Today, the Working Writer’s Club is hosting Day 4 of a 5-day virtual tour for A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree, a new picture book by D. B. Sanders and Dicksy Wilson.
This tour is sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center.
In today’s post, D. B. Sanders and Dicksy Wilson offer tips for aspiring children’s book writers.
Writing Tips from Authors D. B. Sanders and Dicksy Wilson
Writing for children may not be as easy as some people think.
Sure, it is fairly easy to come up with the framework of a good story, but really filling in the details (or maybe leaving OUT some of those details) is what can help to make a good story a great one.
There should be just enough detail to describe a scene or to establish the characters thoughts or emotions without becoming bogged down in the deep details of it all.
Children can lose focus easily, so make sure you get your point across as quickly as possible so that you can move on to the good stuff, the comedy and the action.
Think About the Age Group of Your Readers
Before you start, think of the age group you think would most enjoy the story you are about to tell.
Depending on the demographic for which you choose to write, you have to really think about that age group’s way of thinking and the way that they perceive everyday issues.
Are they capable of understanding the simple complexity of cause and effect? Or are they more inclined to like the sound of a silly character’s name or the bouncing cadence of a rhyme? Craft the story to the age-range of your potential readers and try not to get too involved in all of the specifics if it detracts from the impact you wish to make in certain parts of the tale. Keep it moving. Keep it simple.
Consider How Illustrations Will Work With the Text
Try to take into consideration that the final book may have illustrations on each page which will greatly help add to the story without the need for words. In fact, if you can picture the illustration that you think should accompany a part of your book, then write about that mental image. A brief description touching on key points is all that is needed. A children’s book writer needs to be able to put an image in a child’s head with as few brush strokes as possible; just as an illustrator should tell a story through the images on each page so that even a child who cannot read will be able to follow along to some degree.
Add Age-Appropriate Humor
Always remember to keep a whimsical feeling to the overall approach to the book. Again, depending on your subject matter, this light-hearted, silly approach may not be necessary as you get up out of the toddler demographic and into the older age ranges, but you will still want to interject some age-appropriate comedy in there to keep the message from becoming to serious or morose. Kids of ALL ages like to laugh. Don’t forget to give them a reason to do so every once-in-awhile.