So, you’ve written a children’s book, and you’re ready to launch it into the world. Or maybe you’ve been out of the writing game for a few years, and you want to get back into it. Or you’re a kid who loves writing, and you wish to do it more often. Whatever your reason, writing a children’s book can be challenging, rewarding, and downright fun.
When it comes to writing, many writers feel out of their element. The topics, the vocabulary, the narrative structure… These are just some of the challenges.
Keep in mind that when you’re writing a children’s book, you’re not only writing for the child you’re targeting. You’re also writing for their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.
The best way to make any type of story shine is to have an adult read it out loud and have them explain the ideas and themes. This will catch any mistakes or awkward phrasing and ensure that you’re writing in a way that will be interesting and engaging for everyone.
Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help you succeed at writing a children’s book that kids will love. Here are some of them.
Your characters are the heart and soul of your story, so you’d better believe that you will get them right.
Children’s books can be a tricky genre to write in, especially if you’re targeting a younger audience. You have to appeal to their innate sense of wonder and make sure that they understand that not every story they’re told will be happy and fluffy.
Write with a child’s sense of logic. They won’t always understand things the same way adults do, but they can understand enough to enjoy the story. That means that your characters have to be relatable, even if they’re in a magical setting.
Something that helps a lot is to think about who you would be if you were a child. How would you act? What would you be interested in?
Differentiate your characters
Kids love to see themselves in books, and that’s why it’s important to make sure your characters are differentiating themselves from other characters.
Depending on the age, this can be as simple as changing the names of your characters or making sure that they have different personalities.
Reasons your character may not be differentiating themselves well:
- They’re not as important as the other characters.
- They’re too similar to other characters. For example, suppose your main character is a flower. In that case, they should have some distinct characteristics to differentiate them from the other flowers.
Get to the point quickly
A children’s book is meant to be easy to understand and get through quickly. At younger ages, there is no need for lengthy explanations. You don’t want to pack too much information.
Young children will often have a much shorter attention span than older readers. They’re more likely to lose interest if they’re not engaged from the first few lines. So, get straight to the point.
That being said, you don’t want to get too short with your descriptions either. Instead, you want to find the right balance between these two things. So, always keep in mind the age group you’re writing for.
Don’t rely on confusing words
You’ve probably heard that you should never use more words than you need. This is especially true when you’re writing a children’s book and important in making your characters relatable.
Instead of thinking about how to simplify your story, think about what they already know and understand.
For example, suppose you’re writing a book about opposites. In that case, you don’t have to spend paragraphs explaining what “opposite” means. Introduce the concept by talking about someone who is an example of it, such as a kid who loves playing with toys while their friends like playing with sports.
Meet your characters where they are
One of the best ways to make your characters relatable and feel like real people is to meet them where they are.
It’s about finding the right balance of putting your character in a situation that feels real. Think about how you would act if you were a child. For example, if you were a girl who loves sports, you might want to write a story about a girl who loves sports. If you haven’t seen grandma and grandpa in a while, you might want to write about meeting them at the airport.
Show, don’t tell
While it’s important to give details in your story, you could also use a character’s feelings to tell a story without directly telling the reader what’s going on. Show the reader by making your characters feel something other than the idea you’re trying to convey.
This is especially effective if you have a character who is very logical in their thinking.
Make it fun
One of the best ways to make your book more enjoyable for your readers is to add humour. You can do this by having a character who solves a problem or by adding pop culture references, puns or inside jokes.
Make it memorable
The biggest tip of all is to make it memorable. You need to think about the overall experience that your readers will have while they read your story.
Kids love to be able to tell their friends and family members about the book they just read, and you want to make sure they have a good reason to do that. This is a chance to promote your book and let people know that a new, cool, children’s book is available. So make sure that the plot, setting, and characters are memorable.
Writing is an acquired skill. Once you figure your goals out, you can get your footing. Look forward because that’s where the creative impulse takes you. It will only get easier!