Writing Books For Children

Ideas for generating ideas for your bestseller childrens story, impressions of the world around you, and most importantly, your imagination and your notebook

Kids are such varied people that in no other part of our population will you find so many differences among one group. Writing for children demands that those that write try to be just as varied. This creates a dilemma for the writer in not always knowing what to write about. One minute, it can seem as if there are a million ideas just waiting to be explored, and the next, it appears as if every topic imaginable has already been done. Just where is a writer to turn for fresh, usable, story ideas? Anywhere, everywhere, leave no stone unturned!

I have one main rule I follow when coming up with new subjects for my writing:

Always carry a notebook and write down everything! An idea that is at the top of your memory, the one that is the "˜bestseller', and you are sure you will not forget it, will be lost almost as fast as you thought of it, if you do not write it down! And then there are those other, more subtle ideas, that you are not sure of, but maybe can be of use, need even more importantly to be put down on paper, less one is more important than you thought. Later, as you review your ideas, something that seemed so-so, may still be only so-so, but may be just the idea that you needed to jump start a new project, or give fuel to one you are already working on.



Many people wrongly assume that writing for children is easy. They apparently have not tried to write the "˜perfect' children's story. You know the one aimed at two to four year olds, or even one for the never easy to please pre-teen group. Just where do you start? Look around you, and I mean, really look around you. Get active. Do not think that you can sit in front of your computer screen all day and ideas will just pop right into your head. There may be a lucky few that have such an easy time, but for the most of us, it is going to take some work, some hard work, on our part to generate ideas to fill all those pages.

Imagination is something associated with kids, but after our notebooks (or laptops for those inclined) imagination is at the top of our most needed list to be a successful writer. Example: Last night I ran to pick my daughter up from work in the late evening. On my way there, I was treated with a spectacular view of the northern lights that nearly had me running in the ditch. On the way back home, which is roughly 4 miles of rural roads, we, my daughter and I, were treated again. This time, to several deer, a house cat, a coyote, and last, what we first thought was another house cat. Sitting in the road, looking skyward, was a possum, seemingly as amazed with the continuing northern lights as I was. As I slowed my truck, then came to a complete stop, we realized that this possum was not moving"¦he was mesmerized! After I gave a little toot of my horn, he looked our way, clearly disappointed to be disturbed of his view, and ambled slowly, very slowly, off the road and into the woods. As he looked our way, I also knew I had my new character for a long-standing picture book I have been working on. You see, my "˜imagination' kicked in, and that little creature "˜told' me so much as he looked my way, I could barely contain myself the last mile home. I wrote down every impression I had of the chance encounter.

Not every idea is so blunt though. Along with your imagination and notebook, you also need to develop "˜awareness'. If you walk through life with tunnel vision, not noticing what is going on, your stories will be just as bland. Make yourself think about what is happening around you. Go where you can hear kids talk. Volunteer to be reading-buddy at your local elementary school. Volunteer to help out in the classroom, or better yet, the lunchroom! Kids really show their true colors in this setting. Do not overlook other places that may generate usable suggestions. Everywhere! Grocery stores, the zoo, the middle of the field at the edge of town! If someplace sparks an interest, check it out. Who knows, while you are wondering if you are looking like a fool in the middle of that field, you may suddenly realize that right where you are standing is an ancient burial ground, or that tree at the edge of the field may have been a "˜hanging tree'. Could that river have once been no more than a small stream, one where dinosaurs stood to drink, or maybe that car going by is carrying a small girl who just lost her first tooth, really lost it, now the tooth fairy won't come"¦. Get yourself out there and ideas will happen!

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