When it comes to writing, you’re likely to find your preferred genre, and find yourself writing for a certain audience. Of course, genre is a fairly loose term and there are sub-categories within each one, but let’s strip it right back. For example, I predominantly write thrillers. But there’s a lot to learn and enjoy when you step out of your comfort zone and try something else.
In particular, I think all of us who write for adults should try our hand at writing for children at some point. There are a number of options within this too. You may try writing books for very young children, for school aged kids or for teenagers. Within that, you’ll find yet mote sub-categories. That’s your choice! I tend to find myself writing fantasy when I write children’s books, perhaps a throwback to my own childhood favourites? Whatever you choose – do it! Here’s why;
Isn’t this why we write anyway? It’s all about the enjoyment. Writing for children really encourages you to delve into your imagination. You can play with words and rhyme in fun ways, create new worlds and make reality out of nonsense. Even if your story includes dark and difficult themes, stories for children will usually show the characters overcome and succeed, leading to happy and inspiring endings.
It would be easy to presume that writing for children is easy, but it’s not at all. It’s actually a real challenge. Reading requires a great deal of focus and children don’t typically have the attention span of adults. As such, you will need to work harder to keep your audience hooked. Not only that, but themes in children’s book need to be handled with sensitivity, while also reaching out to those who can relate, and comforting them too. You need to make sure you don’t dumb things down, or underestimate the child’s ability to imagine and understand the story.
If you’re a writer now, you’ve probably been a book lover from a very young age. I adored books as a child, my mum would read to me for hours when I as small, and this love carried me through to adulthood. Writing for children encourages you to think back on the books you loved as a kid, and brings with a sense of nostalgia. Be sure to think hard about what you loved in your favourite books from back then, and incorporate these into your own writing.
In a world with an increasing number of distractions, it’s so important to keep producing good books for children of all ages. Storytelling is vital, not only for enjoyment, but also for telling life lessons, teaching new facts and skills, and encouraging imagination, freedom and creativity. Not only that, but books and characters can reach out to kids at times when they may otherwise feel lonely or misunderstood.
Do you write for children, or is it something you’re keen to try? What were your favourite childhood books? I’d love you to share your thoughts and experiences, so drop a comment below.