When writing your children’s book, your should try to pay as much attention to style as you do to the construction of the story. Style is the elegance of the story, and without due regard to style, your book will be awkward and tedious to read.
The following are suggestions of ways to make your work more stylish.
Try to cut out superfluous descriptions in your creative writing. It is boring to read a long list of adjectives. In writing, less can be more. In particular, children respond well to simplicity.
When writing children’s books, try to keep your sentences short and succinct. Long winded sentences are boring for parents to read to their children and boring for children to read. Short sentences keep your story suspenseful and dramatic.
Be careful of using the words, ‘began to’ and ‘starts to’. It is much better to write, ‘he walked towards the forest’, rather than, ‘he started to walk towards the forest’. If you think about it, there’s no such action as starting to do something.
Take care that you do not overuse a word. In fact, you probably will not even realize that you are repetitively using a word in your writing. The reality is that once a word pops into your head it is liable to pop up twice more in the same paragraph. The best way to discover these errant words is by reading your work out loud. ‘Frightening’ written twice in the same sentence will then stick out like a flashing light.
If you’re writing about a ravine, try to think of other ways to say the same thing. This adds variety so that your writing is fresher. Instead of repeating ‘ravine’ in a paragraph, use ‘chasm’, ‘cliff’ and ‘gorge’. These words have similar meanings and you’ll expand your reader’s vocabulary.
The overuse of a word right through the manuscript is another problem. You’ll need to reread your work very carefully to locate your favorite words, but some are ‘well’, ‘then’, ‘so’ and ‘however’. When you find your favorite overused word, ruthlessly remove it by using the search feature in Microsoft Word.
Make up your own expressions in creative writing. Clichés such as ‘as pure as the driven snow’ and ‘short and sweet’ lose their impact over time and are mundane to read. Invent your own expressions for an exciting difference.
Be sure that there is absolute clarity in your writing. When you use ‘he/she’ and ‘they’, make sure it is clear to whom they are referring.
For example: Martha met Hillary at the shopping mall. She looked completely exhausted. In this example it is unclear if the word ‘she’ refers to Martha or Hillary.
The above are just a few examples of how you can keep your writing fresh and clear. Part two will give further examples of how to make your writing more stylish.
Roslyn J. Motter is a Sydney, Australia based author. She is also a registered acupuncturist and CPA (Certified Public Accountant). She commenced writing her Doofuzz Dudes series late in life at the age of fifty. Now, three years later, she has already written eighteen books. She has recently published the first three books, The Doofuzz Dudes Rescue Moondar; The Doofuzz Dudes and the Princess Detector; and the Doofuzz Dudes and the Babbling Bottles. The series are fantasy adventure stories and are most suitable for children aged 7 - 12 years. Woven into the adventures is a subtle theme of caring for the environment. The books can be purchased at http://www.doodlesbookshop.com.au and excerpts and illustrations from the books are available for viewing on http://www.childrens-books.com.au and children can play games and win prizes on http://www.doofuzzdudesclub.com