How To Write a Children’s Book
Most of us have a fond memory of being young and snuggling up with an amazing book for bedtime. Children’s books manage to transport the already vivid imaginations of children and take them elsewhere. We all have that favourite book from our childhood that brings a wave of nostalgia at one glimpse of the cover.
Imagine writing a book that would be held so dearly by a person from their childhood into adulthood, it’s quite the privilege and honour, and one that many people seek to do.
A lot of people would assume that writing a children’s book would be pretty easy, after all it’s only for children, how hard could it be?
The short answer is pretty hard. But that doesn’t mean you cannot do it. With a bit of research, a lot of passion and creativity, you can knot together your own world of characters with the hopes of sharing them with a younger generation.
Here are some basic tips to follow when trying to write a children’s book.
Target an Age Group
Children can be a broad term. Young toddlers can enjoy a good read along with their parents or as try their hand at improving their reading skills with a book, which would be rightfully considered a children’s book.
The Harry Potter series is also a children’s book, yet is targeted a young teenagers. Even non-fiction books for school or educational purposes are considered children’s books, so there’s a pretty big target audience.
Know what who you want to write for. Is it a short snappy picture book with minimal writing for very young children? Or is it a fantasy novel with chapters that can be read from ages 10 and older? It could even be a late teen demographic with more mature content – the options are endless.
Plan and do Your Research
You will need and idea or a stimulus to get your creative ball rolling. The best way to come up with ideas is to seek inspiration from other sources. Or children’s books, this means reading as much children’s books as possible. Try to aim for works that target the same age demographic as you plan on writing for, this will help generate ideas in line with your planned work.
The themes that are woven into your story will need to be appropriate for the age group too, so plan this out as well. A main plot will also need to follow these guidelines; otherwise your book will not have a true audience.
What Type of Book Will it Be?
Is thing going to be a children’s book that is mainly made up of colourful and vibrant illustrations? If so where do you plan on getting illustrations? You may have to hire one or can attempt it yourself, but that is a lot easier said than done. Finding a publisher will usually mean these problems are taken care of, but if you aim on an independent release, you will have to source an artist on your own.
Establish the Essential Components of a Book
A story must feature a core component of elements to create a story, no matter the age of the readers. You will need characters, such as a protagonists and supporting cast. The setting of the story is pivotal; it needs to be interesting enough to capture the imaginations of your readers.
Some sort of conflict and resolution will be needed to, as well as a main plot to drive everything along with. Once you have ideas for this, you can then check to see if it is suitable for the age group your children’s book is going to be geared towards.
Have a Message
Most children’s books that are works of fiction contain a strong and sometimes obvious message. You want to teach your readers something through the plot and characters of your story. These are always very positive messages which shouldn’t be too subtle due to the young age of the readers (especially for younger children).
Older children may be able to understand and appreciate a more mature message. Knowing who you plan on writing for and what the components of your story are should help with this. Try not to force a message onto your readers though, as it may be viewed as too much for kids.
Draft and Revise
Write your first draft just to get a rough idea of how your book can take shape. Here you can better understand the best course to take for your story once the words are on paper. It doesn’t matter how great or terrible it may be, as you will be re-writing and revision much of your initial drafts, so get comfortable with the fact you will be changing a lot of your work. It will only make it better!
Always keep in mind your audience when writing. From vocabulary to the structure of sentences and paragraphs, the better you understand your audience, the more the work will appeal to them.
Publishing pro and author/filmmaker Barry Sheppard has written and published many books with hundreds of reviews in newspapers, TV and radio. He is now concentrating on eBook writing/publishing and working on property development