Here are some essential questions to ask yourself before writing a children’s book!
Writing a children’s book sounds simple, but if you’re just beginning your career as an author, there are some essential things you’ll need to know. If you want to learn more about designing a children’s book, check out the 101 of Designing A Children’s Book!
If you’re planning on writing a children’s book and are just in the initial stages, then ask yourself the following questions!
- What’s something that children need to learn?
- What’s your message going to be?
- Do you have a main character?
- Where will your story take place?
- What challenges will your main character face, and how will they overcome them?
- What’s the solution to the main problem?
- How can you tell your story and impart your message in a way children will resonate with?
One. What’s Something that Children Need to Learn?
While children love children’s books, their parents, carers, grandparents, and other adults will ultimately purchase the books. Because of this, you need to ensure your book not only appeals to children and adults but also includes some sort of teachable moment. While some children’s books are silly and fun, most will have a lesson hidden inside them.
In our Hockey Wars Series, the underlying lesson we want kids to learn is friendship and the importance of fair play, trying your best, and committing to something. So in The Day My Fart Followed Me to Hockey, we focused on friendship and never giving up on your dreams.
Before you start writing a children’s book, ask yourself, what’s the lesson I want children to learn?
Two. What’s Your Message Going to Be?
It’s a good idea to take your lesson and line it up with your ongoing message. Then, as you work through the writing process, always be aware of your message and how you can incorporate it into your children’s book.
If you understand your message, it will help you to keep your story focused as it progresses.
Once you know the message and lesson, you can flip it and figure out the problem your main character needs to overcome.
Three. Do You Have A Main Character?
In our book, Don’t Fart in the Pool, the main character was Stan. This children’s book was a silly fun book without much of a message. We didn’t have a primary message for this book, except perhaps that farting in a pool was never the best idea.
It’s the job of your main character to relate with the reader. Regardless of how good the story is, it’ll be hard for your readers to stay interested in your book if they can’t relate to the main character.
Important things to consider when writing your main character:
- Try to keep them the same or similar age to your target readers.
- People are complicated, so remember they make mistakes, likes and dislikes, goals, and ambitions, and are motivated to achieve their goals.
- Your main character should be the hero of your story.
- Create a character profile before you start writing the main story.
Four. Where Will Your Story Take Place?
The environment we live in plays a big role in who we are, what we look like, and how we’ll ultimately make life decisions. The setting of your children’s book will play an essential role in how your character should act, what they look like, and what they do.
In The Adventures of Cargo, the Army Truck, Cargo lives in Australia. So, the illustrations need to clearly identify to readers where the story is taking place. So, for example, we used a lot of Australian outback themes such as the dessert, kangaroos, orange colours, and classic Australian elements like the kangaroo crossing sign.
Where does your children’s book take place?
- At school, home, sports game, swimming pool, beach, or forest?
- Which country is it set in?
- What climate is it set in?
- What season is it set in?
- Is it day or night?
You can learn more about how we created the Adventures of Cargo the Army Truck here.
Five. What Challenges Will Your Main Character Face, and How Will They Overcome Them?
What roadblocks or obstacles will your main character overcome throughout the story? A good starting point is to try and think of three obstacles or problems your main character will need to overcome.
- Are they trying to find their place in the world?
- Are they trying to get a spot in a team?
- Are they trying to make friends?
- Are they overcoming a fear?
- Are they solving a problem to learn a new skill?
Six. What’s the Solution to the Main Problem?
If you know the main problem, then it’s time to figure out what the solution is going to be. There could be multiple solutions to the problem or several steps that the main character has to go through to overcome the problem.
Remember, you have your message, and you have your main problem, so make sure that your solution not only solves the problem but also remains consistent with your message.
Seven. How Can You Tell Your Story and Impart Your Message In A Way Children Will Resonate With?
The two most significant parts of the book that readers will resonate with are your beginning and end. Therefore, you need to make the end of your story as impactful as possible so that children want to read it repeatedly.
Consider multiple endings and then get beta readers to try out alternate versions of your book to see which hits home the best with your audience.
Everything You Need to Know Before You Start Writing A Children’s Book! – Conclusion
Do you have a children’s book idea you would love to publish but don’t know where to start or what to do? We’d love to chat with you about your idea!
At Author Services Australia, we have an experienced team of ghostwriters, illustrators, and editors ready to bring your children’s book to life!
Don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly!