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What Not to Do when Writing Children's Books

Part of the Writing Children's Books For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Just as writing children’s books has a unique set of rules to follow (you know that the good guy or gal always wins), there are some things you should never do — never! Don’t even consider doing any of the following in a book for children:

  • Write books that preach or lecture.

  • Talk down to children as if they're small, idiotic adults.

  • Write books that have no real story (nor a plot with beginning, middle, end).

  • Use art that is totally inappropriate for the story or vice versa.

  • Pack picture books with lots of text.

  • Pack nonfiction books with too much text and too few visuals.

  • Create characters who are boring or unnecessary to the development of the story.

  • Create main characters who have a problem they don't solve themselves or who don't change throughout the course of the story.

  • Tell instead of showing by using narrative as a soapbox.

  • Anthropomorphize animals or use alliterative names (Squishy Squirrel, Morty Mole — Wretched Writer).

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Writing Children's Books For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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