Advice for Writing Your Children's Book's First Draft

Don’t expect to sit down and craft a perfect children’s book from start to finish, even if you’ve fully outlined your characters and plot. Writing is not just about putting your first thoughts on paper and being ready to publish. Instead, writing is about writing, revising, and revising some more.

The only way you’re going to be able to write freely is to turn off your inner critic and just get going. Take your character bibles, context bibles, and step sheets as far as you can, then just stop. Don’t worry about character arcs, plot steps, pacing, or even drama. Just let your main character go.

Find yourself blathering on? No problem. Just keep going until you’ve reached the end. When you do get to the end, pat yourself on the back! You have an official first draft done — which no one is ever going to see.

The only element you must make sure of before you start writing is that your character has a burning desire to drive your story.

In between each draft (or every few drafts, if you’re writing a chapter book or longer work), you print out your story and reread it with a pencil, just like many editors do. There is something about reading printed matter on paper that makes it read more “real” than reading it on screen.

No one can tell you how many drafts it will take till you are done revising, but you will know. Then you will be ready to edit.

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