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Why I Write For Children
& a Bit of Advice

J. Lynn Spence is an author and educator specializing in writing for children. With over a decade of experience, Lynn has a passion for creating stories that captivate and delight young readers. Through her blog, she shares her expertise on topics like why to write for children, different sub-genres, ages for each genre, topics covered in children's books by genre, key elements of a children's book, common mistakes made by authors, and things to avoid when writing for children. She also offers courses on breaking down a children's book for structure, pacing, theme, illustrations, and character development, to name a few.

Why do you write for Children?

- Interview -

"I get asked this question a lot. On one hand, I write very adult content, but on the other, I love and do write for all ages of children. So why? This is a question that I often get asked by curious readers, aspiring writers, and sometimes even myself. The answer is not simple, but rather a combination of many factors that motivate me to create stories for young audiences. Some of these factors are:

I enjoy the challenge of writing for children. Children are smart, curious, and imaginative, and they deserve stories that respect their intelligence and creativity. Writing for children means finding the right balance between clarity and complexity, between humor and seriousness, between realism and fantasy.

I want to share my passion for reading and learning with children. Reading has been a source of joy and inspiration for me since I was a child, and I want to pass on that gift to others. Writing for children means creating books that can spark their interest, curiosity, and wonder, and that can open their minds to new ideas and perspectives.

I hope to make a positive impact on children's lives. Writing for children means having the opportunity to influence their thoughts, feelings, and actions in a meaningful way. Writing for children means creating characters that they can relate to, identify with, and learn from. Writing for children means conveying messages that can empower them, encourage them, and challenge them.

These are some of the reasons why I write for children. Of course, there are many more, and they may change over time. But one thing that remains constant is my love for writing and my respect for children as readers and as human beings."

What Can Be Gained From Writing For Children?


Writing for children can be a highly rewarding experience for both the writer and the reader. It can help the writer to build their creativity and hone their imagination, as well as creating a love for reading in the child. Writing for children is also an excellent way to improve a child's vocabulary and have them explore real-life issues in a safe and imaginative way. Furthermore, writing for children can also offer an escape from life's problems, helping children find a new appreciation for the world around them.

Writing for children is a special craft. It requires a unique voice and knowledge of the target audience. To ensure a successful children’s book, authors must understand the types of genres available, the key elements of each genre, and how to craft a story that resonates with young readers.

When it comes to children’s books, there are a variety of genres to choose from, including adventure, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, and romance. While all genres will have varying elements, there are five key elements that all children’s books should include: an easy-to-follow plot, a relatable protagonist, a supportive cast of characters, a lesson or moral, and a sense of fun and adventure.

Adventure books, for example, should focus on a thrilling plot with a brave protagonist and a cast of characters both good and bad. The main character should learn a lesson and be rewarded for their bravery and tenacity. Fantasy books should include a sense of magic and mystery, with a protagonist who overcomes a challenge by using their wits and courage.

Historical fiction should be based on facts and include realistic characters who face struggles and learn lessons from the past. Mystery books should focus on a puzzle with a protagonist who works to solve it, often with the help of their friends. Finally, Romance books should focus on relationships and how to navigate the ups and downs of love.

When writing for children, it’s important to remember that pacing, plotting, theme, and character development are different than in adult books. Young readers have shorter attention spans and shorter books. It’s important to keep the plot simple and the pacing fast. Young readers also need characters that are relatable and endearing. Character development should be kept simple and straightforward. Themes should be easy to understand, and the message should be clear.

There are some common mistakes authors make when writing for children. The first is not taking the age group into account. Not all books are suitable for all children, so it’s important to know who your target audience is. Another mistake is not including enough action and adventure. Children are drawn to stories with exciting plots and characters. It’s also important to avoid giving too much information and using too much description. Lastly, it’s important to remember that children’s books need to have a clear positive significance. Knowing the genres and key elements of each one, and understanding the differences between writing for children and for adults, will ensure a successful book.

Things to Remember

Putting Together a Series Bible

Write a series if you have more stories to tell. Writing a series of children's books can be a great way to expand your audience and explore your characters and world in more depth. However, writing a series also requires more planning and consistency than writing a standalone book. You should have an overarching plot arc that connects all the books in the series and keeps your readers engaged. You should also maintain the same tone, style, voice, and quality throughout the series.


