How to write a story for kids

Crafting Whimsy: Unveiling the Secrets of How to Write a Story For Kids

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If you’ve ever wondered how to bring magic and mirth to life on the page, you’ve come to the right place. Writing stories that captivate children is no easy feat, but with the right techniques, you can craft tales that entertain and inspire young minds. In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the tried and true tips for how to write a story for kids.

10 Tips on How to Write a Story for Kids

The tips we’ll discuss in this section on how to write a story for kids aren’t strict rules. Oftentimes, many books won’t have one or the other element. However, it’s a writer’s creative liberty to choose the elements that fit their story’s purpose well.

Hence, when using these tips, mix and match as per your style once the basic structure or book’s purpose is in your mind.

1.     Choosing a Theme

The first step is deciding on a central theme or message. What do you want your young readers to feel or learn? Stories for kids often impart lessons about compassion, perseverance, creativity or friendship. Picking a theme will help shape the plot and characters. In Barbara Spangler’s book “And God Smiled,” the overarching theme is working together and having faith in God to achieve whatever good you’re doing.

How to write a story for kids
Barbara Spangler’s book explores how working together and having faith in God leads to success

2.     Developing Unique Characters

Once you have a theme in mind, start brainstorming characters. Kids love whimsical and memorable characters. An adventurous rabbit, a shy mermaid or a brilliant inventor are all character types that spark the imagination. When developing characters, focus on making them easy for readers to visualize through vivid descriptions of looks and mannerisms. Give each character their quirks and qualities to make them engaging.

3.     Enhancing the Setting

Setting the scene is also crucial. Transport readers to magical worlds through rich descriptions of real and fantastical places. Sprinkle in sensory details about sights, sounds and smells. This brings settings to life and draws kids into the story. In “And God Smiled”, author Barbara Spangler introduced a whimsical woodland with gorgeous illustrations that paint vivid scenes for the readers.

4.     Including Diversity

Representation is important to children, so aim to create diverse characters from a variety of backgrounds. This may include characters of different races, cultures, religions, family structures, gender identities, and abilities. Young readers benefit from seeing themselves reflected in stories.

5.     Researching Your Age Group

Understand what truly captivates the intended age range. For example, focus on basic vocabulary, short sentences and themes for early readers. Include more complex plots and challenging vocabulary as the recommended age increases. Research developmental stages to craft age-appropriate stories.

6.     Constructing a Memorable Plot

The plot is the backbone that holds it all together. For stories aimed at younger readers, try to keep the plotline straightforward with a clear beginning, middle and end. A basic three-act structure works well. Start by hooking readers with an ordinary circumstance or dilemma that kicks off the adventure. Build tension and challenges along the way as characters work to overcome obstacles. The resolution comes when protagonists learn the theme’s lesson and tie up any loose ends.

7.     Adding Dialogues

Don’t forget dialogue! Short, snappy exchanges between characters help move the plot along and reveal personality traits. Leave some space for imagination by not over-describing things and letting kids fill in details. Repetition of keywords or catchphrases also aids comprehension and memorability. In “And God Smiled,” the phrase “little bird, little bird” is repeated to mimic a child’s way of talking, filled with curiosity, wonder and innocent impulsivity.

8.     Using Simple Language

It’s important to choose words and sentence structures that are easy for children to understand. Avoid complex vocabulary unless specifically introducing new words. Short, direct sentences hold young readers’ attention spans better than long, convoluted ones. Active verbs like “hopped” and “grinned” are more engaging than passive ones. Descriptions should emphasize simple, colorful details rather than flowery adjectives. Read sections out loud to check for awkward phrasing or places where comprehension may falter. Define any essential words in context rather than expecting prior knowledge.

9.     Adding Humor and Heart

Most importantly, infuse your story with whimsy and wonder. Kids love magic, humor, adventure and heart. Don’t be afraid to unleash your own inner child and have fun with imaginative scenarios. Weaving in amusing touches, surprises, and feel-good moments will translate to grins on little faces. Mastering the balance of fantastical fun alongside meaningful themes is key to crafting stories kids can’t put down.

10. Self-Editing Effectively

Ruthless self-editing is crucial, so set the manuscript aside for a few days before re-reading with a critical eye. Tighten wording, trim unnecessary details, and sharpen dialogue. Read sections aloud and note any areas dragging in pace or flow. Ask trusted readers for honest feedback, too. Multiple rounds of polishing will result in the shining story you envisioned.

How to write a story for kids
Dare to imagine the worlds and wonders you can bring to life through the written word

Add Barbara Spangler’s “And God Smiled” to Your Kids’ Reading List

Does this give you a starting point for how to write a story for kids? We hope these tips are helpful as you develop your own work of whimsical fiction. So go ahead – unleash your creativity and start crafting whimsy today! With hard work and the right techniques, you can spin stories to captivate kids for years to come. Dare to imagine the worlds and wonders you can bring to life through the written word. Wish you the very best of luck on your storytelling journey.

If you’d like to read a finished example, be sure to check out Barbara Spangler’s book “And God Smiled,” available now on Amazon. This tale centers around a group of unique tree friends who learn to work together to save the gradually clearing woodland. With charming woodland characters, heartwarming themes and magical moments, it’s a story that will delight children and the young at heart.

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