My first book was for children and I have developed it into a series. I had no clue how to write for this genre so there were a heck of a lot of revisions to get it just right. So to hear someone tell me from a writer’s group, “Oh any one can do that. I can write a children’s book in a day,” was so lovely. Some people, include writers sadly, think children’s books are easy to do. What people don’t understand is one has to write it in a way that it does not dumb them down or so over their head you lose them. It is a balancing act. Getting the dialogue is not easy.
Kids are smarter than people giver them credit for. If you don’t hook them by the end of page one the book is already on the floor while they look for a new one to read. Who do you think buys their books? Parents. And parents who notice what their kids like or don’t like. If these same parents read the book to their children and see how bad it is, they will put it down.
Kids are tough. If yo don’t think so have a group of children beta read your book. If that doesn’t put you in your place and make you want to go in a fetal position I don’t know what else will.
I now do other genres and with that comes new challenges. I am glad though I started with the genre of children. To the question of how hard could it be. The answer is very hard. In fact children literature has been named from a few big sites as being one of the hardest to write.
Children writers don’t always get props. But they should.
6 thoughts on “Writing for children: Not as easy as one thinks”
Great post, so true one cannot fool kids and writing good children’s books takes a lot of skill.
Very nice article! I am a writer and my first children’s book is coming out this year. I started out attempting the American novel but ended up on the children’s book route. I have much to learn but it is something I enjoy. Most of my friends say that material in children’s books seem to match me better. I am trying to learn what I am good at but it is hard to tell.
Thank you Anna. I wish you a host of well wishes on your journey. It sure isn’t easy when we are trying to find our voice with writing.
This is so true! When i first started writing, i avoided children’s writing, it was so hard! At first I believed it was because of the number of ‘rules’ i was told I must follow. But, no, it is not that at all, it is, as you say, getting that balance just right. I now have two children that love nothing better than to tell me what i need to do to improve my stories, not to mention a whole host of parents that will tell me why they wouldn’t want a particular story for their child. Listening to them all, and taking it on can be soul destroying, but, in the long run, it is the best thing you can ever do!
I see you get it. 🙂 I read that this genre is one of the hardest to write because of the balancing act. I am glad you have a team of people who can tell you what works and does not work. Best of luck to you.