Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to Write a Successful Children's Book

Writing a children's book is not as easy as it seems. Many people make the mistake of thinking because the language for young readers is so simple that anyone can do it. When I look back at my first attempt I am embarrassed to say I was one of these people. In fact I would say writing for children is harder than writing for adults as there is a lot more to consider.
Here are some key points I think improved my understanding of children's writing the most.

Firstly young readers are not only developing there understanding of reading and words but they are also developing there understanding of the world in general. There is a lot that goes over their heads. The age group you are writing for is very important. A lot of publishers have very narrow age groups or reading levels for each book. The development of learning to read is a very fast process so the books need to fit the exact market they are aimed at.

The things children are interested in are a lot different from what adults find captivating. If you have no children in your life it might be a good idea to spend some time with some before you start trying to write. A lot of the ideas you will have should be worked at a lot before you end up with the final story. Try not to get to attached to your story at the beginning, allow it to develop fully.

There are a lot of writing tools that are used to create an interesting story. The plot is the most important part of your story and it is something a lot of writers get wrong. There is an art to creating a successful plot and it is something worth getting right. I found going to libraries and book stores and reading as many children's books as possible helped me understand the importance of a strong plot.

My advice to anyone wanting to start writing for children would be to do your research. The reason so little people end up with a successfully published book is because most people are to lazy to do the appropriate research. A couple of books I read which I feel gave me a great starting base of knowledge were:

Writing Children's Books For Dummies
This book covers all the aspects of writing from the idea through to the finished manuscript. It was easy to read and I feel it gave me an overall view of the types of books out there.

How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published
This book was quite helpful, I think it give a pretty thorough overview of the process and how to go about producing your own storybook.

Writing and Illustrating Children's Books for Publication (Writing & Illustrating Children's Books for Publication)
This book is a lot different than the other two, its a bit older and a completely different format. It is more like a story book with lots of coloured images and examples. I found it very easy to read but some of the advice might be a little outdated.

I hope this helps everyone get started and begin their journey wrting for children. Feel free to comment on this post with other usefull books you have found.

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