t need to be complicated. You don’t need several plot events. All you need is the central conflict (a problem the boy/girl need to fix or a struggle he/she has to overcome), rising action which leads to the climax (the turning point) and finally the resolution (the end).
7. Now write your story!
Beware that your sentence structure and length fit the age group you are writing for. For instance: for children five and younger, don’t use as many commas and keep the sentences shorter than you would while writing for older audiences. Simplicity is key for young children.
Tip #1: Cut out unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Oh sure, they can still be in there, but you don’t want to clutter your sentences with them.While you’re writing, think like a kid. Add whacky bits you would never dream of including in your adult novels. You can get away with it here, so infuse humor into your story if you can. Children love nothing more than to laugh. Go ahead . . . you have permission to be silly!
Tip #2: Write in rhymes. Children adore rhymes even if you don’t. (I noticed all the finalists for the 2013 Cheerios Spoonful of Stories competition all rhymed.) But you definitely don’t have to write in rhymes. A story can be great without it.
Tip #3: Try to include a positive message, if you can. In “Come Back Dear Sun” by Geena Bean she wrote about the importance of playing outside instead of staying hooked up to computers and video games all the time.
Tip #4: Teach them! You can share facts about the world, nature, and animals that they wouldn’t know otherwise.
8. The End
Take a short break after you finish writing then edit your children’s book as you would edit a novel. Cut out extra words that don’t need to be there, fix grammar and spelling errors, and check for plot holes.
See: How to Edit a Book for more help on this.10. Test
10 ½. Publish
This tip is 10 ½ because it’s not a tip on how to write a children’s book, but it is the next step you should take.
There are many options you can take when publishing a children’s book. You can self-publish, send to agents who can help you publish your story traditionally, or submit it to children’s magazines.
Good luck and have fun!
SHARE: Your tips for writing children’s books.
QUESTIONS: Have you written a children’s book? How did you do it? What is your favorite children's book?
Mine will always be Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
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