Wednesday, October 9, 2013

You Can...

Still think you want to write for children? You can, and Tracey E. Dils has a book to get you on your way, You Can Write Children's Books Workbook

I ran across this writing book while looking for another one and popped it into my cart. I'm glad I did.

Here's a basic overview: 

Chp 1: The Writing Road Map
Chp 2: The Writing Habit
Chp 3: Your Writing Preferences
Chp 4: Getting Ready to Write
Chp 5: The Workable Draft
Chp 6: Three Rounds of Revision
Chp 7: Market Research
Chp 8: Off to the Publisher
Chp 9: Some Inspiration.

The introductory paragraph states:

"If you are like most writers who want to write for children, you are passionate about what you do...You read voraciously yourself and to children, and are certain you can write a better book than the one you've just read...But have you ever stopped to think about why you want to write? And, specifically, why you want to write for children? You can enrich your writing if you do"

Tracey launches into a list of "goals" such as, "I will aspire to more than just being published." And, "I will work to become a part of the rich tradition of children's literature."

The title of her book is right, you, or anyone can write for children, but that doesn't mean it will be worth reading. There is more to writing than just getting published. I love that she emphasizes the idea of quality writing. 

And it is easier than you think--or I should say, it's easy if you're willing to pay the price to do it. 

Among the price to pay is constant nourishment of your creative self and an understanding of the other selves you are writing for--children. Tracey gives a synopsis of different theories in Child Development, all very helpful in understanding behavior--as is observation, and as my previous post suggested, remembering how it felt to be a child.

Her workbook is also very practical, with tips on developing the structure of your story, how to plot and edit, and how to write a query letter. (I've linked a definition of "query letter," but here is a query letter that's extraordinary:

She has exercises to help you understand the technical aspect of putting a work together. For example, she suggests that you pick a common story, say The Three Little Pigs, and identify the climax and story resolution.

It's a great, and short, book for understanding what you are getting yourself into as a children's book writer. 

So, now an exercise as inspired by Tracey's book:

Write down all the reasons you want to write for children. Make a goal(s) for yourself on what you want to achieve (i.e. I will seek beyond just getting published to contributing a quality story that can be enjoyed for generations.)

Go for it and have fun. Oh, and do something creative and spontaneous just for kicks. 


  1. Sounds like a helpful read, thx! And I love the photo of the little guy w/Skippyjon Jones. =)

    1. I do too--the little guy is pretty dang cute. Skippyjon Jones is cute too, just not quite as cute. :)

  2. Thank you for the book review, Johnell! It looks great! (And I love the sweet pic, too--my boys loved Skippyjohn when they were little!)

    1. Skippyjon was a gift from his big sister. She bought it at the school book fair, which I thought was sweet. I love Skippyjon too. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Sounds like a great book. I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for the review.