Writing Children's Books For Dummies
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When writing a children's book, you need to be aware of a few aspects of good writing: voice, style, and tone. And these are the ones that, unfortunately for writers everywhere, nearly defy instruction.

For example, when you read a particular author and are drawn in by everything you’re reading, so much so that you savor every last page and hate for the book to end, then you have fallen for the writer’s mojo (magic).

Instantly addicted, you search frantically for other books by the same author. You even order her books in advance so that you can get them the second they’re released. That is falling prey to mojo. And as you know in your every cell, every nerve ending, mojo is pretty heady stuff.

So where can you get some? Well, you’re just going to have to develop your own mojo as a writer, just as your favorite writers have, and they do it with three things, which they keep consistent throughout a story:

  • Voice: The communicative and cumulative effect created by the author’s way of writing. The best books are always written with a voice that’s strong enough to make the protagonist — and the book as a whole — memorable.

  • Style: The panache with which the writer manipulates the conventions of modern language. In other words, style is the way the author adds his own particular twist to diction (word choice), dialogue, sentence structure, phrasing, and other aspects of the language. Like trends in fashion, style can be sparing and minimalist, outrageous and flowery, terse and evocative, or crisp and formal.

  • Tone: The attitude the story conveys toward its subject matter. For example, a story may convey an attitude of humor or sarcasm toward its characters and events, signaling to the reader that the material is to be taken with a grain of salt. Then again, it may convey an attitude of sincerity and earnestness through subtle content and language manipulation, thereby telling the reader to take the story seriously.

Capturing your mojo and suffusing your words with your particular tone, style, and voice takes a lot of practice. Beginning writers have so many aspects of writing to ingest and master that developing these other qualities in their writing doesn’t always come easily.

As you write more and more, becoming increasingly comfortable with your abilities and skills, you will most likely find that your mojo starts sneaking into your writing without you knowing it. As time goes on, you may even find that others begin to recognize your style before you do.

Regardless of what you experience, promise yourself to never try to copy someone else’s style or self-consciously force a voice on your writing — that would be cheating the world of the unique voice buried deep within you, just waiting to come out.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Lisa Rojany is a writer and publishing professional. Lisa has her own company, Editorial Services of L.A., for writers of fiction and nonfiction.

Peter Economy is a Wall Street Journal best-selling business author and ghostwriter with more than 125 books to his credit, including multiple For Dummies titles.

Bob Nelson (San Diego, CA) is founder and president of Nelson Motivation, Inc., a management training and consulting firm based in San Diego, California. As a practicing manager and a best-selling author, he is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of employee recognition, rewards, motivation, morale, retention, productivity, and management. He is author of the bestselling book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees (Workman) — which has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide — and coauthor of the best-selling book Managing For Dummies, 2nd Edition, with Peter Economy (Wiley), as well as 18 other books on management and motivation.
Bob has been featured extensively in the media, including television appearances on CNN, CNBC, PBS, and MSNBC; radio appearances on NPR, USA Radio Network and the Business News Network; and print appearances in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and many more. He writes a weekly column for American City Business Journals and a monthly column for Corporate Meetings & Incentives, among others.
Dr. Nelson received his PhD in management from The Peter F. Drucker Graduate Management Center of Claremont Graduate University in suburban Los Angeles, and received his MBA in organizational behavior from The University of California at Berkeley. For more information on products and services offered by Nelson Motivation, Inc. — including speaking or consulting services — call 800-575-5521. Visit Bob at his Web site: www.nelsonmotivation.com.

Peter Economy (La Jolla, CA) is a freelance business writer and publishing consultant who is associate editor of the Apex award-winning magazine Leader to Leader, and coauthor of the best-selling book Managing For Dummies, 2nd Edition, with Bob Nelson (Wiley), Giving Back with Bert Berkley (Wiley), The SAIC Solution with J. Robert Beyster (Wiley), as well as the author or coauthor of more than 30 other books on a wide variety of business and other topics. Visit Peter at his Web site: www.petereconomy.com and be sure to check out his Free Book Project at: www.booksforfree.org.

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