Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Madeleine McLaughlin talks about writing for children

Writing For Children

Writing children's books is not kid's play. For one thing, you have to remember to keep your words simple and age appropriate. I once read a fellow writer's MS and found the word 'apparently' in it. That is a definite no, no.

When you sit down to write your book you have to know exactly what age will be your readership. The younger the child, the easier you need to be. I will say that the easiest for a writer is to use words that convey their ideas.

You can't really do that with kids books because the child must be able to understand. And unless your book is about teaching new words, forget about teaching new words. The young 'uns just want to enjoy.
Cat, has, bad, good are all great words for a child. You have to go back to when you were a child and try to think like that again.

For one thing, all those words are black and white. Like a kid thinks. Good. They know what good is (one hopes). Bad. They know is the main character is throwing water on someone it's bad. If you want to go into motive, you can say he's mad.

Another thing you must remember is to only have one idea. The story must be about one thing. There can be no sub-plots and sometimes that can be hard for the writer to do. Kids get distracted easily and you are in charge of directing their attention on your storybook.

Of course, good illustrations help a great deal. So if you wish to be a children's picture book writer, you need to get a good publisher who has access to great illustrators. It's harder than it looks to make great drawings.

The hard thing is, do you wish to teach the child, or entertain? Most publishers now-a-days want to entertain but in my opinion there is still a place for a bit of entertaining 'moral'.

My own first picture book will be available September 5, 2015. Fox tots is the publisher and I'm greatly excited about it. 

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