If you are a writer, then your resolution for 2017 should be to write a children’s book, preferably a picture book. It’s a tough but exciting process that every writer needs to experience in order to hone her craft. Here are a few guidelines for budding picture book writers.
Brainstorm for story ideas that have universal appeal. Choose a genre which fits your writing style and interest. Think about books that are currently popular, your personal favourites and involve children in the thought process. Once you have the kernel of the story, develop interesting characters that children can relate to. Your characters can be human, animals or fantasy but they should fit into the world created by you. And before you begin, make sure that the plot is creative, imaginative and age appropriate.
Common themes that appeal to young readers are bedtime, school, expressing feelings, resolving an argument, making friends, dealing with loss, lost and found stories and simple adventures.
The Story Outline
Even if it is a simple picture story, it is recommended that you carefully plan out the story structure. When you chart out the outline, make sure that your plotline has a very clear beginning, middle and conclusion. If it is your first attempt at a children’s story, keep it basic when it comes to the story. Make sure your characters have distinct physical and personality traits, introduce the conflict/obstacle and show how it is resolved in time for everyone to “live happily ever after”!!
When writing for children, write with flair and make it fun. Use words that make impact – simple phrase repetitions, rhyme schemes and even made-up words. Think of “Fox in Sox”, “Green Eggs and Ham”, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?”, “Llama llama Red Pajama”. These books are fun to read aloud and are enjoyable for both the adult reader and the child.
Think about how adding pictures will enhance the story. Adding visuals will not just raise the interest level of the young readers but also make it easier for them to understand the written content. When it comes to picture books, the artwork is as important to the success of the book as the text. Whether it is the quixotic illustrations of Quentin Blake or the unique creations of Dr. Seuss, illustrations are often central to the success of children’s books. Illustrators have their own special place in the world of children’s publications and rightly so since they contribute heavily to the sales of children’s books.
So, when it comes to choosing an illustrator for your children’s book, make sure you factor in experience, value for money and market reputation before you make up your mind. Choose wisely and it is sure to pay off in terms of added sales for your children’s book.
Good luck and happy writing!