Writing for a Specific Age Group

Writing for a particular genre is one thing but a whole new dimension is added when writing for a specific age group of children. Think about children’s books you’ve read in the past. If you haven’t read many, go to your local library or school library and read a bunch!  Do you enjoy books in rhyme?  Poetry? Simple stories? Chapter books? Books with illustrations? Words that are made up or actual words you’d find in a dictionary?  So many questions but you have time.

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When I wrote my first book, “Dewdrops to Raindrops”, I knew I wanted to reach out to youth ages 6-8. Their curious young minds are so open and full of questions. It is an age group I thoroughly enjoy working with. Another given for my book was that it would have full page illustrations to provide a visual companion to the text. I’m visual so I figure there are “littles” out there like me. 😊 

A huge decision I had to make prior to writing the first sentence was how the story would be written, poetry or prose. Prose is written in a conversational, grammatical fashion, full sentences with punctuation. Prose poetry is a combination, obviously, of poetry using some standard punctuation such as commas and periods. Poetry is written with a tempo or metric as it is read, not grammatically, however. Poetry may rhyme or it may not. I love rhyme! So, my first several attempts at my children’s book were in rhyme. It was a failure with a capital “F”. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the drafts I started to return to at a later date!  For this story though, it wasn’t working. Pivot. Traffic circle. Round-a-bout. Call it what you will but to prose I went. “Dewdrops to Raindrops” poured, pun intended, out of my brain to my fingertips with abandon. The best part of it was how fun it was to write this story that had been building inside my brain every time I looked outside, hiked through the forest, or researched trees.

Come back to my blog next week and I’ll dive deeper into appropriate book length and word number for different age groups. Until then just write the first sentence!

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