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How I Write a Children’s Book – Part 1

I am often asked the question, “How do you write a children’s book?” I honestly never knew how to answer that. I’ve only published one children’s book, and I have one set to be published later this year. In all truthfulness, I never really considered myself a children’s book writer.  But, hey … I’ve written two books. People who have read my second book really think its great, and I know my first book is good just based on sales. So I guess I am qualified to answer that question. But how do you answer a question that has so many steps to it. There is no one answer. It’s not like people ask, what’s your favorite color? (Hunter green by the way).

So although I cannot answer the question simply, I can explain my process. I am going to create a multi-part series on how I write a children’s book. So without further ado, here we go.

How I Write a Children’s Book

 

When I set out to write The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle, I had never written a children’s book before. It was my first. Most writers will tell you to create an outline, or define the character and their goal, or some other worthy advice. But, in reality all you need is an idea. Start simple, and expand from there. Nobody starts with the entire story it all gets developed as you go along.

Is this a rule? No. There are no rules when it comes to creativity. My next book, Steven the Vegan, was a book I wanted to write. There are a lot of kids being raised vegan these days, and their friends don’t understand why. I tried for months to force this book. The story was terrible. One of the strong points of my sea turtle book is that it teaches conservation without you even knowing it. The lesson is strong, but subtle. I needed to find a way to create a similar feeling, but with a vegan concept. I tried several story ideas with no luck.

One day I was sitting at my laptop and Bam!, the entire story came to me. I spent the next hour writing the entire story. Yes, there were edits, but the basic storyline was done.

Everyone has their own ideas on how to write a story. I’ll give you a few of my Do’s and Don’ts.

Don’ts

  • Don’t force the story.
  • Don’t worry about the reading level of the words.
  • Don’t worry about trivial things like the color of the characters eyes, unless it’s important to the story.

Do’s

  • Do, Have fun with it.
  • Do research the story, and see if it’s been done before. (But don’t let that discourage you.)
  • Do keep notes. Ideas will pop in your head all the time.

With that in mind, I’m sure you’re wondering, “How do I get started?”

You start with an idea. For this example I am going to use the following idea. It is based on a drawing my friend and illustrator, Ron Robrahn created of a penguin.

Idea : A story about a penguin who wishes he could fly.

Seems rather basic. I mean, where’s the goal, where’s the challenge? Where’s the storyline. We will get to all that in the next parts.

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