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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Writing For Children

Although I don't write for children myself, it's a subject I've been giving a lot of thought to recently.

Firstly, my friend Sue Bentley kindly gave me some copies of her new Magic Ponies books. Sue has already completed the successful Magic Kitten and Magic Puppy series of books and now is well into the Magic Ponies series.

As some of you will remember, my article about writing series for children - based on an interview with Sue - is due to be published by Writers' Forum magazine later this year.

I've also been writing up the notes of my interview with Linda Chapman. Linda gave me some fascinating insights into writing for children, so I'm looking forward to turning that into an article soon as well.

Fellow bloggers, do you write for children? Have you ever thought of writing for children? And if you could ask one question of a successful author of children's books like Sue or Linda,what would it be?


Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Love the idea of writing for children, but know it's not as easy as it looks (is any writing ever?).

Looking forward to your articles.

Caroline said...

Oh my - Poppy has been going on and on and on about Magic Kitten and Magic Puppy books. I think her friends at school must read them and apparently they have really cute covers. We are working our way through the Daisy Meadows books and I love them. I wish that I had the skill to be so precise and to pitch at a level that really excited children.

I don't think I have any questions, rather a sense of awe. Getting children excited about reading is such a good thing! And I'll be sure to check out the Magic Puppy/Kittens and Ponies.


Queenie said...

I don't write for children. I have thought about it, and even had a go at a few things years ago, but it's difficult (as Suzanne says, like all writing) and I'm more drawn to writing for adults.

Anonymous said...

Most of my ideas are probably a bit too dark and/or complex for children's writing. Teen fiction is a possible genre/market for me, but I haven't seriously attempted anything of that sort yet.

Lane Mathias said...

I've tried to write a childrens story but it's far more difficult than it seems. I find targeting an age bracket hard - vocabularly to use, how complex you can be without over simplifying etc.

Question? Wordcounts. Publishers guidelines seem to vary somewhat. What is generally expected for 6-8 years and 9-12? Are those even the commonly used age groups?

claire p said...

I haven't thought about it myself but I know rainbowmummy is working on a couple of ideas for special needs children.

DJ Kirkby said...

I would love to write for children because the books N3S is reading light up his world. I would love to give that gift to children.

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Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

I did have an idea for a series of childrens books a couple of years ago, but haven't done much about it, as am focusing on other bits.

I look forward to reading your articles.

Fiona Mackenzie. Writer said...

What a beautiful cover. As a child I loved reading about pones.

To your questions, yes I've written a children's book. Not a good one and I didn't bother to send it out.

Does Sue plan her stories?

Unknown said...

I write for children - well, older teens mostly though I also have a trilogy for 9 - 12s on the go. I think it is quite definitely the most difficult market to write for. Children are discerning and demanding in a way that adults aren't - and you have to work that much harder to sustain their attention. And you have to work harder on voice, showing not telling and oh, a host of other things. I often wonder why I do it but then I can't think that anything else that would give me as much pleasure.
Looking forward to reading your article!

Unknown said...

I couldn't write for children. Far too difficult. And, of course, I'd keep wanting to kill everyone off. ;o)

HelenMWalters said...

Suzanne – I think it must be very difficult.

Caroline – they do indeed have cute covers. Hope you and Poppy get to check out Magic Ponies soon.

Queenie – I’ve written a couple of short stories for children, but they didn’t really work.

Captain – yes, I think that’s part of my problem too, I have a fondness for the dark side as well.

Lane – the age banding is confusing, I haven’t really grasped it yet!

Claire – that sounds like an interesting niche market as well.

DJ – yes, that is the amazing side of it.

Debs – I think it would be quite hard to juggle it with writing for adults, although I know some people do.

Fiona – I read all the pony books when I was a child as well.

Absolute Vanilla – good luck – yes, that is a difficult market,

Shirley – hmmm, some of your plot lines might not be entirely suitable for children x

Annieye said...

My daughter says there is a real gap in the marke for books for special needs teenagers aged 11-19. Children's books are not age-appropriate, and teen novels are too heavy. She really struggles to find interesting books for those who can read at a variety of levels.