Children’s fiction has always been a consistently popular genre. Kids are always learning something new and are curious about a variety of things, and books are one of the many ways they satisfy this curiosity. Parents are also looking for new ways of learning for their children, and books are the best way to do so.
If you are writing a children’s book or want to write one, keep these tips in mind:
Choose a specific target audience
It’s not enough to just write for ‘kids.’ A children’s writer will have to remember that kids are in the process of growing and learning, therefore will be going through timely phases of learning. The target market for books with texts ranges from 12 months/1 year old onwards. At one year the kids are made familiar with alphabets and goes up to the age of 14-15, which is when kids will read more complex texts for analysis in school. Your choice of words, expression, and even story will be affected by who you choose as a target audience. This is a simple and useful guide on which stage of literacy is reached at what age.
I cannot emphasise enough, kids are not interested in genre-specific books. Instead they go for stories that do not hold back on imagination. Prioritise originality over genre and refrain from clinging to factual details, as kids are more likely to be impressed by your creativity. Dr Seuss of creativity and imagination and another upcoming author is Sheetal Durve.?
Keep Some Elements Educational but Do Not Preach
Kids can spot a moral lesson from miles away. Focus more on a fun story which kids can relate to, like routines from everyday life but with an imaginative twist (maybe their toys start talking, etc.). It’s best to not narrate in a tone which seeks to teach the kids something.
However, since it is the parents who buy the books, you will have to appeal to them with an element of learning. Children are sharp observers and learn fast, so if you really want to offer a book which challenges their learning skills, do so by playing with language. Introduce a few words and concepts which make them think and help expand their vocabulary. That way not only will they learn new things, but they will also do so in a way which doesn’t feel like another day in school. Reading should essentially be fun for kids!
Writing for Listening
While they will be exploring your book and its illustrations in their own time as well, most children like being read to by someone, usually a parent. Keeping this in mind, make sure your sentences have words which flow well together. We suggest reading your sentences out loud. We also suggest putting in some rhymes and repetition to give a rhythm to your words. Eg. Roald Dahl
Like any other writing project, writing a children’s book also takes practice. Carrying a small notebook to jot down observations about kids can give you ideas. Do not stick with the very first idea as that will be your first draft. Play with different characters and see which one would work best for your story.
Share with us your thoughts and experience in writing stories for children.