writing a children's book, plots for a childrens book, characters in a childrens story, how to write books for children
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The Most Common Mistake in Writing a Children’s Book—and How to Avoid It

writing a children's book, plot for a childrens story, characters in a childrens bookWho doesn’t have a children’s book that they have cherished and grown to love over time, hoping to share with their children when they reach the right age? This month we’re talking about writing and self-publishing children’s books on the blog, and it reminds me of my love of reading—and how I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of books I read as a child, and still love to read as an adult.

Children’s books regularly come through our editorial fingers, but what has become a noticeable trend in manuscripts is content gaps in storylines: characters disappearing and reappearing with no explanation, plot points shortened in detail, books with holes in story development, etc.

Just as with adult books, the same rules apply to writing children’s books: the need for realistic characters, a plausible story and an understandable content message to be effectively imparted on young readers.

These attributes are centered on the necessity for continuation of thought, allowing the major story elements in the book (plot, character, message) to blend together and form a fathomable expression of literature.

A step to take in seeing if your manuscript exemplifies quality continuation of thought is to jump into your “younger” brain, reading your book as though you were the child version of yourself. As you read your book, do you find that certain characters are lacking in development, or are absent from key plot points without needing to be?

One prevalent example we, editors, see would be two characters walking down a path together, yet in the next page it is only one character walking down the road. The second character reappears again on the next page with the first character, without any statement for where he/she has gone.

By familiarizing a child with the progression of story, and explaining in full any sudden changes or developments, you will be teaching the child to be mindful of plot issues like these and aware of them while reading other books. Also be attentive to your target audience’s reading level, so your explanations of plot and/or character are not more than they can understand; short but informative.

Writing a children’s book gives you the chance to nurture an appreciation for books in a child that will not only inspire their imaginations, but will also enhance their intelligence and comprehension of basic storytelling—all reasons we love publishing children’s books here at Xulon Press!


Blair Townley joined the Xulon Press family as a Staff Editor in May 2013, helping first-time authors prepare their treasured manuscripts for publication. Prior to Xulon Press, she previously worked as a staff writer/editor for several Central Florida-based magazines over the past decade. What Blair enjoys most about writing and editing is getting to help others share their stories, helping others see themselves as the unique individuals God created them to be.

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