Writing for Kids
Writing a children’s book is not as easy as it may seem. Capturing children’s imagination is not an easy task, but it can be done. The market for kids’ books is huge; books like Charlottes’ Web, Heidi and the Harry Potter series have sold millions of copies worldwide. With a little perseverance and a lot of creativity, you can finish that that book you’ve always dreamed of writing.
Here are some tips to help you along the way.
The first thing to consider is the age-group you want to write for. A children’s book is defined as any book that caters for readers below the age of 18 years old. Books for different age-groups differ in size and length, color, texture, and tone. They also have different categories, including story books, picture books, and novels. Talk to teachers, read other books that cater to your chosen age-group, and talk to children, so you can get their opinions about books and reading.
- General outline
Start thinking of the main characters and the plot of the story; this will give you an idea of what you know and what you don’t know, and will make research a little easier. Decide on your characters and create a character sketch for each, outlining appearance, age, gender, and interests.
The beginning of the story is the most important and the most difficult to write. The beginning has to introduce the characters, the setting, and the plot.
The body should develop the plot and the characters. Give your main character(s) a challenge to overcome or a problem to fix. The complexity of the plot will differ, depending on the age-group for whom you are writing.
Remember that the main idea behind kids’ books is to teach them life lessons in a fun way. The end has to see the characters solving their problem successfully. It has to be gripping and engaging.
Proofread and edit your story more than once, and get a friend to read it as well.
Illustrations will, of course, depend on the age-group and on the type of story. Get an illustrator you trust and play around with a few ideas before you decide on anything solid. The story might be finished before illustrations are done or you might choose to work with the illustrator side-by-side.
It’s important to lay out the book to see the ratio of text and images on each page.
- Be creative
The important thing is for your story to be as creative as possible. Stay away from clichés. People probably thought that J. R. R. Tolkien was insane when he pitched the idea of Lord of the Rings, and now it’s the second best-selling book ever written. Creativity is key!
Written by Zimasa Mpemnyama
Image credit: Microsoft Images, Royalty Free