3 tips for writing Children’s Stories

Writing for children can be challenging as the rules that apply here are not always the case when you write for adults. Having said this, I have to admit that the main principles are the same. You do need the inspiration, the plotting, the writing, the characters, and all that.

But let us have a look at three things that are a bit different when writing for children.

1. Write fewer words

We always hear about the great author daily word count. I have been intimidated by this in the past and thought that to write a book for 10-year-olds, I would be needing to sit down and write 3000 words per day. In all honesty I could, but it would be a total disaster and the outcome would not be readable. Instead, when writing for children you need to say little with great meaning. Of course, the wonderful and detailed pictures given in a novel are great, but they are a little too much for the younger crowds.

If you are writing a picture book you may only need 500 words, or even less. If you are writing something for 10 year-olds you may be needing 20.000 words. And even for older audiences your story may only need 60.000 words. Stick to your stories and to the word count that is enough for you to say the story right, and don’t start babbling away just to increase the word count.

2. Write shorter sentences

Small sentences are okay. They can say a lot with few words. Just pick your words carefully. Of course, not all your sentences will be short, you do need longer ones, that will be more descriptive. But keep in mind that you can use shorter sentences as well.

Think about it.

They are strong, you say little with few words so you need to choose them wisely.

They are simple, the child will read through the text with ease. They will not be needing to go back and see how that sentence started!

They give pace, so use them to your advantage. Shorter sentences, mean more pauses and this start and stop effect can increase tension which you can use to your advantage when necessary in your story.

So, don’t be afraid to use them. Even with just a couple of words.

3. Write simpler

With children’s books you need to write to the point. Whether you are writing a 50.000-word chapter book, or a 250 word picture book you need to choose your words wisely. In kids’ books there is no room for extras, no room for information that is not vital to the story. One of the hardest things I have to do is to actually delete chunks of my manuscript, because although it might be a nice addition to the story, it actually does not provide action and wouldn’t be missed if it wasn’t there. So, I need to read the manuscript again and again, let it sit for a while. Then read it out loud and then decide on each and every word, if it is necessary or not.

So, there you have it. Three tips that from my experience work well when writing for children. Hope you find some usefulness to this 



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store