Secrets of Writing for Children

Now that I’m entering the editing phase for my current manuscript, I’ve been looking for some tips that will make life easier. Margot Finke’s Secrets of Writing for Children has some practical advise which I believe is a great start. Yes, some of it is quite basic but I think that’s the stuff we tend to overlook the most.

What is a Chapter Book?

I’ve had several people over the past two months ask me what a chapter book is, so I’m going to talk about that today. 🙂

A chapter book for children is the proper terminology for a children’s novel for the ages of 8 to 12. It’s usually between 25,000 and 40,000 words, yet the high end of the scale isn’t recommended for an unpublished author as it means publishing costs are more expensive and the publisher is more likely to think twice before taking a chance on you.

Each chapter is up to about ten double spaced pages, which make for nice, concise scenes. The scenes should be in chronological order, with little or no flashbacks. Each sentence should contain one thought only, whereas adult writing can often combine two thoughts. Word useage should NOT be dumbed down. If an author does this, they will find themselves rejected more times than you can count. And if their manuscript was published, the readers will not return to read a second book written by the author. Use the best word at all times, no matter what it is. The subject can literally be about anything, if done in the right way. Never, ever preach and publishers seem to like a clear learning experience for the main character.

It’s not easier to write a children’s book, it’s not easy to write any book, but it is quicker because of the word count. Yet, before you stop what you’re doing…consider this…children’s books are cheaper to buy, which means you don’t get as much from the sale of each book. This also means that you have to write more books to get the same amount of money you’d earn from an adult novel. Many writers tend to forget this side of things.