While there are potentially 1000 tips for children’s book writing, here are my 7 Secrets for Children’s Book Writing. I used these secrets to write my award winning children’s book, Saltwater Taffy. And remember when taking advice from other writers about writing…find what works for you and apply it to your writing, but never lose sight of YOUR writing. More and more, people are writing to satisfy either the marketplace or their agents. What does that leave? A bland and boring piece of writing.
1. MAKE IT FUN – Kids want adventure. Kids want action. I once heard a kid say: “If it’s not fun, I don’t want to read it.” With fractured attention spans and our culture of ADD and ADHD, you have to grab your reader on page 1 with an awesome opening!
2. CHARACTERS AGE – Once you determine your target audience, tack on a few years to your main characters. Kids like to read what it’s like to ‘be older.’
3. PACE IS EVERYTHING – On Law & Order, we had one rule; if the scene doesn’t move the story, cut it. This speaks to TIP #1. Kids want the story to read stories that are fun and cook!4. THINK CINEMATICALLY – Read as many screenplays as you can. Screenwriters are masters of SHOWING and not TELLING. Children want to SEE the story, not just read it.
5. THE SUM OF THE PARTS – Every single chapter should have its own story arch, which is built inside the overall arch of the story. Each chapter should have a beginning, middle and end. Each chapter should be able to stand on its own.
6. CHANGE IT UP – You never want your reader to know what is going to happen next, so it is important to provide story twists and turns. This keeps a reader reading.
7. HANG ‘EM HIGH – you can never over-use the cliff-hanger trick when writing for children. Every chapter of Saltwater Taffy utilizes this trick and it works. The kids can’t stop reading and that’s a good thing.