Twenty Top Tips: Writing Books for Kids

I have the lurgy, dear reader, and I have spent the day in bed.


Here’s what I’ve been doing (in bed):

Reading Flow magazine

Reading The Element by Ken Robinson

Answering emails to sweet people and nice girls

Watching Ted Talks

Thinking about YOU. That’s why I’ve written this list. I hope you find it inspiring.

I’m going back to sleep now.

Or perhaps I’ll go in search of ice cream. Ice cream’s good for colds. Isn’t it?

Writing Books for Kids: Twenty Top Tips

1 Voice is vital when writing for kids. Play around until you hit on the right voice; until you get it right for your story and your reader.

2 Your main character will generally be about two years older than your reader.

3 Make sure your main character is proactive, not simply reacting to circumstances.

4 Don’t let adults fix your characters’ problems.

5 Keep adults in the background unless they are larger than life, quirky, funny, delightfully villainous or lovable.

6 Kids love to be scared. But not too scared!

7 Approach death with caution.

8 Kids love food.

9 Kids love animals.

10 All senses covered? Sight, sound, taste, touch, smell.


Wherein we focus on picture books

11 Brainstorm weekly. Schedule it!

12 No teachin’ or preachin’

13 ‘It was snowing’. That’s probably enough description, ie go easy on description (you’ve got illustrations for that).

14 Read your story aloud. Repeatedly.

15 Your character should have a problem. And solve it.

16 Write for kids (not adults, critics or publishers).

17 Commit to playing and creating. It will strengthen you imagination and give you ideas.

18 Immerse yourself in words and pictures every day.

19 Storyboard your book even if it’s only with stick figures. You’ll see things more clearly.

20 Love, love, love your characters. It will show!


PS Tip twenty, that’s for all stories. 😉








8 Replies to “Twenty Top Tips: Writing Books for Kids”

  1. I saw your video on making this awesome little book with the tips it! Enjoyed revisiting here. I’m going to use this as a checklist for review as I write and when I have completed the book. Also you have me inspired to put these tips in a handmade book too! Love the work you do and the inspiration and guiding force you provide. Cheers-Darlene

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