Top 10 Tips For Writing Children’s Stories
Here are a list of tips you can use to write stories for children no matter what their age level is.
- Pick An Age Group – Since children’s reading and attention spans develop quickly over time, you must pick an age group where your story is age appropriate. The common age groups are as follows: 0-2 year old, 3-5 year old, 6-9 year old, 9-12 year old and don’t forget the teenage years. As children mature, level writing or writing for your child’s reading level will help keep your stories focus on the reader.
- Pick A Main Character – To make your story appealing to both girls and boys, make your main characters identifiable to each gender. Boys will not read stories about girls unless they are much older but girls will accept male heroes. Classic examples of this are Tom Sawyer, Harry Potter and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid.
- Use The Gift Of Personification – Writing about animals and inanimate objects is a great way to attract young readers. You can make them human by giving them human traits, making them talk and wear clothes. Young reader will accept this and follow along with the story idea. Good examples of this type of writing is found in stories such as The Aristocrats, Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.
- Setup A Basic Plot Structure – Start with something simple with young readers and sprinkle in some fun ideas to keep them interested. The older the child, the more you can add in more details to the plot. A good way to see this is to start with an introduction, create a problem, have the main character face that problem, solve the problem and end on a happy note.
- Show Don’t Tell – With young readers, it may be tempting to explain away every little thing but as a story writer, it is your job to tell a story in the least amount of words as to not sound to “talky”. You should explain what is going on but in a way that takes the most important elements and moves the story along. Allow the story to breathe and if you are using pictures, let the pictures help tell the story.
- Use A Moral Theme But Don’t Be A Preacher – Morals are a great way to bring in themes to your writing. Friendship, learning how to get along and sharing are great themes to use for the younger readers while focusing on acceptance, bravery, belief in one’s self and good versus evil are popular themes for the older crowd. By giving it a new spin, you can create a worthwhile adventure in your writing career.
- Story Length Is Important – For young readers, picture books are a popular form of story to write. They focus on about 250-750 word length with plenty of pictures to tell their stories. Older children rely on the written word for a story that grabs them so you can have an unlimited amount. Think Harry Potter. But remember, for any child, the longer the story is the more daunting it may seem to be able them to read.
- Be Wary Of Using A Large Vocabulary – Many young readers haven’t acquired a large vocabulary as of yet so you need to take that into account. Write to the age group you are targeting. Keep your words short but sweet but descriptive enough to move your story along.
- Use Simple Sentences – Along the lines of using vocabulary the proper way, use simple sentences to help your reader understand what is going on in your story. The more detailed your story is the harder it will be for younger readers to follow along.
- Happy Endings – This is a must! Children don’t want to be let down . They have invested their time and energy in reading your story and they want positive endings that inspire them. Unhappy endings have negative connotations and don’t create positive reading habits. Most books, movies and television shows have trained children to expect happy endings so don’t go against the grain.
Now that you have your 10 tips to writing children’s stories, it’s your time to go out and create your own brand of great children’s books.
A. J. Westin is a children's adventure book author who specializes in writing stories kids really want to read. He has written over two dozen books and has dedicated his life to helping kids become better readers through his inspirational stories.
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