Monday, July 24, 2006

Writing for Children

For freelance writers who are specializing in the children's writing market or would like to, there are a host of invaluable resources on the internet than can help you on your career path. Need a little help deciding what genres would be most enjoyable to write in? There are a variety of categories you can dabble in to find your freelance writing niche in the children's market, and the following guide aims to inform you of these various choices.

First and foremost, picture books (generally focused towards children 4-8 or younger) are generally up to 1500 words but can go up to as much as 2000 words depending on the type of picture book you are creating. One of the greatest things about these types of children's books are the fact that the pictures really serve to tell the story along with the words, and they can cover a wide variety of subjects.

Easy readers, another category you can branch into, are usually geared towards children who are just learning how to read on their own (typically starting at 6 years old to as much as 8 years.) While illustrations are still present, the stories are generally more "adult" feeling, and can vary in length. The sentences are short and to the point to avoid confusing young minds with unnecessary words.

Transition books, or early chapter books for younger readers are longer than easy readers but typically follow about the same format. They may have several small black and white illustrations, but they are not the bulk of the story. Conversely, chapter books (usually for children 7 to 10) are starting to become a lot more complex, but paragraphs remain relatively short and easy for children to understand.

Young adult books are typically for those children who are around 11 or 12 and up, and are much more complex than other children's genres. There may be several major characters in play, but usually one character takes center stage throughout the focus of the book. The interesting thing about young adult books are that they traditionally revolve around the trials and tribulations surrounding adolescent children of that era so young adults can relate to the subject matter.

There are undoubtedly many more sub-genres in the children's writing world but these are arguably the most common. As a freelance writer, you can decide to specialize in whichever genre you choose or try you hand at each of them. Regardless of what you choose, remember to keep the subject matter relevant to the age group you are writing for and keep the format of the story in line with what's expected for children of specific ages.

Best Wishes,



At 4:39 PM, Blogger Keith said...

'...picture books (generally focused towards children 4-8 or younger) are generally up to 1500 words but can go up to as much as 2000 words depending on the type of picture book you are creating.'

I've always thought that kids books must be the easiest gig out there for a writer. Grab a decent illustrator and the rest is a doddle. Look! The dog is fetching the ball! Watch the dog fetch the big red ball! Watch the dog at the seaside fetch the big red ball! Let's have an ice cream!

Nice work if you can get it :)

Keith Taylor


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