Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writing Tips from Children’s Author Michelle Hall

Welcome to day four of Michelle Hall’s 6-day NWFCC February Author Showcase tour.

One of the first tips that I would give to anyone writing a book for kids is to remember exactly that very important fact ... you are writing the book for KIDS. When you are deciding on characters, language, pictures, settings, those kinds of things, close your eyes, sit quietly and take yourself back to when you were a child.

Remember what books and TV shows, toys and games fascinated you and made you long for more. Bring that little girl or boy inside of you to the surface. Remember those story books that you never got tired of reading, and how you almost felt like you could see the characters as you read. You felt as though you were right there with them and for that special moment you were taken away and your imagination made you feel everything in the story was actually happening.

When I am writing a book I often go to my daughter’s bookshelf and read books that I really find interesting there, or that she has told me is ‘really, really good mommy.’ I go to the park and watch the children play and listen to them talk to each other. I want to not only hear the way they talk to each other, but I want to hear what’s exciting to them and makes them happy.

One of the things I’ve done when planning to write a children’s book is I volunteer to do reading time at my daughter’s school. In doing so I get to see which stories gets the kids’ full attention and involvement, what kinds of characters seem most popular, what adventures and settings are most interesting.

When I write my children’s books I like to give my illustrator a clear guideline of each scene that I want to have with each text. I browse through many children’s books and magazines, watch children’s TV channels and research many pictures on the internet until I come up with what I feel is the perfect scene with characters, actions and setting that matches the text it will accompany.

Last but not least, I have as many close friends and family members tell me what they think about the book as I go along. I listen to ideas. I am open to suggestions and I am willing to do whatever it takes to make that book be a great read for some little girl or boy. And ... of course I ask a child to give me her opinion ... my daughter is my best adviser.

Follow Day 5 of Ms. Hall's tour tomorrow at Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix - at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.


Morgan Mandel said...

Great advice! I don't have any children,but have a children's book percolating. It's really hard to remember back so far, but I do remember loving Cinderella the best.

Morgan Mandel

terri.forehand said...

Very good tips for those who write for children. Thanks for sharing.


Cheryl said...

Wonderful article, Michelle.

"One of the things I’ve done when planning to write a children’s book is I volunteer to do reading time at my daughter’s school."

This is great advice. I've been a reader at our schools since my girls entered Kindergarten. It's definitely a way to keep in touch with what they are into.

Best of luck,


Rebecca Camarena said...

Sound like a fun read

Anonymous said...

I have found that eavesdropping makes for some fantastic idea generators. Listening to adults can be strange enough, but it must take a trained ear to extract a child's thoughts in such a manner.

Really interesting piece!

Mayra Calvani said...

Dear Michelle,
It was a pleasure having you on my blog! I enjoyed listening to your interview on Book Bites for Kids. It was very inspiring and your enthusiasm is contagious! Best of luck with you book!

Author Chelle said...

Hi all, thank you so much for all the wonderful comments.For the past few days I have been experiencing computer problems and am only seeing your posts today. Your comments and warm words have made me feel so proud of what I do and who I am. Thank you all very much. @Mayra, you also are very inspiring.I read your other comment as well and you also are a very warm and sweet person.

Best of luck to all of you as you continue to use the gifts God has blessed you with to bring smiles, happiness, adventure and laughter to others,

April said...

Excellent post and great tips!!