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About Kids Books, How To Write A Children’s Book, Writing To Please

Updated on March 13, 2015

Writing For Children

So you want to write a book - a children's book? Please don’t think that this is going to be an easy option because it is not.

Writing for children is probably more difficult than normal adult fiction.

Indeed, to be able to write for a ten year old and keep them interested is something of a work of art.

You have chosen to write a book for the most challenging of readers.

It is in this article that I will offer you tips on how to write a children’s book.

Please keep focused or you just might miss something! And you don't want to do that, now, do you?

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How To Write A Book : Draw A Plot Plan

If you feel that writing a children’s book is something that you really want to do, and you think that you have a story to tell, then go ahead. However, please take a little time to consider the points that I shall put to you in the following text.

Don’t simply pick up pen and paper (or more normally computer keyboard), first sit down and draw up a plot plan. Write all the stages of the plot, writing the names, dates etc. Make a plot and sub plots (this might be best done on a whiteboard or similar, allowing you to alter and re-arrange plot and timings to suit the length and breadth of your story).

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Writing A Book? Have A Working Title!

Compose a working title. This will give you an idea of the final shape of the book – it can always be altered afterwards, after all it will not be written in stone! The length of the book must be geared to the age group you are writing for – it is no use writing an epic the length of War and Peace for an eight year old!

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A Children's Story Needs Personalities

So, now you have your basic plot plan. You know all the details to inspire a great book - times, places, numbers and names of your characters. Now is the time to give them their different personalities. Remember to make them as varied as possible, however, there must be a common theme, such as the same school, social status etc.

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Write As If You Are The Age Group You Are Writing For

When writing for children, you must become the age group you are writing for. This means you must have the outlook, perception, feelings and aspirations of that age group. It must not, therefore, sound like someone forty writing for a child of ten but a ten year old talking to another ten year old. Listen to a group of your intended group talking to each other, not the child talking to you.

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Make The Character Tell The Story - Not You!

When writing any book, try not to give long-winded descriptions. The character should do any describing themselves. For example:

“Ted, did your Mum make you wear that awful knitted pullover and Benny hat?” This is much better to say rather than: ‘Ted wore a coloured home-made pullover and Benny hat.’ The first is far more interesting than the latter.

Try to make your character tell the story rather than you. With your ‘God’s eye’ view write it. Why? Well, this lends empathy with the reader and stops your work from being ‘stuffy’. Old Will Shakespeare knew this – just read Mac Beth!

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All Stories Must Have A Beginning, Middle And End

Any book must have a beginning, middle and end. This may seem obvious, but so many ‘would be’ authors forget this golden rule. Their writing just seems to ramble on and on until your reader finally gives up and lays your book aside. Essentially, you have lost them and they will probably not return.

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Concise Narrative

When writing for children, keep the narrative concise, the sentences short and to the point. Do not use overly long words – remember that your story is not an exercise in self-aggrandisement, but a book that a child will read and enjoy.

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Writing With Cultural Relevance

A very important aspect of writing for any age group is to make it relevant for today. It is not use writing a Billy Bunter story for a child in the 21st Century. For a start, in today’s society, there are more Billy Bunter’s than ever before, and this can only alienate your reader.

Don’t be afraid to use ideas from other writers. This has always been done and provided that your take is unique to itself, ideas from elsewhere are quite acceptable. For example: J K Rowlings in her Harry Potter books borrowed ideas from many sources – Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy are a good example, but the idea of a school of magic is unique.

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Reader Identification

Before putting pen to paper, read a number of children’s books for the age category that you wish to write for. This will give you a good grounding as to style and substance for your own book.

Remember to let your reader identify with the hero of the book, but don’t allow the hero to be all good. All of us have failings and weaknesses, so it is the overcoming of these failings that will engage the reader and give depth to the character.

For example: ‘Gill gazed at old Ben, its true that he was kindly and wise. It was also true that he seemed kind to the village children. However, she did so wish that he didn’t smell so bad – didn’t he ever wash?!’

Now it is true that every hero has to have an anti-hero - someone that he can spark off, someone to put his wits against. Remember that all anti-heroes win all battles – except the last!

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Age Appropriate Twist In The Tale

Going back to writing your plot plan, if the book is for an older child, a twist in the tale is always good. A twist, however, for a six year old is just bewildering. For the younger age, keep the message simple, the dialogue short and the message clear.  This is about righting in an age appropriate wayl

At the beginning of this article, I advised a ‘working title’. When you have finished your work and have edited, re-wrote and struck out all irrelevant words – a red pen is a must when writing – then a good snappy title is important. One way is to use three or four words from the last sentence of the book, provided it give some indication of the total content.

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So, there you are.  We have covered quite a lot in this short article on how to write a children’s book but, although brief, it does highlight lots of tips that should get you started on the path.  Of course, once you have learned to write a book, you will need to learn the art of getting your book published.  Now, this is a whole new area of expertise, which needs determination and connections.  This is above and beyond raw talent.  I will be covering this issue in my next article in this series.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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Audio Tips That Can Help You To Think Like A Child - This Helps Create A Great Book!


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    • diplorging profile image

      diplorging 5 years ago from Serbia

      Wow, there is so many things to work on. But thanks for writing hub, it's very useful. Voted up and shared.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks a lot for the nice hub..writing books is really grear

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

      rated up...a lot of good information.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Eiddwen - thanks, Im glad you found it informative.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 7 years ago from Wales

      great hub very useful. Well done shazwellyn

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      LeanMan - well that has to be the first basis to writing a children's book... if have the mentally of one certainly helps!

    • LeanMan profile image

      Tony 7 years ago from At the Gemba

      Great read, I can't see myself writing for children but I always end up reading the stories or making them up... great fun.

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Okay, I'll 'stay tuned.'

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      kaltopsyd - Great to have inspired you. Look out for more of my tips on marketing and publishing. They will be released within the next couple of weeks! :)

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Great tips! I've never thought of writing children books. My aim is usually for young adults and up. You're beginning to make me consider at least ATTEMPTING to write a children's book. Thanks.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks MPG - I hope it helps. I have more articles looming on this subject, including how I did it or not? *well, you will have to wait and see*


    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      How timely is this Shaz, a friend of mine has asked me to help her with a children's book idea she has. Will pass this info on to her, I'm sure it will help.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Breakfastpop - Im glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to read :)

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Happy Her - kids are always so hard to please - they are not afraid to let their feelings be known! Thanks for reading :)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Thanks for a great hub filled with valuable info.

    • HappyHer profile image

      Tracy Morrow 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Great article! I believe you are right about writing for children can be more difficult than writing for adults, but the tips you've provided should help those that pursue this exciting work.