Writing a children’s book is undeniably tricky. Especially if you’re an adult writing for children, many things could go wrong. As you put yourself into their minds, this often leads to having skewed ideas about how they feel and think.
When it comes to writing children’s books, you need to take a lot of factors into consideration. Depending on the age range of your target audience, your plot and characters can be sensitive. So, what should you do to create a book perfect and safe for children?
- Understand Your Motivations
To create a plot fitting your target audience, you first need to identify your target audience. Which type of children or specific demographics do you picture reading your book? Why do you think they’ll read it? What lesson would you want them to get from your book?
Before you get to lay out your plot, you need to start thinking about your whats, whys, and hows to get a clearer picture of what you want out of your book.
Once you’ve determined these factors, you need to remember to make your plot simple but still avoid boring. Your plot should get children interested while still allowing them to understand and follow through the whole story.
- Read More Children’s Books
The most significant difference between adults’ books and children’s books is their content. Adults are better at comprehending or connecting dots from complicated stories, but children will need a little bit more detail to get to a conclusion.
By reading more children’s books, you also get a feel of their pace or how scenarios are better worded. Because it’s been a while since you’ve been part of your target audience, research is essential. You need to know how they communicate or the current writing patterns and styles. If you’re stuck on what to write or how to write it, this research phase is very critical for you.
- Develop Your Characters
Before you start adding them to the story, you first need to know your characters. In children’s books, characters have a lot of significance for your overall plot. How you present your characters or envision them can determine if your target audience would be interested in your story. Think colorful, engaging, and unique.
Other than how they look, it would help to consider their personalities and behavior closely.
Remember, you’re writing for an audience that has yet to establish what is wrong from what is right. Your characters can easily influence them. While this doesn’t mean antagonists need to be taboo for children’s books, you must remember to point out what makes these characters bad and make sure to present consequences for their actions.
Additionally, your audience needs to picture your characters as real people, whom they can empathize and relate to. This means you shouldn’t make them overly perfect. One way to do this is by taking inspiration from other real people and creating characters out of them.
However, thinking about real people doesn’t need to be boring.
- Be Interesting and Original
While they must relate to your characters, remember that you’re writing for children. You need to decide how you will be presenting your characters. Will you make them humans? Animals? Or perhaps random unique creatures you’ve originally come up with?
Either way, you need to make sure that your main character stands out and be memorable to your reader.
One way of doing this is by giving them an object that your reader can associate them with – this can be anything from clothes or toys. Take Pooh from Winnie the Pooh, for instance. When you think of Pooh, you think of his red shirt and the honey jar he always carries.
You can also give your character one personality trait and exaggerate it a little. This works because children love animated characters. In Is It Santa by Nelibeth Plaza, children are introduced to Mya, Charlie, and Jacob, the story’s three main characters, who are very interested in playing detective and solving the mystery.