A simple story is not enough to engage a child’s interest in a story, especially as they start to read or understand the stories themselves. Not only do you need to be unique, you need to be able to communicate with the people you are reaching out to. If your inclination is to write fancy and complicated, then writing for children is not for you!
There are a few basics that will make it easier for you to write for children if you want to try to break into that particular genre. The first thing to do is to brainstorm and read other children’s stories. This isn’t to steal other people’s ideas, but it will give you a good insight to not only what children want to read but also to what publishers want to see and are likely to publish. The next thing you need is to have the following without fail:
- A main character who is sympathetic
- This main character then has to face some sort of problem
- The main character finishes by solving the above problem
If you have this, you are on your way to having the basics to your children’s book. You can go on to elaborate these things when you have your characters sorted. When you are developing your main character, give space to allow for some sort of problem or need that they have to overcome somehow. The character has to be able to overcome this problem and they normally realize they can solve it at a later date. You then need to come up with any secondary characters if any at all. Your main character can have enemies or just have other friends or family. When you are thinking of your plot to go with your new characters, have the plot, the problems and the result already thought and mapped out. You may find that you write yourself into a literary hole and you may start to write things that could be left out. When you write your plot for your children’s story try following these four basic rules and you may find it easier to plot out:
- Start by finding what gets your story started – Find an event or an action that provides your characters and your plot with a beginning.
- Write some Action scenes. Now I know what you are thinking, you don’t need a car chase or a gun fight here. Remember that you are writing for children, so it doesn’t have to be too elaborate. Don’t dumb it down though; children are cleverer than we give them credit for! The ‘action’ scenes can be the obstacle you put in front of your character to overcome or the problem that they need to solve.
- Have a big event – This can be when your character realises they can solve a problem and they then go on to overcome that problem in spectacular style!
- Wrap it up – Tie up any loose ends here and finish off the story by making a conclusion to what has happened.
Writing for children can be a difficult genre to get into but if you plan your characters and your story, there is no reason why your children’s storybook shouldn’t be a great one!