Writing stories that children will enjoy can be a challenge. Children's stories range from nonsense stories meant strictly to entertain through silliness all the way to stories that aim to teach a lesson while entertaining. How you tell your story depends in large part on the age of your target audience. Once you determine the age of your audience, you can create a fascinating story that will capture their imagination and engage them in the world of reading.
- Skill level:
Target an age group. For children between the ages of 2 and 4, create a story that relies heavily on pictures. If your story is for children between the ages of 5 and 7, outline a simple story that features a protagonist that children of this age group can identify with, placed in a situation this age group can understand. For children between the ages of 8 and 12, you can tell simple stories that lean toward specific genres, told from a child's viewpoint. Targeting your audience is crucial to focusing and writing a successful children's story.
Outline the story you want to tell. Even a simple story needs direction. For younger children, the story may only contain one or two sentences and a picture. Write a beginning, middle and end regardless.
Introduce the main character or characters for younger children as they play a part in the story. Trying to introduce them too early makes it difficult for younger children to remember. The older your target audience, especially in the 8 to 12 range, the more characters you can include in your story.
Write dramatic situations that are age appropriate. A lost boy or girl is a dramatic theme for any child, but may work better for ages 5 through 7. For older children, a protagonist who has trouble keeping friends is a stronger theme. Consider writing light ghost, mystery and action for children over the age of 10, featuring protagonists in the same age group.
Write happy endings. As long as there is a happy ending, children can recover from something sad in the plot of your book. There is plenty of time for unhappy endings in our lifetime. A child's early reading experience doesn't need to reflect that.
Tips and warnings
- Personify for readers under the age of 9. This means to give animals or inanimate objects human abilities such as speech and movement.
- Teaching is good, but weave messages to your young readers into your story naturally. This will keep them entertained and help ensure the message stays with them.
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