Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Ten Tips on Writing Stories Children and Editors will Love.

Do you want to write winning short stories for children? Here's a few top tips!

1. Don’t patronize. Children are sophisticated, intelligent and like to be challenged. Don’t over simply or over explain. Don’t write for children because you think it’s the easy option. It’s not.

2. Don’t preach. It’s okay for your story to have a message or moral, but don’t bang on about it. If your story is well written the message will be apparent as your character will have learnt something and your reader will learn too as a result.

3. Do create interesting, realistic characters your reader can relate to and want to know better.

4. Don’t sit around waiting for inspiration. Find it by reading children’s books and stories, listening to them talk, watching their TV programmes and so on. Emerge yourself into their world as much as you can.

5. Do make sure your story and its language are age appropriate. Research what children of that age may be interested in before you write. Research what editors are looking for too. and write what they want

6. Do include dialogue that is realistic, true to the characters’ personalities and which helps move the story on.

7. Don’t jump into the story and tell it yourself– let your characters do that for you.

8. Don’t be miserable, morbid or melodramatic, even if your story has a serious message or sad content.

9. Do enjoy what you write. If you’re having fun your reader will too.

10. Don’t be afraid to try a new slant on an old story. Many successful modern stories are based on or inspired by fables and fairy stories writers enjoyed themselves.

Use the above tips as guidelines and add to it as you become experienced in writing stories for children.

Learn from your masters (the writers you admire), learn from your writing - from your mistakes and your successes. And one final tip to keep in mind – don’t expect your story to be perfect, just make it as good as you can.

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