Skip to main content

Five Tips for Writing Children's Literature

If you are interested in writing stories for very small children, here are five tips that can help get you started.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

The recent overwhelming success of the Harry Potter book series has shown the publishing world just how profitable stories geared toward young audiences can be. If you are interested in writing stories for very small children, here are five tips from The Children's Writer's Reference, a new resource book by Berthe Amoss (author of numerous children's books) and Eric Suben (former editor of Golden Books):

  1. One thought per sentence. Keep your writing simple and uncluttered. If the sentence needs a comma anywhere but before or after attributions of dialogue, think about breaking it up into two sentences.
  2. Avoid cliched images. Remember your audience. Your cliche may be new to most children, so familiarity will not be an aid to understanding. Small children do not have a wide range of associations to use in understanding the image.
  3. Be literal. Writing in children's books must be concrete. Focus on giving information your audience can perceive with their five senses.
  4. Provide captivating dialogue. You can express much more about your characters through their own words than you can through dry narration. Also, since your book will most likely be read aloud, providing different voices to be acted out often makes your book more enjoyable for the adult to read and the child to hear.
  5. Keep it simple. The trick in children's books is to use as few words as possible. Avoid adverbs and adjectives where possible and use good active verbs. For example, instead of saying "He ran quickly," say "He sped."

To read more tips on writing successful children's literature, pick up a copy of Berthe Amoss and Eric Suben's book The Children's Writer's Reference.

And, to find listings for hundreds of publishers of children's writing for any genre, check out the latest edition of the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 609

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a world-building poem.

Writer's Digest Presents podcast image

Writer's Digest Presents: World-Building (Podcast, Episode 5)

In the fifth episode of the Writer's Digest Presents podcast, we talk about world-building in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including interviews with authors Whitney Hill (fiction) and Jeannine Hall Gailey (poetry).

Heirloom

Heirloom

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, someone's shown up demanding your narrator's family heirloom.

May Cobb: On Stolen Moments

May Cobb: On Stolen Moments

Author May Cobb discusses offering readers a summer of mayhem with her new novel, My Summer Darlings.

The Time Is Now: Securing First-Hand Accounts of History for Writing Projects

The Time Is Now: Securing First-Hand Accounts of History for Writing Projects

Writer Stephen L. Moore discusses the benefits of having first-hand accounts for historical writing and offers advice on best practices in securing interviews while there’s still time.

From Script

Character Exploration and Development in Television (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, exclusive interviews with writers, showrunners and more who share a common thread of character exploration and development!

Janet Key: On Letting Your Novel Take Shape

Janet Key: On Letting Your Novel Take Shape

Author Janet Key discusses the experience of letting the novel take shape through the editorial process for her debut novel, Twelfth.

Benjamin Myers: On Fleeting Moments Becoming Finished Novels

Benjamin Myers: On Fleeting Moments Becoming Finished Novels

Award-winning author and journalist Benjamin Myers discusses the out-of-body experience of having the idea for his new novel, The Perfect Golden Circle.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 7 WDU Courses, a Chat With Ran Walker, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce 7 WDU courses, a chat about flash fiction with Ran Walker, and more!