Is it difficult to write for children, you might ask? Surely it must be easier than writing for adults. The books are shorter, the words used are easier to understand, and will children even notice if you make minor errors?
Oh yes, they’ll notice. And so will the publisher you are hoping will publish your book. Writing books for children is just as difficult as writing any book. Maybe the process is even more difficult. Why do I say that? Because children have short attention spans, therefore if you don’t grab their interest early on in the story, and keep it throughout, your book will soon find its way to the ‘boring’ pile.
Writing for children should be fun, as should any other writing. If it becomes a chore, then the reading will have the same effect so this is a no win situation. If you are enjoying what you are writing then there is far more chance of keeping your readers interest. You must also love your characters and build them throughout the story, or they too will fall flat.
The role of writing for children can be quite opposite to writing for adults in some aspects. In writing adult books you can give your opinion and try to impart your own points of view on your readers. You can try to get them fired up about the things that matter to you. Young readers are quite different. Your role here is simply to gain and hold their attention from beginning to end by providing enjoyment in the story you are telling. Make them laugh, take them on adventures, give them a challenge. Character association plays a major role in children’s literature, so create good, strong characters that deserve the attention. You want your young readers to experience all their favoured character goes through, the highs, lows, difficulties, and the ultimate triumphs. Your stories must be magical, enthralling, exciting, but never cause any harm or upset to the young reader. In general, they need a happy ending. No matter what happens throughout the book, what trials and tribulations keep your reader wanting to know more, the ending must be a good, happy, gentle one.
The main thing to remember in writing for children is to keep it quite simple. If they have to pause to work out what you mean, then the thread will be lost and they will give up. You were a child too once. What did you like to read? What didn’t you enjoy? Why? Use your own experiences to guide you when writing for children. No one can enjoy a good story quite as much as a child, because they don’t just read books, they live them. They don’t just like characters, they become them. If a child wants to be your main character, then you are on a winning streak.
Is all this difficult to achieve? Yes, it is. But if you really want to write for children, you will get there. Create a story that grabs attention from the first page, flows through the middle with excitement, set-backs, achievements, and then rushes to the final page leaving your young reader full of excitement to read more. When you have learned to do all this, your next book will be much easier to write!
Take a look at some of my books here!