This is a guest post by Colin Murhpy
Excuse me. Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please. If you would all just look over here for one moment I could… HELLO! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!
The key to writing for children is to capture their attention. Kids are blunt, honest, and often have no qualms about delivering harsh, sometimes devastating, truth. As I lay on the couch one-day watching television my 4-year-old stepdaughter informed me I look like a unicorn that had eaten too much cake. As I picked the broken shards of my shattered ego up off the floor, I thanked her for encouraging me to incorporate a little more exercise into my life.
It is the unabashed innocence of children that makes them so difficult to write for. If your goal is to impart wisdom or advice, it is essential that you deliver your message in an incredibly engaging way.
The Giggle Factor
I believe the best way to engage a child is through humour; if you can make them laugh, then you will keep them coming back for more. Furthermore, the target audience for children’s books isn’t kids but rather their parents. So, if you can manage to get the whole family laughing together, then you’ve really hit a home run. You need to make the parents laugh so they will pick your book up off the shelf, and you need to make the kids laugh so they keep asking for your book night after night.
Rhyming is a Secret Weapon
Adults and children alike remember words better when they rhyme. In fact, the use of mnemonics can be traced all the way back to the fifth century B.C when poet Simonides of Ceos was hired to recite an ode at a nobleman’s banquet.
If you take the time to write a rhyme, you’ll be sublime at bedtime. By incorporating rhymes into your story, you will help your audience remember your book.
Let Kids be Heroes!
The last piece of advice I have for you aspiring storytellers is to allow the children in your stories to solve their problems on their own. Try to avoid having a parent or teacher swoop in at that last minute to solve your protagonist’s problem. Your readers are going to identify with the children in your books. So, do your best to demonstrate how kids can solve problems on their own.
Remember, the best part about writing for kids is that for a moment you get to be a kid yourself. So have fun and play and giggle and make yourself laugh. If you do that, then the rest will come!
Colin F. Murphy was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and raised in the beautiful town of Conception Bay South. He is often described as a torment, a silly goose, a rapscallion, and a pain in the derriere. He hopes, from the bottom of this heart, that his words make you smile or give you the giggles or make you fall on the floor laughing. His books are his way of bringing laughter and joy into the lives of children everywhere.
Buy Don’t Poop in the Tub on Amazon