Avoid these common misconceptions when writing children’s books. Award-winning children’s author Emily Lim shared these points in her recent MAI webinar, “Writing for Children: Commandments to follow & sins to avoid.”
1. Writing for children is easier than writing for adults.
This is very far from the truth. Adults may be willing to stay with you through many chapters before they stop reading. Children lose interest easily. If you don’t grab their attention from the first few pages, you have lost them.
2. You need to include a moral lesson in your story.
Don’t write a book to teach a moral lesson. Children get a lot of that already – in school and from their parents. Write a story that entertains them and pulls them in. Weave in what you believe – hope, second chances and God’s redemptive love. But don’t tell them what to do. Don’t shove the message in their face. Show it through your characters and let them arrive at that conclusion themselves.
3. Children can think abstractly.
Young children take things literally. You may have a story idea about a lonely girl and a magic man appears and takes her on a fantastic adventure. Your young reader may take it that it’s ok to go on an adventure with a stranger. So be mindful, especially when writing for younger children.
4. Children are simple thinkers.
Children may be literal but they more sophisticated thinkers than we sometimes realize. So, don’t underestimate them when you write.
What other lessons have you learned? Tell us.
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