Anastasia Suen

Developmental Editor

How do I write a children’s book?

loosetooth

Q. How do I write a children’s book?
A. Write down your ideas as they come to mind.

Writing doesn’t have to be hard. Just write down your thoughts! You can do that. When an idea comes to mind, when a snippet of a scene pops into your head, write it down and save it. Day after day, week after week, your book will show up on the page–if you give yourself permission to let the words flow.

Trying to edit while you write just leads to frustration! Writing and editing are different hats to wear, different ways of thinking. Trying to do both at the same time just doesn’t work. (This is yet another “been there, done that” situation.)

For the early drafts of my beginning reader Loose Tooth I tried writing and editing at the same time. I went through draft after draft trying to make the story perfect and NOTHING was working. Then I read The Right to Write by Julia Cameron.

“We are forever editing, leaving out the details that might not be pertinent. We are trained to self-doubt, to self-scrutiny in the place of self-expression.” ~ The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

So I gave her approach a try. What did I have to lose? I sat down and wrote whatever came to mind. ALL of it. I captured EVERY detail on the page, even the ones that didn’t make sense. And then the next day, I did it again. I wrote down every word of the story that came to mind, every single word.

After I had the entire story on the page, after it was all written down, I changed hats and started editing. And what happened? Those little details that seemed random at the time made the story work.

Those impertinent details turned out to be the answers the story needed. I just needed to give myself permission to write them down.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this very enlightening post. It happens to me often that ideas will come to mind and I try to hold on to the memory instead of writing them down and allowing the full story to come through. Before I know it, I’ve forgotten all the little details and eventually give up on the story.

    • Anastasia Suen

      Yes, that has happened to me, too! Just making a quick note is better than waiting (and losing the entire idea.)

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