Writing for kids

So, as I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I am writing a book to give my daughter the role models that I feel she deserves. The process I have found to be very difficult. I really did think that writing children’s books would be easy… I told my wife I’d have one done in an afternoon, but oh boy was I wrong!! Here are some of the misconceptions I had about children’s books. Everything went completely out the window when I sat down to write one… 1. Writing a kid’s books is easy: This is simply not true… I had loads of ideas, I brainstormed, I wrote, I threw my writings in the bin and quickly realised that, while I wanted to get across a point, I wasn’t getting very far in terms of writing something that kids would read or even like to listen to! The fact that I decided I’d like to create a picture book was something that I have quite often been goaded about… I keep hearing things like; “there are only 2 lines per page”, “how hard could that be?”, “why is it taking so long?” Mmm… the answer to all of those is the same - it is VERY HARD. You need to be so concise, your language must to be specific and you need to adhere to a theme. Once you have your thoughts on the page, you then have to put together your ideas about how you want it to look in the end! This was not what I signed up for… but I had announced it to the people reading the blog and also to the wife so I have no choice but to complete one! 2. Children’s books must have a lesson: Having read books to prep for writing, this became apparent… you really don’t need to teach ANYTHING, you do need to entertain, fascinate and inspire imagination but there doesn’t need to be a moral of the story. If it is good enough to have thought provoking prose and nice pictures that might raise some questions then you are doing well!! I want kids to read… lessons come after! 3. I tell great stories… so kids will love my ideas: I was a school principal in China and I told stories ALL the time. I really enjoyed it and I thought I was pretty good at it, but there is a big difference between telling stories with facial expressions, funny voices and throwing in the occasional Chinese word to get a giggle and actually writing something that people will read. I showed my first books to a couple of the neighbours… and they were BRUTAL. I left that house with my pride in my tatters, questioning my own ability to get this done! 4. Kids will like anything parents read to them… NOPE NOPE NOPE. My own daughter gets pretty animated if I’m not reading something she likes. (I really looooove the fact that her favourite book is one that moves, is called Splat and it’s about a cow that makes a poop! Her second favourite book… same author, called Ooops… also about poo! hahaha) 5. The goal is to be published: Don’t get me wrong, I’ll try to get my book published, I’ll test the waters and I’ll try make a little off it (why wouldn’t I?) but really, having a book that I have written for my daughter is really my goal. I want her to see that even when she was crying, telling me she only wanted her mammy and pelting me with food… I still loved her enough to write something for her! Hahaha So, if any of you guys are thinking about writing books… really think about it, research it and DON’T announce to the world that you are writing a book when it’s only a seed in your mind!

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