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Writing for children

Here you can find a comprehensive selection of articles relating to all the different aspects of writing for children - whether you want to write a picture book or you've got the next YA bestseller, we've got you covered.


10 Tips For Pitching Your Children's Non-Fiction Book

Isabel Thomas

Critically acclaimed science writer and children’s author Isabel Thomas offers 10 tips on how to pitch your children’s non-fiction book…


Children’s non-fiction is so much more than ‘books with facts’. It’s a different way to take readers on a journey that makes them laugh, cry, or …

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All about writing for children

Don't worry, you will not be subjected to a long ramble about my delightful progeny - another time perhaps.  Today I shall be talking about writing for children, writing about children, and writing as a child.

I'm currently doing some work with Louise Jordan of The Writers' Advice Centre

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Bringing Animals To Life In Children's Fiction

I have a confession to make. My children’s book Cogheart contains a talking animal: a fox named Malkin. Some readers aren’t keen on talking animals in children’s books, and some agents have told me they downright dislike them. But I love a good talking animal in a children’s story, and with …

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Children's Writing In The Digital Age

Linda Strachan


New technology is changing the face of publishing and the digital impact on the children’s market is becoming increasingly evident. New creative opportunities for writers are arising to meet digital possibilities and writers today can self-publish their work more easily than ever before. …

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Creating Interesting Characters

Creating interesting characters is at the heart of any fiction writing. We read fiction to experience other people’s lives and discover more about the human condition, whether our interest lies in crime stories, romances or gritty realism. Even in hard-core science-fiction it’s the characters …

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Drawing A Story

Salvatore Rubbino, who will be a guest speaker at our Your Children's Book writing course, takes us through his process for putting together a picture book and where he draws inspiration from. 

Drawing Your Own Story

Books are a relatively simple technology but still hard to beat I …

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Girls vs. boys: do we cater more for boys?

'The received wisdom', said the lady from the BBC at a recent meeting, 'is that girls will go to boy themes, but boys won’t go to girl themes.'

Yes, I’ve noticed that. Girls will happily watch Thomas The Tank Engine, but most boys won’t watch Angelina Ballerina. And it carries on …

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Historical Fiction Isn’t History, It’s Better

One Day In Oradour

In these days of tough competition, getting out there, being visible and promoting your books is an essential part of a writer’s job. More and more often, we leave behind the relative security of our desks and head out into the big, scary world of literary festivals, library talks, school visits …

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How To Create A Fantastic Picture Book

Emma Blackburn, editorial director for picture books at Bloomsbury Publishing, gives her top tips for getting started on your picture books.

Dino-baby

READ, READ, READ
Before you start your own picture book, take a look at some of the wonderful picture books that are available at your local library, …

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How To Think Like An Eight-Year-Old: Writing Children's Non-Fiction

Isabel Thomas

Critically acclaimed science writer and children’s author Isabel Thomas considers how to get into the mindset of an eight-year-old when you're working on a manuscript for children…


A certain mystique surrounds fiction writing, a romantic image of authors inspired only by the need to “sit …

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National Trust Children's Book Festival: Celebrating Children's Fiction


Katie Bond is Publisher at the National Trust and previously worked as Publicity and Marketing Director at Bloomsbury. Ahead of the first National Trust Children's Book Festival in March, she explains the importance of bringing books alive for children to encourage and inspire them as the next …

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Picture books: pictures vs. words

What makes a picture book work well? The pictures or the words? Well, both, of course. But mainly the pictures… but there again, if there wasn’t a good story…

Some brilliant people can write good stories and draw wonderful pictures. Lucky them. Mostly, a relationship has to be struck up …

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Researching Your Children's Book

IRONHEART by Allan Boroughs

In this first instalment in a series of three articles for us on the importance of research when writing fiction, children's writer Allan Boroughs explores what can be learned from visiting and experiencing a place, rather than simply learning its facts. 


Part 1 – Going places 

It was …

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Researching Your Children's Book: Look it up

The third and final instalment in a series written by author Allan Boroughs on the importance of researching your children's book.


In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on researching your children’s novel, I looked at the benefits of travel as a spur to creativity and then how exploring other …

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Researching Your Children's Book: Make and Do

Allan Boroughs

In the second instalment in a series of three articles for us on the importance of research when writing fiction, children's writer Allan Boroughs discusses the other creative avenues you can explore - other than writing - when researching your manuscript.


Noam Chomsky said that the internet was an …

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Shedding the Sensible

Kate Wiseman

“I’d love to write a book, but….”

But what?   

… but I’m soo busy at work.

… but the kids need me.  I can’t do both.  Can I?

… but the hamster’s acting oddly and I’m too worried about it to even think about anything else.


