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Many people around the world would love to write a children's book. They dream of becoming the next J. K. Rowling, their stories being read by children across the globe. Despite these aspirations, many people do not know how to make that dream come true. It takes more than a fervent wish to become a children's writer. Writing a children's book takes knowledge, determination, and practice.
In order to write a children's book, a writer needs to do her homework, learning the craft of writing for children. Contrary to popular belief, writing for kids isn't easier than writing for adults. In fact, it's more difficult.
An adult will likely plow through a novel even though it starts out slowly. A child will toss a book aside if it doesn't immediately capture her attention. For this reason, children's writers must be skilled at crafting stories that keep young readers on the edge of their seats.
Writing a children's book requires that the writer takes time to read children's books. This might seem obvious, but it's surprising to find out how many aspiring writers for children never even pick up anything written for children. Most of the children's books they've read were published years ago when they were young. Many don't realize that these books have changed a great deal since they were in school. In order to become competitive in the children's book market, a writer should be knowledgeable about the types of kids' books published today.
In order to learn how to write a children's book, writers should study books on how to write for kids. If a person visits any bookstore or library, she will find a variety of resources on how to write for the juvenile market. Whether a writer dreams of crafting picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, or young adult books, she can locate a reference on how to write for a particular age group.
Writing a children's book requires that a writer takes advantage of other writing resources. For example, the Internet provides several websites devoted to children's writers. Two notable websites include Verlakay.com and write4kids.com. Both websites offer articles, tips, and message boards to help children's writers navigate the treacherous waters of writing a children's book and getting it published.
While studying information from books and websites, aspiring children's writers should begin to write every day. Writing is a skill that must be practiced if a writer hopes to improve. She should be prepared to revise a manuscript, polishing it until it is the best it can possibly be. Many writers join critique groups since writing can be a lonely affair. Critique groups help new and seasoned writers to receive objective feedback on their work so they can make it stronger.
For those who need a more formal education, consider enrolling in a children's writing class. Universities, community colleges, online programs, and adult-education courses offer classes on writing a children's book to adults who want to write for kids. Such classes help writers learn to write, providing them with valuable information and feedback on their work.
@clintflint - It seems to vary between people though. It's definitely true that some people only seem to have one good book in them and once they've written it they never write another one.
@umbra21 - That might help some people, but I don't think it would help me. Writing a children's book or any book by copying it would just become another task and I suspect the words would all blur together.
I think the best thing you can do to be writer of any kind is to write. Read as much as you can and write as much as you can.
People seem to think that writing is an innate talent and you can either do it or you can't. But that's not true at all. Writing talent develops through practice just like any other talent. And if you want to develop a talent for writing children's stories then you need to practice doing that.
If you are really serious about writing children's books and you know what genre and age group you want to write for, you might try copying books that have been successful in those areas.
I don't mean copy them and try to get that published. I mean literally copy them out word for word and study how they were written.
It's difficult to really notice how much of a text is speech and how much is exposition and how much is metaphor and so forth if you are just reading it. If you have to write out every little word, you will notice more readily which ones have been used and which ones haven't.
Don't let this completely dictate what you write when you do start writing, but understand that if most books in the genre and age group that you're writing for are filled with speech then you need a good reason not to do the same.
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