How to get started writing storybooks for kids
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Writing storybooks is a way to bring back beautiful memories of our childhood, and share great stories that impact the lives of children positively. Creating them is a lovely experience that takes time and patience, but most importantly, responsibility for teaching information appropriately according to their ages.
I have had experience writing story tales since I was a little girl, but in my adulthood, I started to do it professionally since two years ago. During this time, I have learned some vital knowledge that has helped me to write different books. A startup distributed them in Colombia as part of their products, and hundreds of kids and their parents read them. On this week, I have challenged myself to reach new costumers and launch my storybook brand to the USA market. This work implies to translate my books to English and make some adaptations to them. This exercise helped me to reflect on the essential steps that authors need to follow for getting started in the creation of children’s books. I want to share them through this post:
Choose an audience: The first step you need to do is to think about the audience you want to read your creations. Knowing that is what is going to determine what type of content you’re going to be writing. The grade of complexity that the topics have, and the kind of book. You can decide whether it is going to be a picture book for kids that are learning to read alone, a chapter book for older children that have the habit of reading often or a novel for teenagers.
Decide a theme:
Once you decide the type of book that you want to write, it’s time to determine the subject. Whether you want it or not, you are always going to be teaching a message through your story and your characters, and your theme determines what you teach. In my case, I decided that most of my books tell stories in which kids can learn about science, engineering, history, and general culture; but at the same time, readers can learn to develop social skills like emotional intelligence, problem-solving and teamwork.
Whether it is a novel, science-fiction, or any book, the author always need to connect readers with a theme he is passionate about, or he strongly agrees with.
3. Research the recommended number of words: When writing for young readers, publishers are very strict with the number of words that books need to have according to the age of children. Even though it is essential to meet those required parameters, I suggest reading a guideline for having an idea about the length of your book but do not limit your story since the beginning. It is better to let your thoughts flow, and when you have a first draft, you can start editing the text, eliminating unnecessary dialogs for achieving the number of words desired.
4. Get inspired and start writing: At this point, you already know your audience, your theme, and you have a general idea of how long your book should be. Now is time to let your thoughts run and build your story, you can get some inspiration or extra information about a topic if needed. It is always a good idea to do some research, read other books or articles, and watch movies about the theme of your writing. You want to be an expert in the subject you are presenting through your story.
5. Edit your book: Once you finish writing your story, it is time to review it and make sure that all his parts are exposed clearly. The characters are well defined; readers can identify the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution of it. If you notice that some of these parts are weak and vague, then you need to make corrections making sure that each situation and dialogue in the story helps to display each part of the story successfully and in a captivating way. It would help if you started your narrative with an engaging sentence that opens the curiosity of the reader; it is also necessary to maintain that interest during each section of the book.
When you finish editing, and you feel happy with your work, you need to know that it possibly need to get more corrections. It would be best if you got an editor you trust, and ask him/her to read your book and analyze each part with detail. It is great when someone else read your texts and gives you feedback because that person will notice mistakes that you never saw even after you reviewed all the sentences many times.
5. If you’re not an illustrator, you need to get one: The younger the readers are, the more illustrations the books need. Drawings have essential functions in a book. They help kids to understand situations in a story better, and they keep children more entertained with the pot. Besides, young readers have fun looking at characters represented through colorful pages and comical features. It is essential that you feel comfortable and identified with the illustrator’s styles because his designs are going to give identity to your book.
Following these steps can help you to start on the fascinating journey of writing for children. As a piece of final advice, I encourage you to have fun as you play with the creation of your characters and the plot, think of the things that you enjoyed the most growing up and the experiences that brought more joy to you during those years. To revive your inner child and to learn how to transmit those emotions is an essential clue for creating an entertained story that your readers would love.