A story bible is a document that contains all the details of your story's world, such as characters, settings, plot, themes, and more. It helps you keep track of your story's consistency and continuity, especially if you are writing a series. A story bible can also help you with editing, outlining, and pitching your story to publishers. If you are writing a series for children, you might want to use a story bible to make sure your story is engaging, coherent, and suitable for your target audience. You might also want to use a story bible to plan ahead for future books in your series and avoid plot holes or contradictions.

The main sections of a story bible may vary depending on your genre, style, and preferences, but some common sections are:


This section gives a brief summary of your series premise, genre, tone, target audience, and main themes.


This section lists all the major and minor characters in your series, along with their names, physical descriptions, personalities, backgrounds, motivations, goals, arcs, relationships, and any other relevant details.


This section describes all the important locations in your series, such as the main setting (e.g., a fantasy world, a futuristic city, a historical period), the sub-settings (e.g., a school, a castle, a spaceship), and any other places that appear in your story. You might also include details such as maps, cultures, languages, histories, climates, etc .


This section outlines the main events and conflicts that happen in each book of your series. You might also include subplots, twists, cliffhangers, foreshadowing, etc. You can use different methods to organize your plot, such as bullet points, timelines, diagrams, or beat sheets.


This section explores the main messages and lessons that you want to convey through your series. You might also include how your themes relate to your characters' arcs and your genre conventions.

Things to Remember

Submitting Your Work

Contents of Submission Package

If you want to send your children's book to a publisher, you need to prepare a submission package that includes:


This is a one-page letter that introduces yourself and your book to the agent or editor. It should include a hook (a catchy sentence that summarizes your book's premise), a synopsis (a brief overview of your book's plot and main characters), and a bio (a short paragraph that highlights your writing credentials and relevant information).


This is a one-to two-page summary of your entire book's plot. It should include all the major events and conflicts that happen in your book. It should also reveal the ending and how it resolves the main problem. A synopsis should be written in third person present tense and use active voice.


These are the first three chapters (or 50 pages) of your book. They should showcase your writing style and voice. They should also hook the reader's attention and make them want to read more. Your sample chapters should be formatted according to the publisher's guidelines (e.g., font size, margins, spacing) .

Example "A"

An example of a synopsis for a children's adventure series is:

The Adventures of Max and Mimi

Max is an ordinary boy who loves reading comic books and playing video games. Mimi is his best friend who loves inventing gadgets and solving puzzles. Together they discover a secret portal in Max's basement that leads them to different worlds full of danger and excitement.

In Book 1: The Lost Treasure of Atlantis , Max and Mimi travel to the underwater city of Atlantis where they meet King Neptune and his daughter Princess Coral. They learn that an evil pirate named Captain Hook has stolen the legendary Trident of Poseidon, which gives him control over the seas. Max and Mimi must team up with their new friends to stop Captain Hook before he unleashes a giant sea monster on Atlantis.

In Book 2: The Curse of the Mummy, Max and Mimi travel to ancient Egypt where they meet Pharaoh Tutankhamun and his sister Princess Nefertiti. They learn that an evil sorcerer named Anubis has cursed Tutankhamun with a deadly illness that will turn him into a mummy. Max and Mimi must find the hidden tomb of Osiris, the god of the underworld, and retrieve the magical Ankh that can break the curse.

In Book 3: The Secret of the Dragon, Max and Mimi travel to medieval China where they meet Emperor Qin and his daughter Princess Mei. They learn that a ruthless warlord named Khan has kidnapped a baby dragon and plans to use its fire-breathing power to conquer the land. Max and Mimi must rescue the dragon and return it to its mother, the Dragon Queen, who lives in a hidden mountain temple.

Example "B"

Another example of a synopsis for a children's book series:

Meet Iggy Squiggles, a curious and creative little girl who loves to draw and write stories. She has a special notebook that she calls her Imagination Station, where she can bring her ideas to life with a flick of her pen. Whenever she feels bored or lonely, she opens her notebook and jumps into a new adventure with her imaginary friends. From exploring a candy land with her unicorn pal, Sprinkles, to solving mysteries with her detective buddy, Sherlock Bones, Iggy Squiggles always finds a way to have fun and learn something new. Join her as she discovers the magic of imagination in this delightful children's book series!


Of course this isn't the synopsis for my Iggy Squiggles series and reads more like a synopsis for a retelling of "Harriet The Spy", but it could be for a younger appeal.

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