If you are aspiring to be a children’s book writer, you will want to come up with an idea. But – how will you know that you have the right idea, and how do you write a children’s book well and figure out the potential age group that you are gearing your book towards?
You will also want to decide whether your book will rhyme or not and whether you will want to write it in the past or the present tense. You will need to determine whether your narration will be in the first or third person.
Then, you will also want to decide on how to publish a children’s book, as you have two options to choose from – you could be self-publishing or opting for a traditional publication route.
Read on to learn more about how to initiate the writing process of your first children’s book.
Determine the Age Range
You will want to start the process by determining the age range for your book. Usually, there are different age patterns for the different types of children’s books. For instance, kids in the age group of three or below are better off with board books.
Picture books are ideal for kids who fall in the age category of 3 to 8 years. Also, if you are considering creating coloring books, then these are also ideal for kids who are aged between 3 and 8.
The early reading books are for kids who are between 5 and 9. The first chapter books are for ages 6 to 10. And the middle-grade reading books are for kids who are between 8 and 12 years old.
The chosen age group will impact everything else that you choose to do, including your writing and artwork. Your entire story will change according to the potential age group that you are targeting. If you have kids on your own or your friends have kids, you can even run your story by them to get an idea about what is really working for their age.
Determine the Characters
Once you have determined the age range that you will be moving toward with your children’s book, the next step involves determining the characters. You will want to decide whether you want to use people as your characters or animals.
You could also use fruits, vegetables, and other inanimate objects. Don’t limit your creativity because you are writing for kids, and kids love creating things. However, you will want to ensure that your characters are relatable to kids and appropriate for children.
Choose the Setting
You will also want to choose the setting for your children’s book. You will want to choose your location despite the fact that it might not play a big role in your book. And even if you don’t have to portray it, you will know in your mind where the story is taking place.
Select between Past & Present Tense
You will also want to choose the point of view. You will want to decide whether you will write your book in the past or present tense. Naturally, we tend to lean toward the past tense when we narrate stories.
However, you will want to know that the present tense is more exciting and engaging, and kids like to be in the moment with the characters. You can use the present tense to make the young readers a little bit more into the story.
However, there is no right or wrong way. Most of the children’s books are in the past tense. You will want to write in whatever tense you want; if you want to try writing in the other tense, you might do that as well.
Children’s books are short, which means that it shouldn’t take much time for you to change the tense of the story. In the end, you will want to see which tense you like better. Again, there is no right or wrong way to choose the tense – but – whatever you do, you will want to ensure that you stick with the tense.
You will want to avoid switching between the tenses in your story as it will make a bad impression on the readers and confuse the young minds. Also, it would be grammatically wrong to do so.
Select the Point-of-View
The next step is to choose your point of view. Do you want to write in the first person, or do you want to write in the third person? Similar to the tenses, there is no right or wrong way to do this. You will want to ask yourself a few questions before choosing your point of view.
For instance, you will want to assess whether your main character will be the central focus on every page of your book. You will also want to assess whether whatever is happening to the main character will be helpful to see the events unfold through their eyes.
If yes, then you will want to write in the first-person point of view. However, suppose it isn’t necessary to see the story unfold from the viewpoint of the main character. In that case, the third-person viewpoint is a better option as it will give you more flexibility to enable the kids to see more of the world by zooming out from one perspective.
More importantly, make sure to stick to whatever viewpoint you choose as you wouldn’t want to be switching the point-of-view halfway through the book.
You will also want to look at your story as a whole. You will want to assess what makes a good story, such as having a character arc, which means that your character will grow from the beginning to the end.
The character will have gone through an experience, so they will have to change and grow in some way. This aspect is true for all books – children’s books, young adults, and adult books. Also, your story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
A good way to see this is whether you can sum up your story in three sentences – the beginning, middle, and end