Many of us have grown up reading tales by Hans Christian Andersen, Mark Twain, Aesop, and The Brothers Grimm. I still remember my mother reading out my favorite little tale by Hans Christian Andersen, ‘The Toad’ to me. The world has undergone rapid, dynamic changes since then, but fairy tales and children’s stories are still a timeless genre of writing. ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’ is not just a simple tale recounting a tin soldier’s love for a paper ballerina but also forms a lineage to the world of nineteenth century nursery books and childish fantasy. But does writing for children really involve literary genius or creative battle? I guess we’ll have to find out.
Is writing for children easy?
Children want their story book characters to be ultra-smart, ultra-powerful, and empowered with magical qualities. It’s definitely not easy to create super-heroes for children. The going becomes tougher when a children’s author, a grown adult, has to think of toys, castles, fairies, genies, and ogres. If you are writing for a child then you need to think like one. Children do not have the patience to read long novels. They want to jump straight to the action bits. They need a fast-paced picture book or short story that will keep them delighted and fascinated. So if you are an aspiring children’s author then you need to deliver a strong message in few words.
Who says children’s books have to have children in them?
To Kill a Mockingbird is not a children’s book, yet it has children playing the main characters. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a children’s tale but it does not have any children in it. So get rid of these myths if you love to write for children.
Do you have the passion? If not then do not assume you can make lots of money
Not everybody can be a J.K. Rowling. So only if you have the passion for writing children’s stories, then you should continue with this genre. It’s not easy to make money with children’s fiction.
You can write adult fiction. That does not mean you will be able to write for children
So you have had a childhood full of wonderful experiences? You have a natural flair for writing adult fiction. But does that make you an expert at children’s fiction? No. Children have different personalities and perceive the world in a very different way. It’s not easy to put yourself in the child’s shoes and think. Before you think of writing for children, make sure you know your audience. Tap those childish emotions before you decide to write. Most importantly, you have to love children and love their feelings. Only then can you become a successful children’s author.
So although, writing for children sounds really easy, it is not really so. Children are like gentle flowers. If you try to bend them the wrong way then they will be destroyed. So your story has to be positive, funny, light, engaging, entertaining, imaginative, easy to read, relevant, and has to connect with the child inside you. If you are able to relate to the story you have written then every kid in your neighborhood will love it. So understand the changing, young readers market and see what’s being published. Know the target audience and then weave the child’s tale.
Your magic, story-telling moment begins…
Kritika is an engineer by profession, but an amateur poet and writer as well. She finds solace in writing and loves weaving magic with her words.