There are as many excuses for delaying …

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The Secret Plan Of Your Story

There’s a lot of confusion about plot. It’s a word that’s often used inter-changeably with other terms to describe aspects of storytelling, such as storyline or narrative. But the word plot is a technical term, and we should use it to describe something specific. And the easiest way to …

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Top Tips For Getting Your Picture Book Published

People who work with children aren't usually considered to be less skilful than those who do the same work with adults, so why then is the opposite so often assumed to be true of the adults who create books for children? At worst, it is thought we must be childish or that it is easier to create …

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WANTED – A New Category in Children’s Books

The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst

There’s no shortage of advice for new writers. Mostly it’s good and – crucially for the bewildered punter – undisputed. This is particularly true of the many Rules for Good Writing you can find on countless websites, all agreeing on the vital ingredients of structure, narrative arc, …

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What Is Writing For Children?

What distinguishes writing for children from other kinds of writing? Many people think it involves writing about children or childhood, and most good children’s writing does feature both in some way. And of course, there’s a clue in the phrase itself – writing for children – in one sense …

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What It Takes To Write A Picture Book

Very simple

I’m going to say something very simple. Here goes: 

Picture books are 5-800 words long. They have twelve double page spreads. Max 13.

For me, that simple nugget of information was exactly what I needed to get properly started as a picture book children’s author. Up until that …

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Who’s Out There? Finding Your Audience

Yvonne Coppard

Yvonne Coppard, author and creative writing teacher, shares her advice on writing for children and discusses the importance of knowing your audience.


You have reached the final draft of your children’s book when someone asks what age you are writing for. What do you answer?

  • I don’t really know …

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Why Are Orphan Heroes Such Compelling Protagonists In Children’s Literature?

When I started writing the Nat Walker series my hero, Nat, was an only child living in a nuclear family. Her parents led successful lives, and gave her a warm, happy family environment. In addition, she had a mentor - a wise, old man.

In the early chapter drafts of Crimson Poison I kept heading …

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Writing a Children's Series

Gym Stars

Writing advice is a difficult thing to give; what works for one person won’t necessarily work for anyone else. When I was writing my Gym Stars series, I read lots of articles and blog posts giving advice on what to do, what not to do, how to approach agents, how to write for children and a …

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Writing and the Children's Book Market

Around 10,000 new children’s titles are published in the UK every year. Chris Kloet, Editor-at-Large at Walker Books, suggests how a potential author can best ensure that their work reaches the bookshop shelves.

The profile of children’s books has never been higher, yet it can be difficult for …

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Writing Comic Fiction For Children

Prankenstein

Articles and books about how to write for children always start with (or include) that gnarly nugget ‘read some children’s books’ and this one is no different. If you want to find success then you need to know about the kinds of things that are successful, and it will help you a lot if you …

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Writing for Boys AND Girls

Black Lotus

We’ve all read the ‘How to Write for Boys’ and ‘Writing for Girls’ articles, but what if you don’t want to exclude half your potential readership by writing only ‘for boys’, or only ‘for girls’? Of course, there are many books which span the boy/girl divide like Harry Potter and …

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Writing for Children

Many people have what they consider to be brilliant ideas for children’s books but have no experience of writing. But lack of experience need not get in the way of bringing an idea to fruition as there is guidance available in the form of courses. Alison Sage demystifies what happens on a …

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Writing for children's theatre

Writing plays for children is not a soft option. David Wood considers children to be the most difficult audience to write for and shares his thoughts here about this challenge.

‘Would you write the Christmas play?’ These six words, uttered by John Hole, Director of the Swan Theatre, …

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Writing for Children: Getting Started

Alison Stanley gives the benefit of her experience for success in the expanding children's market.

To help you on your way, here are ten top tips:

1. Read, read, read

• Read as many children’s books as you can – picture books, young fiction, novels, teen reads, non-fiction, …

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Writing For Children: Letting Your Imagination Fly

Lucy Courtenay, author and guest tutor on our children's writing course Your Children's Book discusses writing for children...


‘A parent saw a child drawing a horse, and it was purple. The parent asked the child, “Why are you drawing a purple horse? I’ve never seen purple horses.” …

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Writing genre fiction for children

Malorie Blackman looks at the different genres of children’s books with a view to helping writers decide what kind of story they could write.

Take a trip to your local library or bookshop and peruse the children’s section. (Also check out the books for young adults.) The books will …

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Writing poetry for children

Riding on the poetry roundabout

Poet and anthologist John Foster writes about the difficulties involved in getting children’s poetry published and offers some practical advice.

Today’s children’s poetry roundabout started spinning in the 1960s, when it was given a push-start by …

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