Writing for Children – Learn the Ropes

Learn the craft of writingI write for young children and I’ve also written a lot of content for marketing and health topics. Writing in multiple genres, I can tell you that writing for children can be much more challenging.

When writing for children, there are guidelines to keep in mind to help your story avoid the editor’s trash pile.

Okay, I can hear some of you mumbling that you’re self-publishing.

That’s great, but . . .

You SHOULD STILL create a story that adheres to traditional book publishing standards.

Wondering why?

There are so many reasons:

1. You want to create and publish a quality book, one that you’ll be proud to be author of.
2. You want to be perceived as a professional writer.
3. You want a story that grabs the reader.
4. You want a story that engages the reader and motivates her to keep turning the pages.
5. You want to have an ending that leaves the reader satisfied and hopefully offers a take-away value.
6. You want your story to be age and word appropriate.
7. You need to edit and proof your story before publishing.
8. You want to write a story that once read, the reader will look for other books by you.

So, how do you write a slam-dunk children’s book?

For starters, you should know about writing for children. I’m not saying you need to get an MFA in Writing for Children. I’m suggesting you take some online or offline courses and READ A LOT.

Read traditionally published books in all children’s genres, but specifically in the genre you want to write. It’s a good idea to check out your local library and look for recently published books.

You’ll also want to read books on the writing process and structure.

What are some of the things you should know when writing for young children?

– There should be only ONE main character? It is from this character’s point-of-view that the story will be told.
– The story’s time frame should be short.
– You need to pay attention to adverbs and adjectives and you should limit them.
– You can write in different tenses, but once you choose one you must stick to it throughout the story.
– You should use proper grammar and punctuation.
– You need a story arc.
– All stories must have conflict unless you’re writing a children’s concept book.
– You should use appropriate words and story line.
– If you want to be called an author, you have an obligation to other self-published authors to produce a quality book. If you don’t, your book will lessen the value and professionalism of all self-published books.

These are just some of the things you should know about. So, are you familiar with adverbs and adjectives? Do you know what tense is? Do you know what a story arc is? Do you know what point-of-view is?

If you know all these things and the other things not mentioned here, then jump in and start writing your story.

But if you don’t know about writing for children, take a step back and at least learn the basics.

To help you on your journey, you can find a list of writing resources by clicking the link within this sentence. And, this website if full of helpful writing tips, just scroll through the blog posts and/or use the Categories drop-down menu to find what topic you’re interested in – it’s toward the bottom of the sidebar.

If you have any questions or would like to add your input, please leave a comment!

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Be a children's writerBeing a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 170+ page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent and marketing your books.

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  1. Pingback: Writing a Publishable Children's Story: 12 Power-Tips | Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi