Writing a children's story requires a vivid imagination and the ability to put yourself in a child's mind. Perhaps you have to write a children's story for a class or have decided to write one as a personal project. To write a children's story, start by brainstorming ideas that appeal to children. Then write the story with a strong introduction, plot, and moral. Be sure to polish up the story when you're done so that it can be a hit with your young readers.
Part 1 of 3: Get Started
Step 1. Identify the age group for which you will write
Children's stories are often written with a specific age group in mind. Are you going to write a children's story? For older children? Identify if you are writing for children ages 2 to 4, 4 to 7, or 8 to 10. The language, tone, and style of the story will change based on the age group for which you are writing.
- For example, if you are writing for an age range of 2-4 or 4-7, you should use simple language and very short sentences.
- If you are writing for an age range of 8-10, you can use slightly more complex language and sentences longer than 4-5 words.
Step 2. Use a memory from your childhood for inspiration
Think of memories from your childhood that were exciting, strange, or a little bit wonderful. Use a memory as the basis for the children's story.
For example, you may have had a strange day in third grade that you could turn into an entertaining story. Or maybe you had an experience in a foreign country when you were very young and have a story of the trip that the children would enjoy
Step 3. Take something ordinary and make it great
Pick an activity or daily event and add quirkiness to it. Make it fantastic by adding an absurd element to it. Use your imagination to try to visualize it as a child would.
For example, you could take a common occurrence like going to the dentist and make it fantastic by bringing the machinery used by the dentist to life. You could also take a child's first time in the ocean and make it fantastic by having the child go deep into the ocean
Step 4. Choose a theme or idea for the story
Having a central theme for the story can help you generate ideas. Focus on an issue like love, loss, identity, or friendship from a child's point of view. Think about how the children might see the topic and explore it.
For example, you could explore the theme of friendship by focusing on the relationship between a girl and her turtle
Step 5. Create a unique main character
Sometimes a children's story revolves around a unique and relatable main character. Think about the types of characters that are not often portrayed in children's stories. Make your character unique by using real qualities in children and adults that you find interesting.
For example, you might notice that there are not many children's stories that have a colored girl as the main character. Then you could create a main character that fills this void
Step 6. Give the main character a few quirks
Make the main character stand out to readers by giving them unique physical traits such as a special hairstyle, a particular dress style, or a distinctive gait. You can also give him personality traits like a good heart, a love of adventure, or a tendency to get into trouble.
For example, you might have a main character who always combs his hair into long braids and has an obsession with turtles. You could also have a main character who has a distinctive scar on his hand from the time he fell out of a tree
Step 7. Create a montage
Trace the story in 6 parts, beginning with the exposition or montage. In the montage, you introduce the setting, the main character, and the conflict. It begins with the name of the main character and then describes a particular place or location. You can then outline the character's wish or goal, as well as an obstacle or problem that they have to deal with.
For example, you could have an exhibit like: a girl named Fiona who wants a pet discovers a turtle in the lake near her house
Step 8. Have a triggering incident
This is the event or decision that changes or challenges the main character. The event or decision may come from another character. It can also come from an institution, such as a school or a job. Or it can come from nature, such as a storm or tornado.
For example, you might have a triggering incident like, "Fiona's mom says she can't have a pet because it's too much responsibility."
Step 9. Include an increasing action
Rising Action is where you develop the main character and explore his relationship with other characters in the story. Show them living their life in the middle of the triggering incident. Describe how they handle or adapt to it.
For example, you could have a growing action like: Fiona captures the turtle and hides it in her backpack, carrying it around with her secretly so that her mom doesn't discover her
Step 10. Have a dramatic climax
The climax is the climax of the story, where the main character must make an important decision or choice. It should be full of drama and be the most exciting moment in the story.
For example, you might have a climax like, "Fiona's mom discovers the turtle in her backpack and tells her she can't keep it as a pet."
Step 11. Include a decreasing action
Diminishing action is the point where the main character faces the results of his choice. You may have to make amends or make a decision. The character may also join another in this section of the plot.
For example, you could have a decreasing action like: Fiona and her mother have an argument and the turtle escapes. Then they both go looking for her when they discover that she has disappeared
Step 12. End with an ending
The denouement closes the story. It tells the reader if the main character managed to reach his goal or not. Perhaps the main character will get what he wants. Or maybe you will come to an agreement.
For example, you might have an ending like "Fiona and her mother discover the turtle in the lake and watch it swim away."
Step 13. Read examples of children's stories
Get a better idea of the genre by reading examples of successful children's stories. Read stories that focus on the demographic or age group you would like to write for. You could read:
- Where Monsters Live by Maurice Sendak
- Charlotte's web by E. B. White
- The grufaló by Julia Donaldson
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Part 2 of 3: Make a draft
Step 1. Create a compelling introduction
Start with a sentence that hooks the reader immediately. Use a strange image of the main character as an introduction. Show the main character in action. The introduction should set the tone for the rest of the story and let the reader know what to expect.
- For example, the first line of Brunei Darussalam's “The Beginning of Smoke” is: “At the beginning of the world, smoke was a man. At that time, there was a boy named Si Lasap, an orphan, who was constantly harassed by the village youths … " an orphan, who was constantly harassed by the youth of the village…”).
- The introduction establishes character, tone and a fantastic element to the "smoke."
Step 2. Use sensory language and details
Bring your characters to life by focusing on what they see, smell, taste, touch, feel, and hear. Include language that describes the senses in such a way that the audience stays engaged in the story.
- For example, you could describe an environment as "loud and intense" or "hot and humid."
- You can also use sounds like "whoosh," "bang," or "whoosh" to make the story more entertaining for your readers.
Step 3. Include rhymes in the story
Grab the attention of your young readers by integrating rhyming words into the story. Write in couplets, where the end of every 2 lines rhymes. You can also use rhymes in the same sentence, such as "he was happy as a partridge" or "she was rude and rude."
- You could use the perfect rhyme, where the vowel and consonant sounds match. For example, "he" and "honey" would be a perfect rhyme.
- You can also use imperfect rhyme, where only the vowel or consonant sounds match. For example, “casa” and “tapa” would be an imperfect rhyme, since only the vowel “a” matches.
Step 4. Use repetition
Help highlight the language in your story by repeating key words or phrases throughout the book. Repetition can help keep the reader engaged and keep the story in mind.
For example, you could repeat a question, such as, "Where did Dorothy the turtle go?" throughout the story. Or you could repeat a phrase like, "Oh no!" u "Today is the day!" to keep up the rhythm and energy of the story
Step 5. Include alliteration, metaphors, and similes
Alliteration in when each word begins with the same consonant sound, such as "three sad tigers" or "my mom spoils me." It's a fun way to add rhythm to your style and keep the story entertaining for kids.
- The metaphor is when you compare 2 things. For example, you could include metaphors such as: "The turtle is a green shell floating in the lake."
- The simile is when you compare 2 things using "like". For example, you could include similes such as: "The turtle is as wide as my hand."
Step 6. Make the main character face a conflict
The key element of a good story is conflict, where the main character must overcome an obstacle, problem, or issue to be successful. Limit the story to a conflict that is concrete and clear to readers. You could cause the main character to have problems with acceptance from others, with family matters, or with their physical growth.
- Another common conflict in children's stories is fear of the unknown, such as learning a new skill, going to a new place, or getting lost.
- For example, your main character might have trouble fitting in at school, so decide to have a turtle as your best friend. Or your main character could be scared of the basement of his house and has to learn to overcome his fears.
Step 7. Make the moral of the story inspiring, but not preachy
Most children's stories will have a happy and inspiring ending with a moral. Avoid making it feel too severe. A subtle moral will be more effective and less obvious to readers.
Show the moral through the actions of the characters. For example, it shows the girl and her mother hugging by the lake as the turtle swims away. This could explore the moral of finding support in the family without telling the reader
Step 8. Illustrate the story
Most children's books come with illustrations that bring the story to life visually. Try to illustrate it yourself or hire an illustrator.
- In many children's books, illustrations do half the work of conveying the story to the reader. You can include details of the characters such as their clothes, hairstyles, facial expressions, and color in the illustrations.
- In most cases, children's book illustrations are created after the story has been written. This allows the illustrator to draw based on the content in each scene or line of the story.
Part 3 of 3: Polishing the Children's Story
Step 1. Read the story aloud
After you've finished a draft of the children's story, read it out loud to yourself. Hear how it sounds on the page. Notice if it has very complicated or high-level language for your target age group. Revise the story in such a way that it is easy to read and follow.
Step 2. Show the children the story
Get feedback from your target age group. Ask your siblings, young family members, or children at your school to read the story and give you feedback. Modify the story in such a way that it is more engaging and that children can relate to it easily.
Step 3. Check the length and clarity of the story
Go through the draft and make sure it's not too long. Children's stories are often most effective when they are short and to the point. Most children's stories have very little text, and when they do, they make it count.
Step 4. Consider publishing the story
If you like your children's story, you could submit it to publishers that consider children's books. Write a request letter for your children's story to send to publishers and publishers.